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It has been announced that singer and winner of the seventh series of 'X Factor', Matt Cardle will make his stage debut in the London production of premiere of Memphis The Musical from 6 July 2015, as Beverley Knight extends her contract to October 2015.
Cardle will star as radio DJ ‘Huey Calhoun’ from 6 July, taking over from Killian Donnelly who originated the role in the West End and was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical. He will play opposite Beverley Knight who stars as club singer ‘Felicia Farrell’.
The show, based on a concept by George W. George, with book/lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music/lyrics by David Bryan, is taking bookings to 31 October 2015 at the Shaftesbury Theatre.
Memphis The Musical won four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score (David Bryan and Joe DiPietro), Best Book (Joe DiPietro), and Best Orchestrations (David Bryan and Daryl Waters) and opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 23 October 2014, following previews from 9 October 2014, to good reviews from the popular press: "Beverley Knight is sensational in this dynamic musical" (Evening Standard); "Killian Donnelly is something of a revelation" (Guardian); "Energetic and thrilling" (LondonTheatre.co.uk).
The X Factor singer said of the announcement: "I’m thrilled to be making my acting and West End debut in Memphis. From the first time I saw the show I felt I had a real connection with the character of Huey. It’s no secret that I worked for many years before my breakthrough as a musician...I am truly honoured to be sharing the stage with the incredible Beverley Knight, I’ve admired her work for such a long time and can’t wait to get started in the show".
The production is directed by Christopher Ashley, with set design by David Gallo, lighting by Howell Binkley, choreography by Sergio Trujillo, costume by Paul Tazewell, sound by Gareth Owen and musical direction by Tim Sutton. It is produced by Junkyard Dog Productions, Marlene and Kenny Alhadeff, Barbara Freitag, Joseph Smith and John Brant.
Synopsis: "Featuring an original score with gospel, rhythm & blues, and early rock 'n' roll fused with Byran’s own contemporary sensibility, Memphis follows the fictionalized life story of young, white radio disc jockey Huey Calhoon growing up in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1950’s. An unlikely hero with a great love of the music he hears in the black bars on Beale Street, Huey’s on-air antics and unstoppable enthusiasm for 'race records' creates a new white audience for African-American music. His personal life transcends the race line as well, when he falls in love with a beautiful black singer - with dramatic consequences."