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It has been announced that Michael Xavier and Anna Francolini will join the cast of Jamie Lloyd's production of Assassins which is currently running at the Menier Chocolate Factory to 7 March 2015.
Michael Xavier will join the cast in the role of John Wilkes Booth from 10 February, taking over from Broadway star Aaron Tveit who departs the cast early due to filming commitments. Anna Francolini will take over the role of Sarah Jane Moore on the same date, covering for Catherine Tate, who takes a two week hiatus, returning to the production on 24 February 2015.
The production originally opened at the Southwark venue on 21 November 2014 with an official opening on 1 December 2014. The entire run has now sold out, although there has been reports that a West End transfer may be likely, following the popularity of the production.
The musical, which features music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by John Weidman, opened to excellent reviews with critics praising Lloyd's darker interpretation as well as the ensemble performances: "This is crackling production is certainly more hit than miss." (Independent); "Thrilling" (Evening Standard); "a terrific ensemble" (Telegraph).
Xavier and Francolini will join a cast that also includes Jamie Parker as The Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald, Harry Morrison as John Hinckley, Stewart Clarke as Giuseppe Zangara, Carly Bawden as Squeaky Fromme, Simon Lipkin as The Proprietor, Mike McShane as Samuel Byck, Andy Nyman as Charles Guiteau, and David Roberts as Leon Czolgosz.
Michael Xavier was last seen in the West End production of 'The Pajama Game' at the Shaftesbury Theatre. His other London credits include Captain Von Trapp in 'The Sound of Music' and Cinderella's Prince in 'Into the Woods', both at the Open Air Theatre.
Anna Francolini was recently seen in 'Our Town' at the Almeida Theatre as well as Mare Rider' at the Arcola. Her regional credits include 'The Day We Sang' and 'A View From the Bridge' both for the Royal Exchange.
Sondheim and Weidman's 1990 musical Assassins originally opened off-Broadway and was originally presented in London at the Donmar Warehouse. This dark black comedy follows thirteen people who have tried to kill the president of the United States. Four have succeeded. These murderers and would-be murderers are generally dismissed as maniacs and misfits who have little in common with each other, and nothing in common with the rest of us, but are they simply just victims of the American Dream?
Directed by Jamie Lloyd, the production features designs by Soutra Gilmour, lighting design by Neil Austin, sound design by Gregory Clarke, musical supervision and direction by Alan Williams and hair & make-up design by Richard Mawbey.