Bill Kenwright's legendary, award-winning production of the international smash hit musical, Blood Brothers, is set to entertain audiences at Oxford Playhouse from Tue 12 to Sat 16 Sep.
The much-loved musical, known for sell out houses across the country, returns after a short break with gusto from 26 June to late 2023, with casting announced.
Niki Colwell Evans and Sean Jones, will continue to play the iconic roles of Mrs Johnstone and Mickey Johnstone respectively, with Gemma Brodrick stepping into the role of Linda, the “role of a lifetime” for the actress who has been a part of the production since she began in 2019.
Niki Colwell Evans first rose to fame in 2007 when she reached the semi-final of series 4 of The X Factor UK mentored by Louis Walsh. After her debut solo single ‘Love Me No More’ in 2008, she went on to play the iconic role Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers at the Phoenix Theatre between 2008-2009 and in 2010 where she received rave reviews from critics. Following on from this she performed in the pantomimes Cinderella as the Fairy Godmother at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre (2009-2010) and in Kinky Boots as Trish (UK Tour 2018/21). She played the role of Paulette in the musical adaptation of Legally Blonde (UK Tour 2012) receiving high acclaim for her performance as Elle’s sassy confidante. Over the years, Niki has toured as a solo singer with pop stars such as Sonia, Lonnie Gordon, Big Fun and Yell. In 2016, she performed at the Queen’s 90th celebrations at Windsor Castle alongside Dame Helen Mirren, Damien Lewis, Andrea Boccelli, Katherine Jenkins, Gary Barlow, Kylie Minogue and many more.
Sean Jones continues in the role of Mickey in Blood Brothers. Other stage credits include: Aladdin; Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan; Cinderella; Snow White (UK Tour); Macbeth (UK Tour and Singapore); and Jacqueline’s Wilson’s world premiere of Wave Me Goodbye (Theatr Clwyd). TV credits include: Emmerdale; The Royal Today; and Hollyoaks.
Completing the current cast for 2023 is Joe Sleight (Eddie), Danny Whitehead (Narrator) and Timothy Lucas (Sammy), Josh Capper (Neighbour), Paula Tappenden (Mrs Lyons), Tim Churchill (Mr Lyons), Jess Smith (Brenda), Tori Hargreaves (Donna Marie/Miss Jones), Connor Bannister (Perkins), Graeme Kinniburgh (Postman/Bus Conductor), and Nick Wilkes (Teacher/Policeman).
Written by award-winning playwright Willy Russell, few musicals have been received with such acclaim as the multi-award-winning Blood Brothers. Considered 'one of the best musicals ever written' (Sunday Times), Bill Kenwright’s production surpassed 10,000 performances in London’s West End, one of only three musicals ever to achieve that milestone. It has been affectionately christened the ‘Standing Ovation Musical’, as inevitably it “brings the audience cheering to its feet and roaring its approval” (Daily Mail).
This epic tale of Liverpool life started as a play, performed at a Liverpool comprehensive school in 1981, before opening at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1983. The musical has since triumphed across the globe, completing sell out seasons in the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan, and scooping up four awards for Best Musical in London and seven Tony Award nominations on Broadway.
The superb score includes A Bright New Day, Marilyn Monroe and the emotionally charged hit Tell Me It's Not True.
Blood Brothers tells the captivating and moving tale of twins separated at birth, who grow up on the opposite sides of the tracks, only to meet again with tragic consequences.
When Mrs Johnstone, a young mother, is deserted by her husband and left to her own devices to provide for seven hungry children she takes a job as a housekeeper in order to make ends meet. It is not long before her brittle world crashes around her when she discovers herself to be pregnant yet again - this time with twins! In a moment of weakness and desperation, she enters a secret pact with her employer which leads inexorably to the show's shattering climax.
Willy Russell is undeniably one of this country's leading contemporary dramatists. His countless credits include Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine. Educating Rita, originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, enjoyed a two-year run in the West End and was made into a movie starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters. Shirley Valentine also made the move from stage to screen in an enormously popular film starring Pauline Collins and Tom Conti. The celebrated on-woman play earned Russell his third Olivier Award and is currently running on the West End at the Duke of York’s Theatre until June 2023, starring Sheridan Smith.