Full casting has been announced for the Olivier-nominated international stage sensation The Choir of Man as it returns to the West End, opening at the Arts Theatre on 1 October, with a press night on 13 October.
The company will feature a highly skilled mixture of actors, musicians, and instrumentalists, some of whom have previously performed in the show in productions across the world, West End stars, and up and coming talents making their professional debuts in the show.
An uplifting celebration of community and friendship with something for everyone… including free beer! Enjoy 90 minutes of feel-good, foot-stomping entertainment unlike anything else in the West End.
Brimming with hits from artists such as Queen, Luther Vandross, Sia, Paul Simon, Adele, Guns & Roses, Avicii and Katy Perry to name but a few. A wildly talented group of incredible instrumentalists, world-class wordsmiths, and sensational singers; this cast of nine (extra)ordinary guys serve it all…live!
The West End company will feature Michael Baxter (Les Misérables – 25th Anniversary tour, Gypsy – Wales Millennium Centre) as ‘The Maestro’, Ben Norris (writer and original cast of The Choir of Man, The Archers, Radio 4, two time UK Poetry slam champion) as ‘The Poet’, Levi Tyrell-Johnson (making his professional debut in The Choir of Man), as ‘The Hardman’, Owen Bolton (also making his professional debut in The Choir of Man) as ‘The Beast’, Jordan Oliver (The Choir of Man West End, Netherlands, Australia and Korea, The Sound of Music – UK Tour) as ‘The Handyman’, Lemuel Knights (finalist in The Voice UK – BBC, The Choir of Man, USA) as ‘The Barman’, Matt Beveridge (The Choir of Man West End, Australia, Netherland, Titanic – Princess of Wales Toronto) as ‘The Romantic’, ‘Matt Nalton (Jersey Boys – Piccadilly Theatre, Beautiful – Aldwych Theatre) as ‘The Pub Bore’ and Matt Thorpe (Jersey Boys – Piccadilly Theatre & UK tour, We Will Rock You – Dominion) as ‘The Joker’. Completing the company are Mark Irwin (The Choir of Man West End, Korea, Australia, The Commitments – Palace Theatre), Sam Ebenezer (The Mousetrap – St Martin’s Theatre, Cinderella – Sunderland Empire), Gavin Ryan (West Side Story – Bord Gais Dublin, making his West End debut in The Choir of Man) and Lucas Koch (Million Dollar Quartet – Barn Theatre, also making his West End debut in The Choir of Man).
The Choir of Man has previously played three sell-out seasons at the Sydney Opera House and multiple sold-out US and European tours. Following its last run at the Arts Theatre from October 2021 to April 2022, it received an Olivier nomination for Best Entertainment or Comedy Play, and then went on to play in Coventry as part of the City of Culture Assembly Festival season and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Ben Norris – who wrote the monologues for The Choir of Man and originated the role of ‘The Poet’ said, “I’m delighted that The Choir of Man is returning to the West End, and I’m delighted to be returning with it! Watching this show grow from the charmingly ramshackle Edinburgh Fringe gamble it started life as 5 years ago, into the Olivier-nominated cult hit it has become has been one of the greatest privileges and surprises of my career so far, and one of the greatest joys.
The show is so unapologetically feel-good that whatever kind of mood you arrive in at the theatre, it’s impossible not to leave with a smile on your face and a spring in your step. And that goes for the cast as well as the audience!
Whether we’re conscious of it or not, when we meet a friend in the pub for a pint, it’s often simply the company we’re after. This is especially true, I think, for men. Although things are starting to shift, we still find it much harder to open up and to ask for help. We’re still taking our own lives at a far higher rate. The lockdowns and the helplessness of the pandemic hugely exacerbated this, and the imminent cost of living crisis will only worsen it further.
As a male voice choir, we wanted to make a show that brings joy to people – a show that is fun and frivolous and silly and a bloody good night out, but also one that speaks to some of those difficulties we face, and that gently questions what masculinity might look like in 2022.
Above all, we wanted to make a show that puts an arm around people, of all genders, and invites them to either forget their troubles for an evening or to share them. Sometimes it’s literally life-saving.”
The Choir of Man is created by Nic Doodson and Andrew Kay, directed by Nic Doodson, with musical supervision, vocal arrangements and orchestrations by Jack Blume, movement direction and choreography by Freddie Huddleston, monologues written by Ben Norris, scenic design by Oli Townsend, lighting design by Richard Dinnen, costume design and associate scenic design by Verity Sadler, sound design by Sten Severson, casting by Debbie O’Brien. Musical Direction and Associate musical supervision by Hollie Cassar and Associate Choreographer is Rachel Chapman.