The Royal Shakespeare Company has today announced further casting for The Magician’s Elephant, a new musical by Nancy Harris (book/lyrics) and Marc Teitler (music/lyrics) based on the novel by prize-winning children’s author Kate DiCamillo which will make its world stage premiere in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from 14 October 2021 – 1 January 2022.
Actor, writer, storyteller Renu Arora will play the role of Madame LaVaughn, who tragically finds her herself paralyzed after an elephant – conjured by The Magician of the play’s title – crashes through the roof of an opera house, crushing her legs in the process.
She will be joined by Amy Booth-Steel in the role of Narrator. Amy is perhaps best known to musical theatre audiences for her roles in Heathers, Sister Act and The Sound of Music in the West End, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (Leicester Curve); Betty Blue Eyes (Mercury and West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (Watermill Theatre).
Returning to the RSC this Christmas is Miriam Nyarko who will play Adele following her appearance as Lisa James in the 2019 RSC musical adaptation of The Boy in the Dress based on the novel by David Walliams. Miriam also played Lavender in the West End production of Matilda the Musical, also for the RSC. Other theatre credits include Our Town (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (Theatre Royal), The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre).
Also confirmed are Lauren Jones (Lisette) and Chrystine Symone (Lamplighter)
They join the previously announced cast which includes; Sharif Afifi (Milliner), Marc Antolin (Leo Matienne), Alison Arnopp (Baker), Hannah Brown (Swing), Keisha Amponsa Banson (Gloria Matienne), Michael Carolan (Swing), Lucca Chadwick-Patel (Fishmonger), Stephen John Davis (Doctor), Zoe Halliday (The Elephant), Sam Harrison (Count Quintet), Forbes Masson (Police Chief), Wela Mbusi (The Elephant), Mark Meadows (Vilna Lutz), Suzanne Nixon (The Elephant), Alastair Parker (Magician), Wendy Somerville (Mrs Griswald) Summer Strallen (Countess Quintet) and Mandi Symonds (Sister Marie) and Jack Wolfe (Peter Duchene).
The Magician’s Elephant was originally due to run from October 2020 – January 2021 but was postponed due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, which included the temporary cancellation of all RSC performances, events and other activities.
The production will mark the re-opening of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre – which marks its 60th anniversary in 2021 – and the return of audiences to indoor performances at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon for the first time since March 2020.
This new adaptation of Kate DiCamillo’s heart-breaking and darkly magical children’s book by Nancy Harris (book/lyrics) and Marc Teitler (music/lyrics) will be directed by Sarah Tipple, Associate Director to Gregory Doran on The Boy in the Dress. The production will feature design by Colin Richmond whose previous RSC credits include Wendy and Peter Pan and Vice Versa.
Lighting is by Oliver Fenwick, Music Supervision and Musical Direction by Tom Brady, Orchestrations by Sarah Travis and Marc Teitler, vocal arrangements by Tom Brady and Marc Teitler, sound by Paul Groothuis and movement by Francesca Jaynes. Dramaturgy is by Réjane Collard-Walker. Puppetry direction is by Mervyn Millar with puppetry design by Mervyn Millar and Tracy Waller. The Magic Consultant is John Bulleid whose previous RSC credits include #WeAreArrested, and video is by Douglas O’Connell.