BBC radio presenter John Griff has added his voice to new British musical TESS - literally.
Lyricist Davies said: “What some of John’s audience may not know is that, as well as being a supremely talented radio broadcaster, he’s also got a terrific singing voice, and we were delighted when he picked up our challenge of getting involved in the cast recording. His characterisations are superb and he’s the ultimate professional, so we couldn’t be more thrilled that he’ll be featured on the album.”
TESS is a sumptuous new adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Three demo tracks are already available for free online at www.tessthemusical.com and the album recording of the full show is expected to be released in the autumn of 2017.
NEW MUSICAL TESS UNVEILS LEADING LADY
The iconic title role in the forthcoming album recording of new British musical TESS is to be played by West End star Siobhan Dillon.
The television favourite, who first rose to fame in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hunt for a Maria in The Sound of Music, has been unveiled as the eponymous heroine in the musical adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s iconic novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
Siobhan’s first professional appearance was understudying Sandy in the 2007 revival of Grease (Piccadilly Theatre). She went on to tour the UK in Bill Kenwright’s Can’t Smile Without You and as Sally Bowles in Cabaret before playing the role of Vivienne in the Olivier award-winning Legally Blonde (Savoy), Claire in EX (Soho Theatre) and the leading role of Molly in Ghost The Musical (West End).
She recently played opposite Glenn Close in Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard at English National Opera (Coliseum) and before that appeared as Ellen in Miss Saigon (Prince Edward).
Workshops include Jules in Bend It Like Beckham and Karen in From Here To Eternity, and her concert appearances include performing with Paul Gambaccini and the BBC Concert Orchestra on BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night.
TESS is a new, fully sung-through adaptation of the much-loved novel. Pre-production is already under way on the album, which will be produced by Sunim Koria with orchestrations by Michael Blore. Recording is scheduled for the summer of 2016.
BROADWAY LEADING MAN JOINS TESS ALBUM
Broadway and West End leading man Tam Mutu has signed up as one of three headline names on an album recording of new musical TESS.
Tam, who made his Broadway debut last year in the title role of Dr Zhivago (“utterly perfect” - Washington Times), is to sing the role of the villainous Alec d’Urberville in the new adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s much-loved novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
Written by Michael Blore and Michael Davies, the show is to be recorded as an original album later this year, with a fully staged production expected to follow.
On screen, Tam has appeared in TV’s Waking the Dead, Holby City, Doctors and Footballers Wives as well as the feature film The Butcher’s Shop. He’s also no stranger to radio, having appeared on the BBC’s Friday Night is Music Night, Masked Heroes and A Celebration of the Western.
Composer Michael Blore said: “To say it will be an honour to work with Tam is an understatement. He is dream casting and will bring not only his stunning talent but also an incredible wealth of West End and Broadway experience to the role of Alec d’Urberville. When we set out on planning an album of the show, it’s safe to say we never imagined that we could secure the services of so many truly wonderful performers. We really are in Dreamland.”
Two years in the writing, TESS is a fully sung-through new British musical. Recording is scheduled for the summer of 2016, with orchestrations by Blore and production by Sunim Koria. West End star Simon Bailey has already been announced to play Angel Clare, and the casting of the title role is due to be unveiled shortly.
TESS SCOOPS WEST END STAR FOR ALBUM RECORDING
WEST End star and musical theatre heart-throb Simon Bailey has been named as one of three headliners for the album recording of new British musical TESS.
Writers Michael Blore and Michael Davies said they were “thrilled” Bailey would be starring in their musical adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s much-loved novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles playing the role of Tess’s great love, Angel Clare.
Currently appearing as Bob Gaudio in the West End production of Jersey Boys, Bailey has performed in some of the biggest shows in musical theatre history. He’s played Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s), Enjolras in the 21st anniversary cast of Les Miserables (Queen’s) and Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (New London).
Lyricist Michael Davies said: “We are thrilled and rather awed to have Simon on board. His extraordinary voice and amazing track record in the world of musical theatre will add something wonderful to the role of Angel.”
TESS is a new, fully sung-through adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s much-loved novel. Pre-production work on the album of the show is already under way, with further casting news expected over the coming weeks and recording scheduled for the summer of 2016.
The album will be produced by Sunim Koria, with orchestrations by Michael Blore. Casting announcements for the other two leading roles - Alec d’Urberville and Tess herself - are expected in the next few weeks.
TESS writers Michael Blore and Michael Davies have announced the casting of another key role for the forthcoming album recording of their new British musical.
Tess’s ale-addled father John is to be played by musical theatre veteran James Dinsmore.
Recently appearing in Corbyn the Musical at the Waterloo East Theatre in London, James has worked for leading producer Bill Kenwright in productions of An Ideal Husband and Half a Sixpence. Other credits include Annie, Little Shop of Horrors, Darling of the Day, The Sound of Music, Oliver! and Chess.
TESS is a fully sung-through adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s much-loved novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Pre-production work on the album of the show is already under way, with further casting news expected over the coming weeks and recording scheduled for the summer of 2016.
The album will be produced by Sunim Koria, with orchestrations by composer Blore.
THE first star in the final round of casting for new British musical TESS has been announced.
Writers Michael Blore and Michael Davies have been working on casting the five principal roles for the album recording of their adaptation of Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
Now they have revealed that the part of Tess’s mother, Joan Durbeyfield, is to be played by
West End star JACQUELINE TATE.
Tate has performed in shows and concerts around the world, including appearing as Bloody Mary in South Pacific (Barbican and national tour), Christmas Eve in Avenue Q (Wyndham’s, Gielgud and national tour) and Madame Giry in The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre).
Trained at the Royal Northern College of Music and the London School of Musical Theatre, her international credits include My Fair Lady in Singapore and Evita in Beirut for Nikolai Foster, as well as The Pirates of Penzance and The Merry Widow for the Carl Rosa Opera Company on tours of the UK, USA, Canada and South Africa.
In concert, she’s sung with the London Symphony Orchestra
in the Bernstein Mass (Barbican, Marin Alsop, broadcast on
BBC Radio 3), the Armenian Symphony Orchestra in a
performance of Adiemus, the Israel Chamber Orchestra
(Bach Mass in B Minor) and at the Bridgewater Hall under
the baton of Kent Nagano (L’Enfance du Christ).
Composer Michael Blore said: “From a very strong field of
actors we are thrilled to be working with someone of the
calibre of Jacqueline. This album already promises to
be something quite special and securing such an
experienced professional in the role of Joan brings that
promise one step closer to reality.”
TESS is a new, fully sung-through adaptation of
Thomas Hardy’s much-loved novel. Pre-production work
on the album of the show is already under way, with
further casting news expected over the coming weeks
and recording scheduled for the summer of 2016.
The album will be produced by Sunim Koria, with orchestrations by Michael Blore.
TESS – THE ALBUM
New British writing team of Michael Blore and Michael Davies are delighted
to announce the first ever cast recording of their musical TESS
Posted on: March 7th , 2016
Album Producer: Sunim Koria
Casting Director: Anne Vosser
March 31st & April 1st, 2016 10am – 5pm
Dance Attic Rehearsal Studios, 368 North End Road, Fulham, London, SW6 1LY
Actors are requested to prepare one song of choice that shows off their full range as well as the music from the show that is provided.
Recording of the principal roles will take place at a studio in the London area and be carried out between August and September 2016 on dates agreed with the artist. Please see below for a guide to the number of days each role is required in the studio.
Almost two years in the making, this sumptuous new adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles has been created by composer Michael Blore and award-winning playwright and lyricist Michael Davies and recently gained the critical praise of Sir Tim Rice.
TESS tells the devastating story of Tess Durbeyfield, daughter of a poor villager who fatefully discovers that they may be related to the ancient aristocratic d’Urberville family. As Tess is sent to seek respectability with her new-found relatives, she embarks on an emotional and dramatic journey that will lead her to love, loss and ultimate tragedy.
TESS couples Hardy’s iconic tale with a majestic score and evocative libretto. Fully sung-through, in the manner of Les Miserables or Phantom of the Opera, it offers a bold and highly expressive retelling of this ever-popular, much-loved story.
TESS DURBEYFIELD, 18-25, MEZZO SOPRANO/SOPRANO (range from E below middle C to G above upper C), eldest daughter of a Marlott village farming family. Beautiful-looking (and sounding!). Ability to perform with a West Country accent an advantage. Expected number of days in the studio: 8
ANGEL CLARE, 20s, HIGH BARITONE/TENOR (range from G below low C to A-flat above middle C), second son of a parson entertaining a certain wanderlust. Handsome with it. Expected number of days in the studio: 4
ALEC D’URBERVILLE, 20s to early 30s, HIGH BARITONE/TENOR (range from G below low C to A above middle C), a nouveau riche landowner. Charming and sinister. Expected number of days in the studio: 4
JOHN DURBEYFIELD, 50s, BASS (range from E-flat below low C to D above middle C), Tess’s father with a penchant for a drink. A farmer. A West Country accent is required. Expected number of days in the studio: 2
JOAN DURBEYFIELD, late 40s to early 50s, SOPRANO (range from A below middle C to G-sharp above upper C), Tess’s superstitious mother. A West Country accent is required. Expected number of days in the studio: 2
For more details and submissions please e-mail the casting director, Anne Vosser, and write
"TESS - The Album" in the subject line.
In further news from TESS creators Michael Blore and Michael Davies, it is announced that another two important roles have been cast for the album recording of the show.
Both roles – GROBY and PARSON TRINGHAM – are representative of a society that shuns women in Tess’s heart-breaking position in this new British musical adaptation of Hardy's much-loved novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles.
Hard-nosed farm manager Groby will be played by Olivier award-winning actor NATHAN DOWLING. Having trained at Mountview Academy in London, Nathan went on to perform in national tours of Anything Goes, The King and I, Annie and Tracy Beaker Gets Real. For his work on Jerry Springer: the Opera at the National Theatre he received the Olivier award for ‘Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical’.
Local man of the cloth Tringham, who sets in motion the pursuit of the d’Urberville name, will be AARON GIBSON. A graduate of Arts Ed in London, Aaron has enjoyed a career on both stage and screen. From playing the titular role in Oliver! (Leicester Haymarket Theatre), his theatre credits include Goodnight Mrs Calabash (The Gatehouse Theatre, London), Edges the Musical (The Landor Theatre, London), Let’s Sing (Birmingham Symphony Hall), CBeebies’ Numberjacks (U.K. Tour), Jamie and Anna Live! (U.K. Tour), Aladdin (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry) and Mother Goose (Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds). In film he has recently featured in Zombie Apocalypse and Kaleidoscope Man. “I could not be more proud to be a part of this exciting new cast recording’, he says, adding, “What a thrilling experience to be working with this team of talented artists. The story lends itself so lovingly to musical form and promises to capture hearts nationwide. I have high hopes for the show’s success and look forward to sharing it with others who I know will adore it!”
This concludes the second stage of casting for the album of TESS. Renowned casting director Anne Vosser will be holding auditions for the five principal roles on March 31st and April 1st at the Dance Attic in Fulham, London. More details are expected to be released later this week.
Produced by Sunim Koria, work on pre-production of the album will begin in April.
Composer Michael Blore said: “It will be a privilege to work with so many artists of such a high quality. I can’t wait! Bringing the score to life will be a dream come true with something of a dream cast.”
TESS creators Michael Blore and Michael Davies are delighted to announce the casting of three crucial roles for the forthcoming album recording of the show - the Dairymaids.
The trio - MARIAN, IZZY and RETTY - not only provide some comic relief but also give Tess significant support as she battles with her personal tragedies in the new British musical adaptation of Hardy's much-loved novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles.
Dipsomaniac dairymaid Marian will be played by SALLY JOLLIFFE, whose lead roles include productions at Birmingham's Hippodrome and New Alex theatres, as well as more intimate concerts and cabarets across the UK. She said: "I'm really excited about recording this beautiful score with a very talented cast and team."
NIKKI CROSS takes the role of Izzy, an old hand on the farm where Tess finds work. Nikki trained with leading young people's company Playbox Theatre, and recent credits include Singin’ In The Rain, The Pajama Game and Annie (Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa), Sweeney Todd, Little Shop of Horrors, Godspell and Scrooge (The Loft), Humpty Dumpty (Talisman Theatre), The Full Monty, Boogie Nights, The Wedding Singer (Spa Theatre Company) and Hair (The Dream Factory, Warwick). Born in Bristol, she claims she is “very much looking forward to getting the chance to revive my native West Country accent!”
The young and naive Retty will be played by PHILIPPA COTTLE, currently training at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London. A veteran of Rugby Theatre, she previously worked with composer Michael Blore on The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. Other credits include Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon, the promiscuous teenager Ivy in Total Theatre's production of Bare, and Lois in Mountview's production of Kiss Me Kate. After TESS, she says she is “looking forward to graduation and seeing what the professional world holds for me”.
This is the second tranche of casting for the TESS album after the Chorus was announced earlier this month. Renowned casting director Anne Vosser will be holding auditions for five principal roles on March 31st and April 1st at the Dance Attic in Fulham, London. More details are expected to be released later this week.
Produced by Sunim Koria, work on pre-production of the album will begin in April.
Lyricist Michael Davies said: “We are thrilled with the latest developments in casting and delighted to welcome on board so many performers of such quality and talent. It really feels that we are at the start of something rather extraordinary."
The first stage of casting has been announced for the album of new British musical TESS.
Performing in the chorus in a variety of roles will be GSA graduate and solo artist TRICIA ANDERSON, leading actor from numerous musicals such as Chess and La Cage aux Folles MICHAEL BARKER, TV actress and performer at Northampton’s Royal and Derngate Theatre CATHY CRADDOCK, actress, director and producer at Heartbreak Productions MADDY KERR, graduate from the Birmingham School of Acting whose recent credits include The Russell Brand Effect: the morning after JANETTE SUMMERFIELD and actor and director of shows including Jesus Christ Superstar and Glorious! MARK TOLCHARD. The chorus is completed by two newcomers – SOPHIE CRADDOCK and LEXY KNIBBS, who will soon be performing as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray at Stratford College.
“I’m thrilled to be involved in this exciting project”, says Janette Summerfield. “I was privileged to hear and sing a couple of songs early on in the creative process and was struck by how powerful both the lyrics and the music were. I was still singing the songs a week later!”
Casting for the album will be conducted in three stages. The second stage will be of named supporting roles with an announcement expected at the beginning of March. The final stage will be of the principal roles and involve London casting director Anne Vosser. Auditions will take place at the beginning of April with an announcement to follow soon after.
Pre-production of the album will begin in April and be produced by Sunim Koria.
Having gained the critical praise of legendary lyricist Sir Tim Rice, the show is being recorded for the very first time to promote it to a bigger audience in its quest to receive a first theatrical performance. “I’m delighted to be recording this album”, adds actress Summerfield. “I know the story of Tess and can’t wait to help transfer it from page to stage.”
Rice’s pedigree is unmatched in the world of musicals. From his early partnership with Andrew Lloyd Webber, which produced global successes including Jesus Christ Superstar, he has gone on to work with pop luminaries such as Sir Elton John and Benny and Bjorn from Abba.
He described TESS as “based on a very strong story and the songs I have heard [are] very well crafted”, adding: “I wish you all the very best.”
Almost two years in the making, TESS is a sumptuous new adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Three demo tracks are already available for free online at tessthemusical.com and the writers have announced that studio time has been scheduled in 2016 to record a full album version of the show.
TESS tells the devastating story of Tess Durbeyfield, daughter of a poor villager who fatefully discovers that they may be related to the ancient aristocratic d’Urberville family. As she is sent to seek respectability with her new-found relatives, Tess embarks on an emotional and dramatic journey that will lead her to love, loss and ultimate tragedy.
TESS brings together Hardy’s iconic tale with Blore’s majestic score and an evocative libretto from the pen of award-winning playwright Michael Davies. Fully sung-through, in the manner of Les Miserables or Phantom of the Opera, it offers a bold and highly expressive retelling of this ever-popular, much-loved story.
“We are taking a path well-worn by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Produce an album before staging the show,” says Blore. “We just hope that formula works as well for us as it did for him. That would be the ultimate dream”.
You can find more information about the show, as well as follow the latest news on this recording project, at www.tessthemusical.com
In a first for the new British musical TESS, a promotional video for the show goes live
Using music from the opening of Act 2, the video’s soundtrack has been orchestrated by TESS composer Michael Blore and audio engineered by Sunim Koria.
From left, audio engineer Sunim Koria with TESS creators Michael Davies and Michael Blore
“It’s a sumptuous, classically romantic score”, says Blore, “with moments of majesty and tragedy. I hope people will also find it memorable.”
The video has been created for tessmusic by FourEyeFilms.
As Davies quips, “I think Jupiter may have been in conjunction with Uranus”.
For the full interview, please go to carnstheatrepassion.com
Based on Thomas Hardy’s much-loved novel “Tess of the d’Urbervilles”, TESS tell the devastating story of a poor village girl embarking on an emotional and dramatic journey that will lead to love, loss and ultimate tragedy.
“It was one of those stories that just stayed with me”, explains composer Blore who first read the novel as a teenager. “And I think that’s what gives it a chance (of success), because the best musicals are always about the story”. As Davies states, “it’s one of those stories that just kind of sticks in the public’s consciousness”.
With a majestic, classically romantic score and an evocative libretto, “the idea now”, says Davies, “is to get the support and try to get people on board and if they like it to spread the word”.
The 2 Michaels talk to BBC Radio Northampton presenter John Griff. For more details about the show, please go to www.tessthemusical.com
LEADING LADY UNVEILED
BROADWAY STAR JOINS ALBUM
TESS SCOOPS WEST END STAR
LATEST STAR ANNOUNCED
WEST END STAR SIGNS UP
CASTING GROBY & TRINGHAM
CASTING THE DAIRYMAIDS
FIRST CASTING FOR ALBUM
TIM RICE BACKS TESS
TESS ALBUM ANNOUNCEMENT
PROMO VIDEO GOES LIVE
IN CONVERSATION WITH CTP
TESS ON THE BBC