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 ROSE, 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
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
BACK IN THE STUDIO
HITTING THE AIRWAVES
BACK IN THE STUDIO
SELL-OUT WORKSHOP SHOWS
NEW LONDON SHOWCASE
BANBURY LITERARY FESTIVAL
TESS WEST END SHOWCASE
DUET GETS LONDON OUTING
ELAINE PAIGE ON SUNDAY
1ST WHAT'S ON STAGE ARTICLE
FIRST SONG PERFORMANCE
BBC HOST SINGS ON ALBUM
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
IN CONVERSATION WITH CTP
TESS ON THE BBC