Added on 12-Feb-2009
â€˜WE WILL ROCK YOUâ€™ UK TOUR CAST ANNOUNCEDActor and musician Jonathan Wilkes and former Coronation Street star Kevin Kennedy, will star in this yearâ€™s upcoming â€˜We Will Rock Youâ€™ UK Tour. They will appear in the smash-hit Queen and Ben Elton musical alongside X Factor finalist Brenda Edwards, star of ITV1â€™s Britannia High Georgina Hagen and Iâ€™d Do Anythingâ€™s Nancy contestant Ashley Russell, who are also announced today. The eagerly anticipated 43-week regional tour opens at Manchesterâ€™s Palace Theatre on 21st March. Jonathan Wilkes will perform the role of â€˜Khashoggiâ€™, the Chief of the Secret Police who answers to Killer Queenâ€™s every command, whilst Manchester soap star Kevin Kennedy will assume the role of â€˜Popâ€™, a librarian who is stuck in his â€˜hippieâ€™ past and is searching to find answers to the end of rock music. Brenda Edwards will play the domineering role of â€˜Killer Queenâ€™, Head of Globalsoft, the corporation responsible for the banning of all instruments and musical originality. TV star Georgina Hagen will star in the production as â€˜Meatâ€™, the main female of the Bohemians and Ashley Russell, will play the role of the â€˜Teacherâ€™, who befriends students whilst actually working as a spy for Globalsoftâ€™s Secret Police.The production opens at Manchesterâ€™s Palace Theatre on the 21st March for a twelve-week season. It will then transfer to play Sunderland Empire, Birmingham Hippodrome, Bristol Hippodrome, and ends 2009 with ten weeks at Edinburgh Playhouse commencing early November. It is written and directed by Ben Elton and Arlene Phillips continues in the role of Musical Staging and Choreography.Speaking about the tour, Jonathan Wilkes comments, â€˜I am chuffed to be part of this show and very excited to be working with such a fantastic companyâ€™ Kevin Kennedy is equally as enthusiastic, â€˜I am over the moon at the prospect of appearing in We Will Rock You. Queen have always been my idols and I have seen the show every time I have been down to London never dreaming that one day I would play Pop. Opening in Manchester is such a bonus, I hope all my Corrie mates will come to the first night!â€™Brenda Edwards says, â€˜I am really excited to be a part of this huge rock musical tour and am looking forward to working with some rock and comedy legends as well as singing some Killer Queen songs!!â€™â€˜I am honoured to be part of the companyâ€™ says Georgina Hagen, â€˜I can’t wait until performances start in Marchâ€™. Ashley Russell comments, â€˜I am completely ecstatic to be part of the We Will Rock You production. I canâ€™t wait to get started on stageâ€™Having proved its enormous rapport with the public by achieving the distinction of becoming the longest running musical ever staged at the West Endâ€™s Dominion theatre where it is currently playing its seventh year, the musical will rock across the UK from March 2009 while continuing to play in London. The Dominion production is presently booking until October 2009.Announcing the tour, Queenâ€™s Brian May said: â€œWe are excited to be able, finally, to send a brand new top class WWRY company out on tour around the UK. We are completely hands on, and will be visiting! The Mother Ship, in the Dominion Theatre, London, will be rockin’ on all the while, keeping the home fires burning, until further notice!â€The touring production reaches local UK theatres carrying with it an impressive legacy: when it first became news that one of Britainâ€™s most phenomenally successful comedy writers Ben Elton was teaming up with legends of rock, Queen, for a musical there was much speculation on what such a unique collaboration would turn out. Especially when screen icon Robert de Niro became so impressed after attending the original workshop that his company Tribeca came on board as American partner.Says producer Phil McIntyre: â€œWe are bursting with excitement; at last provincial audiences will get a true rock extravaganza. We can’t wait to see the first night reactions throughout the country. We Will Rock You will rock the UK; it is the biggest and best rock theatrical!â€The show brings together a production and design team behind some of the biggest international theatre productions and rock tours.Production designers Mark Fisher and Willie Williams have created set designs for Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson, and the acclaimed multi-media shows for U2. Costume Designer Tim Goodchild has already achieved three Olivier Awards for his work in the West End. Choreographer Arlene Phillips has shown her distinctive style in some of the biggest stage musicals of the past two decades, including Starlight Express, Grease and Saturday Night Fever. Bobby Aitken (Grease and Mamma Mia!) is Sound Designer.And with Queenâ€™s Brian May and Roger Taylor as music supervisors, and behind the cast â€œa band without parallel in the theatre, reflecting the true power of the mighty Queenâ€ youâ€™d be right to expect â€œWe Will Rock Youâ€ to rock as fiercely as the best of Queenâ€™s concerts.Writer Ben Elton has fashioned a hilarious futurist comedy around more than 24 of Queenâ€™s biggest hit songs delivered in a show that boasts the scale and spectacle that marked Queenâ€™s live performances. â€œThis show is all about legend,â€ says Ben Elton. â€œWe take the legend of Queen and create our own fantastical story of young kids battling the might corporations who want to suppress their individuality and their love of music. They need a hero who can help them in their struggle, and we have two â€“ the dreamer Galileo and the sassy rock chick Scaramouche. Guess who ends up winning?â€Says Brian May: â€œThe amazing bonus is that Ben’s script subtly works as a metaphor too. People definitely come out of the theatre feeling that in a strange way they now know us, Queen, and our struggle, our journey.â€ And Roger Taylor: â€œCreating the show with Ben was very much a three way thing. Which was great, because Ben has such a great active mind and has been a great pleasure to work with. He has a great fertile mind that never ever stops churning out ideas. Heâ€™s written a fantastic idea for the sequel. I counted 23 more hits he can put in it. Letâ€™s see if people like this one first!â€We Will Rock You â€“ not just a show, but a promise!