Cameron Mackintosh is delighted to announce that award-winning actor Griff Rhys Jones will return to the role of ‘Fagin’ in the spectacular production of Lionel Bart’s smash hit musical OLIVER! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Griff will play the role for 5 weeks only over the Christmas season from Monday 6 December 2010 until Saturday 8 January 2011, when the show ends its record breaking run. Russ Abbot, currently playing the role of ‘Fagin’, will leave at the end of his contract on Saturday 4 December 2010.
Griff played the role of ‘Fagin’ to much acclaim for six months from December 2009. He is truly one of Britain’s most loved, versatile and prolific performers. Propelled to stardom in “Not The Nine O’Clock News” and “Alas Smith and Jones”, he won a double Olivier Award for his roles in “Charley’s Aunt” and “An Absolute Turkey”, starred in “Front Page” at the Donmar Warehouse and was an unforgettable Toad in the National Theatre’s “Wind In The Willows”. On TV he did five acclaimed series of “Three Men In A Boat”, urged the British public to vote for saving marvellous British buildings in “Restoration” and enjoyed huge success on BBC1’s “Rivers With Griff Rhys Jones”. Prior to Oliver! he was last seen on stage in 2001 in “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum” as part of the Covent Garden Festival. As a producer, he and Mel Smith set up one of Britain’s most successful productions companies, Talkback Productions. He was almost single-handedly responsible for the wonderful restoration of the Hackney Empire.
Kerry Ellis will continue her enormous success as ‘Nancy’ with Steven Hartley continuing to play ‘Bill Sikes’. Both will remain in the show until the end of the run.
This production of OLIVER! opened at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 14 January 2009 to rave reviews with the biggest advance sales of all time for a West End show. The cost of this enormous production was recouped in only 18 weeks and continues to be the highest grossing show in London, playing to packed houses. Featuring a cast and orchestra of over one hundred, the sensational score is full of Lionel Bart’s irresistible songs including Food Glorious Food, Consider Yourself, You've Got to Pick-a-Pocket or Two, I'd Do Anything, Oom Pah Pah, As Long As He Needs Me and many more.
OLIVER! is directed by Rupert Goold, along with co-director and choreographer Matthew Bourne. Production design is by Anthony Ward; lighting design by Paule Constable and sound is by Paul Groothuis, with orchestrations by William D Brohn.
This production is produced in association with the Southbrook Group Limited.