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Letitia Dean will play the role of Ms Darbus in the new stage musical based on the smash-hit Disney Channel Original Movie HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, which runs at the Hammersmith Apollo London from June 28 to August 31 (Press Night TUESDAY 1 JULY).

Letitia is probably best known for her long-running portrayal of Sharon Watts in BBC One’s EastEnders and for her recent hugely popular run in TV’s Strictly Come Dancing (she came fourth in December 07) and the subsequent live arena tour of the show. She will be playing the eccentric and passionate drama teacher, Ms Darbus in the London stage version of the phenomenon. Commenting on her casting she said:

“I am absolutely delighted to be playing Ms Darbus. She has a great love of theatre and the arts and adores her pupils and wants them to succeed. She’s firm but fair and takes no nonsense.

Musical theatre is my first love and this will be the first time I have been on a musical stage since I was in Annie when I was 13. I grew up with Judy Garland and Calamity Jane so this is a joy for me and I loved dancing in Strictly Come Dancing.

My street cred has shot up with friends’ children – forget anything else I have done! - and they all want to come and see me in High School Musical. I am really happy to be involved in a family show and I am looking forward to seeing all those kids’ faces. It feels a big responsibility as I know for many of them it will be the first time they have been in a theatre. It’s going to be a wonderful challenge but I can’t wait.”

Letitia’s other TV credits include The Hello Girls, Casualty and Grange Hill, theatre credits include Present Laughter at the Birmingham Rep and a national tour of Loot and on screen in England, My England.

Adam Spiegel, for producers Stage Entertainment UK, said “We are delighted to be working with Letitia, the public absolutely adore her and we know she will make a fantastic Ms Darbus. We’re also so pleased that she will be appearing in what we hope will be one of this summer’s must see events in London.”

Already a global phenomenon as a smash-hit TV movie, a quadruple-platinum soundtrack, a best-selling book and a chart-topping DVD, Disney’s HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL is now set to be a summer stage blockbuster.

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