Monday, May 15

Cast announced for new version of Tim Rice's Blondel at Union next month

The cast has just been announced: Connor Arnold has been cast in the title role as Blondel. Arnold is a 2016 graduate from the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. He recently played The Pardoner on a European tour of Canterbury Tales. His previous credits include Silent Witness (BBC1) and Catch Me at the Arts Theatre.

The rest of the cast features: Courtney Bowman (winner Stephen Sondheim Performer of the Year 2016; Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Sheffield Crucible), Michael Burgen (Spamalot, West End; The All-Male Pirates of Penzance, UK tour); Lauren Byrne (UK tour of Sunny Afternoon), David Fearn (A Christmas Carol, Lyceum Theatre), Ryan Hall (making his professional debut after graduating from Mountview), Oliver Marshall (Forty Years On, Chichester Festival Theatre; Side Show, Southwark Playhouse), Jessie May (Rock of Ages, UK tour; Mamma Mia!, West End), Katie Meller (Closer to Heaven, Union Theatre; The Phantom of the Opera, West End), Calum Melville (Danny Elfman’s Music From the Films of Tim Burton at the Royal Albert Hall), Neil Moors (Jesus Christ Superstar, UK tour; The All-Male Pirates of Penzance, UK tour), Craig Nash (currently in 110 in the Shade, Ye Olde Rose and Crown), Michaela Stern (Soho Cinders, Union Theatre; You Won’t Succeed On Broadway, If You Don’t Have Any Jews, international tour), James Thackeray (Compliance, Theatre503; A Haunting, King’s Head Theatre), and Jay Worthy (Call Me Madam, Little Shop of Horrors, Parade).

A brand new version of  Tim Rice's musical comedy Blondel, which follows the trials and triumphs of an ambitious minstrel in King Richard the Lionheart’s court, gets its London premiere at the Union Theatre from 21st June to 15th July. (Press night  23 June).

Blondel has lyrics by Rice and music by Stephen Oliver. The book is by Tim Rice and Tom Williams and there is additional music by Mathew Pritchard.
Rice first had the idea for a show about the Crusades in the early days of his partnership with Lloyd Webber. They initially worked on it together, with the project titled Come Back Richard Your Country Needs You. That work was performed as an oratorio at the City of London School in 1969, and a single of the title song was recorded with Rice as lead vocalist. However, their idea for a musical about the last seven days in the life of Jesus Christ took precedence.

When King Richard announces that he’s off on a Middle East Crusade to give Saladin a piece of his mind (and sword), the struggling court musician Blondel is forced to stay behind to write songs in praise of the King’s evil – and ambitious – brother, Prince John.  Blondel is separated from his sweetheart Fiona, who has been press-ganged into the King’s official crusade dry cleaning department. However, when Richard is captured by the murky – and rather cunning – Duke of Austria (just before the interval), Blondel decides to embark upon a pan-European adventure to save his King, Fiona, and England.

An irritable assassin, a proto-Robin-Hood and a quartet of monks all aid and/or hinder Blondel’s efforts to write himself both a place in history and love song to dedicate to Fiona.

Blondel premiered in the West End starring Paul Nicholas in 1983. It was the first musical Rice wrote with a composer other than Andrew Lloyd Webber, following hits with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita.

Presenting Blondel at the Union Theatre are Aaron Rogers and Sasha Regan for Union Theatre, and Donald Rice for Heartaches Limited. Cast to be announced.

Tickets for Blondel

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