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Hadley Fraser and Caroline Sheen to launch new musical Before After

Hadley Fraser

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

WEST End stars Hadley Fraser and Caroline Sheen will feature in the world premiere of Stuart Matthew Price and Timothy Knapman’s new romantic musical, Before After, at St. James Studio.

Backed by the Arts Council, Before After will be workshopped for two weeks, before being performed to the paying public at St James Studio on Sunday, September 28, 2014.

Everybody has one great lost love. They broke our hearts, they haunt our dreams and we will never, ever forget them. But what if fate gave you another chance? Do you think you’d get things right the second time around?

In Before After, Ami (Caroline Sheen) meets Ben (Hadley Fraser) by a tree on a beautiful hillside. She recognises him instantly – he was once the love of her life. But Ben doesn’t recognise her. As audiences watch their love grow in both the past and the present, might they finally find their happy ever after after all? He’s the right man in the right place – but is this the right time?

Composer Stuart Matthew Price said: “We are thrilled with the stunning West End cast we’ve assembled and with the generous support of the Arts Council, excited to give Musical Theatre fans the opportunity to be in at the very beginning of the journey for this new British musical. We want their feedback as we look to mount a fully staged production later in 2014 or early 2015.”

Hadley Fraser, soon to star as Stine in the sold-out Donmar Warehouse production of City of Angels, made his professional debut in Les Misérables. In 2011, he returned to the West End production as Javert. His other West End credits include: The Far Pavilions (Shaftesbury Theatre), Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance (Savoy Theatre), Peter Pan (Savoy Theatre) and El Gallo in The Fantasticks (Duchess Theatre). He also played Raoul in the 25th Anniversary staging of The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall.

As a vocalist, Fraser can be heard on Scott Alan’s releases Keys and Scott Alan LIVE.

Caroline Sheen played the title role in the musical Mary Poppins, first in the UK then in the US, where she won the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Non-Resident Production. She appeared as Fantine in the West End production of Les Misérables alongside Hadley Fraser, and had a minor role in the 2012 film version.

Caroline Sheen

Sheen made her West End debut as Marty in Grease at the Cambridge Theatre and later starred as Sandy at the Victorial Palace Theatre. Her other credits include Florinda in Into the Woods (Donmar Warehouse); understudying the lead role of Sophie in the original cast of Mamma Mia! (Prince Edward Theatre); creating the role of Jennifer Gabriel in the world premiere production of The Witches of Eastwick (Theatre Royal Drury Lane); and Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (London Palladium).

Stuart Matthew Price made his debut as as perfomer in the critically acclaimed Parade at the Donmar Warehouse. His other theatre credits include Mack and Mabel (Southwark Playhouse), The Sound Of Music (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Dear World (Charing Cross Theatre), Shrek The Musical (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), Sweet Smell of Success (Arcola Theatre) and Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Show.

In 1999, Price’s first musical, Searching, won him the Stoll Moss Theatre’s Award for Most Promising Under 18 Musical Writer. Since then, he has worked on a number of new musicals including The Diary of Me, which premiered at the Harlow Playhouse in 2006, followed by a short run as part of the Perfect Pitch Showcase Season in 2008 at Trafalgar Studios.

Price’s individual songs have received much acclaim, with Stories of Heroes winning him the 4th Annual Tim William’s Award in 2012.

Timothy Knapman is a playwright, lyricist and children’s writer. He co-wrote Hamlet! The Musical (Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Royal and Derngate Northampton, Richmond Theatre), wrote the book and lyrics for a musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol (Creation TC) and works frequently as a librettist for singing group I Fagiolini (work performed at the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, BBC Proms, on CD and DVD).

Knapman’s plays include: Gilbert and Sullivan: All At Sixes and Sevens (King’s Head Theatre), The Stag King (Edinburgh Fringe) and The Smallest Person (Trestle TC, Edinburgh and national tour). His books include: the best-selling Mungo and the Picture Book Pirates (and its sequels), Dinosaurs in the Supermarket and Eleanor’s Eyebrows.

Produced by United Theatrical with the assistance of the Arts Council of England, the workshop will be directed by Simon Greiff, with orchestration and musical direction by Colin Billing.

Tickets (for September 28): £15 Studio Gallery and £12.50 Studio Floor. Available from the box office on 0844 264 2140 or visit

Time: 3pm.

Also at St James Studio: Stephen Sondheim’s Marry Me A Little, starring Simon Bailey and Laura Pitt-Pulford (October 6 to October 11, 2014).