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Top Hat - Strallen and Chambers star

Top Hat

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ON AUGUST 16, 2011, seventy six years after its movie release, the musical comedy Top Hat will receive its world stage premiere at the Milton Keynes Theatre, where it begins an initial 17-week UK tour prior to an anticipated West End transfer in spring 2012.

With music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and based on the RKO motion picture, the screenplay by Dwight Taylor and Allan Scott has been adapted for stage by Matthew White and Howard Jacques and is presented by arrangement with RKO Pictures LLC, Warner Bros Theatre Ventures Inc. and the Irving Berlin Music Company.

Leading the cast as Jerry Travers and Dale Tremont, played in the film by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, will be Tom Chambers and Summer Strallen.

They will be joined by Martin Ball and Vivien Parry as husband and wife Horace and Madge Hardwick, Ricardo Afonso as Alberto Beddini and Stephen Boswell as Horace’s valet Bates. Further casting details will be announced shortly.

Jerry Travers, the famous American tap dancer, arrives in London to appear in his first West End show. Travers meets the irresistible Dale Tremont, the girl of his dreams, and follows her across Europe in an attempt to win her heart with his wonderful song and dance routines.

Performed by a cast of 31 and accompanied by a live band of 15, Top Hat will include Irving Berlin classics from the film such as Cheek to Cheek, Isn’t It a Lovely Day to be Caught in the Rain and Top Hat, White Tie and Tails, as well as ten numbers from Berlin’s 1200 strong back catalogue, among them Let’s Face the Music and Dance, I’m Putting All My Eggs in One Basket and Gentleman Prefer Blondes.

As well as productions for the Young Vic, Sadler’s Wells and Derby Playhouse, Tom Chambers‘ theatre credits include Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (The Sunderland Empire). However, he is probably best known for his television work – as surgeon Sam Strachan in Holby City, a role he played for three years, and Head Teacher Max Tyler in Waterloo Road. And in 2008, he won Strictly Come Dancing with his partner Camilla Dallerup.

Summer Strallen most recently created the role of Meg Giry in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies, for which she was nominated for Best Performance for a Supporting Role in a Musical at the 2011 Olivier Awards. Her other theatre credits include Maria in The Sound of Music (London Palladium); Janet Van Der Graaf in The Drowsy Chaperone (Novello Theatre) for which she was also Olivier nominated; the title role in Dick Whittington (the Barbican) and Maisie in The Boy Friend (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park) for which she again received an Olivier Award nomination.

Her screen credits include Hotel Babylon, Beyond the Sea and Hollyoaks.

Top Hat will be directed by Matthew White (Sweet Charity and Little Shop of Horrors), choreographed by Bill Deamer, and designed by Olivier Award winning Hildegard Bechtler, with costumes by Jon Morrell, lighting by Peter Mumford, musical direction by Daniel Jackson, musical supervision by Richard Balcombe, new orchestrations provided by Chris Walker and sound by Gareth Owen.

After opening in Milton Keynes, the production will tour to Birmingham, Southampton, Salford Quays, Plymouth, Norwich, Canterbury, Edinburgh and Leeds prior to transferring into the West End in the Spring of 2012.