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Thursday, July 31, 2008; Posted: 7:26 PM - by Robert Gould
The magic of Manilow is about to hit the stage across the UK with Bill Kenwright’s production of the new musical Can’t Smile Without You. Joining pop/rock singer-songwriter Chesney Hawkes in the show’s leading roles will be BBC’s How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? finalist Siobhan Dillon and I’d Do Anythingcontestant Francesca Jackson.
Hawkes is best known for his role as the title character in the 1991 film Buddy’s Song and for his number one hit recording of the song “The One And Only” from the film’s soundtrack. Ms Dillon recently played the role of Patti Symcox in Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre andFrancesca Jackson delivered a sensational performance as Joanne in the 2007 production of Rent at the Duke of York’s.
Barry Manilow is one of the most successful singer-songwriters of all time, having sold more than 75 million records worldwide, and he is also the composer and co-writer of the musical Copacabana, which began as a TV movie in 1985 and was later adapted for the stage for a West End run in 1994-6, followed by tours in both the UK and USA.
Can’t Smile Without You, which has a Book by Tim Prager based upon an original idea by Bill Kenwright, draws upon Manilow’s extensive songbook of hits, including “Could It Be Magic?”, “I Made It Through The Rain”, “I Write The Songs” and “Mandy”. The show will be directed by Keith Strachan and Bill Kenwright, with musical direction by John Maher and choreography by Carole Todd. The UK tour commences at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley (from 28 August 2008) and will then embark on a national tour (Liverpool, Bristol, Manchester, Hull, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Northampton, Stoke and Newcastle) prior to a planned West End engagement in 2009.
Photo by Sara De Boer / Retna Ltd.