Friday, 24 October 2014

Further Casting announced for WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN


Released today is ‘Madrid, the exuberant opening number from David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane’s score for the new stage adaptation of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Capturing the humour, colour and chaos of Pedro Almodóvar’s Oscar-nominated film, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown opens at the Playhouse Theatre on 12 January 2015, with previews from 16 December 2014 and is directed by Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher. 

Powered by a live onstage band this smart new musical comedy boasts an international cast: Ricardo Afonso, Haydn Oakley and Willemijn Verkaik now join the previously announced Tamsin Greig, Haydn Gwynne, Jérôme Pradon and Anna Skellern. Additional cast includes Marianne Benedict, Holly James, Michael Matus, Rebecca McKinnis, Sarah Moyle, Alastair Natkiel, Nuno Queimado and Dale Rapley.

On the streets of Madrid, a city pulsing with art, industry and passion, Pepa’s world is unravelling. Her lover leaves her. And then she meets his wife. And his son. And his new girlfriend. Meanwhile, Pepa’s best friend is tangled up in her own romantic crisis with a suspected criminal, leaving Pepa with only the taxi driver to help navigate the Gran Vía ahead.

Originally based by Almodóvar on Jean Cocteau’s The Human Voice, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown was his first international hit. It captured a liberated Spain, placing women at the centre of their own experience. Pepa (Tamsin Greig), Candela (Anna Skellern) and Lucia (Haydn Gwynne) became iconic, showing women struggling for power over their own lives, and with enormous humour and style. It also marked the breakout of one of our most important and unique international film directors. 


Tamsin Greig plays Pepa. Greig has received much critical acclaim for her work on stage. She won a Laurence Olivier and Critics Award for Best Actress in Much Ado About Nothing and was nominated again for her role in The Little Dog Laughed. Other theatre credits include Jumpy (Royal Court and Duke of York’s Theatre), The God of Carnage (Gielgud), Gethsemane (National) and King John (RSC).

Greig is also known for her many comedic roles on television including Beverley Lincoln in the transatlantic sitcom Episodes with Stephen Mangan and Matt LeBlanc, Dr Caroline Todd in Green Wing for which she won an award for Best Comedy Performance at the 2005 Royal Television Society Awards, Jackie in the Channel 4 sitcom Friday Night Dinner, Alice Chenery in Love Soup and Fran Katzenjammer in Black Books. Among Greig’s other notable television characters are Miss Bates in the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, Beth in White Heat and most recently DCI Maggie Brand in The Guilty. 

On film she starred with Richard E. Grant in Cuckoo, Roger Allam and Gemma Arterton in Tamara Drewe for which she received a British Independent Film Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She also made a short cameo appearance in the 2004 comedy Shaun of the Dead. Greig has just finished filming the feature Breaking The Bank opposite Kelsey Grammar, directed by Vadim Jean and recently The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, directed by John Madden.

Haydn Gwynne plays Lucia. On stage she has most recently starred as Margaret Thatcher in The Audience alongside Helen Mirren at the Gielgud Theatre. Haydn’s other theatre credits include Richard III opposite Kevin Spacey as part of The Old Vic’s Bridge Project (and international tour), Billy Elliot the Musical for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award, Becky Shaw (Almeida), Company (Donmar Warehouse) and Merry Wives of Windsor, Peer Gynt, Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC). Gwynne also boasts an extensive list of television credits, including Death in Paradise, Law & Order, Lewis, Consenting Adults, Drop the Dead Donkey, Poirot and Dangerfield. Film credits include Hunky Dory, These Foolish Things and Remember Me.

Australian actress Anna Skellern plays Candela. Anna’s theatre work includes Holding the Man (Trafalgar Studios), One Night in November (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry) and Maddie in The Vegemite Tales (The Venue, Leicester Square). On television Anna played Lady Bobbie in Parade’s End, as well as appearing in the BBC’s new eight-part series The Interceptor, The Musketeers, Outnumbered, Poirot, Spy and Jack Whitehall’s Secret. Anna also starred in the award-winning Australian television satire, CNNNN. Anna also has numerous film credits including, I Give It A Year, W.E., Gambit, and the upcoming films Solitary and Blood Moon.

Willemijn Verkaik from the Netherlands plays Paulina. She is best known for her role as Elphaba in the musical Wicked, which she has performed in London, Broadway, Germany and Holland. In addition, she has played Scaramouche and Killer Queen in We Will Rock You, Amneris in Aida (Da Capo Award for ‘Best Musical Performer’) and the title role in Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay’s musical Elisabeth. She has made numerous concert and television appearances across Europe and can be heard on two Scott Alan albums, Live and What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up. Most recently, Verkaik can be heard as the voice of Queen Elsa in the German and Dutch versions of Disney’s Frozen. 

Portuguese actor Ricardo Afonso plays the Taxi Driver. Ricardo’s previous theatre credits include Thriller Live (The Lyric Theatre), From Hackney to Hollywood: The Don Black Songbook UK Tour, Irving Berlin: From Rags to Ritzes (The Royal Festival Hall) and the lead vocalist on the Strictly Come Dancing – The Professionals tour. Ricardo also fronted the cast of We Will Rock You in the opening of the handover ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games. Voice over credits include Shrek (DreamWorks), Beauty and the Beast (Disney) and 102 Dalmatians (Disney). Ricardo also appeared on The Voice UK (BBC) as part of Team Danny. 

Rebecca McKinnis plays Christina. Rebecca’s theatre credits include A Small Family Business (National Theatre Olivier), Viva Forever (Piccadilly Theatre), Les Miserables (25th Anniversary Tour), We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre), Fat Pig (Trafalgar Studios), Susannah Townley in Three Hours After Marriage (Union Theatre), Mamma Mia! (Prince of Wales) and The Taming of the Shrew (Changeling Theatre Company). 

Sarah Moyle plays Pepa’s Concierge. She is probably best known for the roles Valeria Pitman in Doctors and Kimberley in Extras; other television appearances include Mount Pleasant, WPC 56, Threesome, White Van Man and Born and Bred. Sarah’s numerous stage credits include She Stoops to Conquer (National), Jerusalem (Royal Court and Apollo Theatre), An Inspector Calls (Aldwych) and Lust (Haymarket). Film credits include The Baseline and The Gunman alongside Sean Penn and Javier Bardem which will be released in 2015.  

Haydn Oakley plays Carlos. Haydn most recently played Gilbert Chilvers in the UK tour of Betty Blue Eyes.  His extensive theatre credits include The Book of Mormon (Prince of Wales), Wonderful Town (2012 UK Tour), Lend Me A Tenor (Gielgud Theare), Passion (Donmar Warehouse), Spamalot (Palace Theatre), Wicked (Apollo Theatre) and We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre). Haydn’s film credits include A Family Affair and Knock Knock

Jérôme Pradon from France plays Ivan. He most recently appeared in the French production of Mamma Mia! and has starred in numerous productions in the UK and abroad including Whistle Down the Wind (Aldwych Theatre), Les Misérables both in the West End and Paris, Miss Saigon, Martin Guerre, The Lord of the Rings and Pacific Overtures, for which he was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award with the show winning Best Musical. Jérôme’s film credits include, Vatel, The Dancer and The Aristocrats. Jérôme also played the palaeontologist narrator in the hugely successful Walking With Dinosaurs. 

Bartlett Sher (Director), Resident Director of the Lincoln Center Theater, has received national and international recognition for his work as a director, including the Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for Best Direction of a Musical for South Pacific. This stunning and revelatory production was subsequently presented at the Barbican in London. He has also received Tony nominations for The Light in the Piazza, Awake and Sing!, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, and his recent production of Clifford Odets’ Golden Boy received 8 Tony Award nominations.  Sher served as Associate Artistic Director at Hartford Stage (Hartford, Connecticut) and Company Director at the Guthrie Theater (Minneapolis, Minnesota) where he worked with Garland Wright, who was a mentor as was Robert Woodruff. Sher has directed, taught and led workshops across the country and internationally. He was Artistic Director at Intiman Theatre in Seattle and in 2008 was named Resident Director at Lincoln Center Theatre in New York City where he will direct a new production of The King and I in the spring of 2015.

David Yazbek (Music & Lyrics) has most notably written the music and lyrics to the musical adaptations of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels which has recently opened at The Savoy Theatre and The Full Monty. Both scores have earned him a Tony Award nomination for Best Original Score and Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Music and Outstanding Lyrics. Yazbek was also a contributing lyricist for the musical Bombay Dreams and is also part of the creative team developing a stage musical version of the film Tootsie

Jeffrey Lane (Book) has collaborated previously with David Yazbek on Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Lane is perhaps best known for writing such television programs as Mad About You, Ryan's Hope, Lou Grant, Cagney & Lacey, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd and the mini-series The Murder of Mary Phagan. He has been the recipient of many accolades including five Emmy Awards, three Writers Guild Awards, two Peabody Awards, a Golden Globe and the Christopher Award. 

Pedro Almodóvar is a multi-award winning director and screenwriter best known for films including All About My Mother (1999), Volver (2006), The Skin I Live In (2011) and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1998). Almodóvar has famously worked with actors Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz, making them international household names. His film Live Flesh (1998) won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, sparking continued success and multiple awards including a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film with Talk to Her (2002), a BAFTA Award for Best Film not in the English Language with All About My Mother (1999), as well as a Cannes Film Festival Award for best screenplay with Volver (2006). Almodóvar most recently received the highly prestigious Lumière Prize, presented to him in 2014. 


Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, a funny and moving musical, is produced in the West End by Howard Panter for The Ambassador Theatre Group.

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