The personality known as Cheryl is in negotiations to join the cast of West End musical Chicago.
Cheryl — who was Tweedy when she was in Girls Aloud, Cole when she married footballer Ashley, Fernandez-Versini during her short-lived marriage to restaurateur Jean-Bernard, and is now back to her original surname — has met the producers of the John Kander and Fred Ebb musical, which is running at the Phoenix Theatre.
She watched the show on Wednesday with friends. Main producer Barry Weissler and his team, over from New York, also happened to be in the theatre that evening.
The West End beckons: Cheryl is in negotiations to join the cast of West End musical Chicago. Pictured in May 2018
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There are now discussions about whether she’ll be able to join the musical for a limited guest stint.
Cheryl is being considered for the part of Roxie Hart, who has an extra-marital affair and then shoots her boyfriend (‘the louse’).
She had one of the better voices in Girls Aloud and should be able to learn the choreography in the style of Bob Fosse by Ann Reinking.
Film adaptation: A film version of Chicago was released in 2002, with Renee Zellweger scooping a Best Actress Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe win for her efforts as Roxie
A spokesman for Cheryl confirmed that she went to see Chicago, but insisted it was ‘with friends, as she is a fan of the show’.
However, no one has denied that she might wind up appearing in the production. And she is certainly one of several names on Weissler’s wish list.
A film version of Chicago was released in 2002 to much critical acclaim, with Renee Zellweger scooping a Best Actress Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe win for her efforts as Roxie.
The box office hit earned six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress for Catherine Zeta-Jones, who portrayed Velma Kelly.
Gong: Catherine Zeta-Jones won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her efforts as Velma Kelly
The current booking period for Chicago runs through to October 30 and it’s not yet known if it will extend; but I do know Weissler would like to keep a grip on the Phoenix for as long as possible to allow Chicago a profitable run.
(Martin Kemp, who can sing, replaces Cuba Gooding Jr, who found it a challenge, as lawyer Billy Flynn on July 2.)
And the Phoenix would have been a handy home for the musical Waitress — another Weissler production. But something else has pipped them to the post.
Sue Frost and Randy Adams, the lead producers of the enormously touching musical Come From Away, have bagged the Phoenix for their show.
Star: The role would mark a career transition for Cheryl, who found fame alongside (L-R) Sarah Harding, Nadine Coyle, Kimberley Walsh and Nicola Roberts in Girls Aloud. Pictured in 2014
Come From Away has been a huge success on Broadway and director Christopher Ashley’s work was recognised with a Tony award last year.
Written by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, it’s the story of the planes diverted from the U.S. to Gander in Newfoundland on 9/11.
Nearly 7,000 passengers, pilots and crew descended on the Canadian island that fateful day. It’s about community, heartbreak and being made to feel welcome.
It will have a run at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in December and January and open at the Phoenix in February with a British cast.
Aidan on ten pints a night to play Mad Padraic!
Brace yourself. There will be blood. Ten pints of it (fake) for every performance of Martin McDonagh’s noir comic masterpiece The Lieutenant Of Inishmore when it runs at the Noel Coward Theatre from June 23.
The original production was turned down by the likes of the National Theatre because The Troubles in Ireland were still so fresh. Plus, cats die. People are tortured. The Royal Shakespeare Company stepped in and opened the play in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2001.
Director Michael Grandage, who’s directing an ensemble led by Poldark actor Aidan Turner, nodded towards what looked like a pile of dismembered limbs. ‘Under that tarpaulin are body parts,’ he said, grimly. He laughed when he saw my shocked (fake) response.
Terrified: Aidan Turner (pictured) said, ‘We’d be terrified driving through areas boarded-up because of terrorist activity’
The flesh-coloured and bloodied chopped-up bodies weren’t real. But they looked real enough for McDonagh’s play about Padraic (known as Mad Padraic), an Irish terrorist so bonkers the IRA won’t let him join.
He goes ballistic when his companion of 15 years, a black cat known as Wee Thomas, is found in the road with brain injuries. I saw the original London and Broadway productions over a decade ago, but it was great to watch the opening scene where Denis Conway, as Padraic’s dad, and Chris Walley (who just won an award for his performance in TV’s Young Offenders) as Davey, discuss Wee Thomas’s misfortune — and how to break the news to Padraic.
Grandage and cast members noted that the world view of terrorism had changed. Irishman Turner said: ‘In the Eighties and Nineties we’d be terrified driving through areas boarded-up because of terrorist activity. But it was normality, everyday for the locals.’ It was the ‘banality’ of the violence (a phrase that knocked about all afternoon) he found most shocking.
Conway said the farce-like qualities of the play were a challenge to actors, in that the parts had to be played ‘straight, with a wink’. He added that the ‘audience should be laughing while you’re crying . . . and they have to believe that you’re crying’.
Screen success: The actor has enjoyed phenomenal success in his role as Captain Ross Poldark in the BBC series Poldark
Peaky Blinders’ star Charlie Murphy, the only woman in the cast (Mairead, a sharpshooter, who can hit a cow’s eye at 600 yards) echoed that sentiment.
When I saw her holding an air pistol close to Turner’s precious parts, for a split second I feared for his manhood. But she said she knows her way around arms very well, thanks to combat training for various roles.
Turner unholstered two guns to show he, too, knew what he was doing with weapons. Conviction on all fronts.
No real animals were harmed in the making of the play, by the way. There is one real cat and an understudy. All other cats are fake. Animatronics.
They were a fun cast, and they confirmed that they’ve enjoyed the craic. I was very convinced of that.
The Brits are either going to be butchered on Broadway at the Tony Awards — or bring beaucoup trophies home to Blighty.
Andrew Lloyd Webber is a shoo-in to take home gold — he’s being honoured with a lifetime achievement at Radio City Music Hall.
Glenda Jackson is a best actress favourite for Edward Albee’s sublime Three Tall Women. Harry Potter And The Cursed Child is up for ten awards, including best drama, with acting nods for Jamie Parker, Anthony Boyle and Noma Dumezweni.
Potter producer Sonia Friedman is also a producing partner on Tina Fey’s delicious Mean Girls and the Menier Chocolate revival of Tom Stoppard’s Travesties, starring Tom Hollander (all nominated).
Marianne Elliott’s National Theatre production of Angels In America has 11 nominations.
And Gavin Lee is contending for SpongeBob SquarePants, while Diana Rigg and Harry Hadden-Paton are up for Bartlett Sher’s production of My Fair Lady.
Shoo-in: Andrew Lloyd Webber is a shoo-in to take home gold — he’s being honoured with a lifetime achievement at the Tony Awards, he;d at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall