Claire Sweeney joins the cast of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG on its UK&I Tour

thumbnail_Claire Sweeney

Claire Sweeney will play the role of Baroness Bomburst in Music & Lyrics and West Yorkshire Playhouse’s production of the much-loved Sherman Brothers musical CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, from Wednesday 3 August 2016. The production is touring across the UK and Ireland until February 2017. Michelle Collins, who currently plays Baroness Bomburst, leaves the production on 30 July 2016.

Michelle Collins said, “I will be really sorry to leave the fantastic CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG tour after my dates at the New Wimbledon Theatre and six months on the road. I love playing the all singing and dancing Baroness Bomburst, but have been advised that the knee problem I have been managing along the way will not fully recover if I carry on for the rest of the 12-month tour. I wish Claire Sweeney every success when she takes over the role this summer.”

John Stalker, Executive Producer of Music & Lyrics, said, “I would like to thank Michelle Collins for being a brilliant Baroness in our production of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. I am thrilled that Claire Sweeney will be joining us in the role in August. We are lucky to be working with two such talented actresses as part of our wonderful cast.”

On television, Claire Sweeney began her career as Lindsey Corkhill in Channel 4’s Brookside and appeared in the first ever Celebrity Big Brother in aid of Comic Relief. She also appeared in the very first Strictly Come Dancing on BBC 1 and has been a regular panellist on ITV’sLoose Women. She could also recently be heard hosting her very own weekly musical theatre-themed show on Magic FM. In theatre, her many roles have included Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago in London’s West End, Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls at London’s Piccadilly Theatre with Patrick Swayze, The Girl in a national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s musical Tell Me on a Sunday, Paulette in the first UK tour of Legally Blonde, and she played the eponymous role in the UK tour of Educating Rita with Matthew Kelly. Claire is currently starring as Velma Von Tussle in the UK tour of Hairspray.

Claire Sweeney will join Lee Mead (Casualty, Legally Blonde, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat) as Caractacus Potts, Carrie Hope Fletcher (Les Misérables, War of the Worlds) as Truly Scrumptious, Shaun Williamson (The Railway Children, EastEnders) as Lord Scrumptious/Baron Bomburst, Matt Gillett (Jersey Boys, Top Hat) as the Childcatcher and Andy Hockley (The Phantom Of The Opera) as Grandpa Potts.

Jason Manford (The Producers, Sweeney Todd) returns to the role of Caractacus Potts on 21 September. Phill Jupitus (The Producers, Hairspray) returns to the roles of Lord Scrumptious and Baron Bomburst on 24 August.

Ewen Cummins plays The Toymaker/Mr Coggins, with Sam Harrison as Boris and Scott Paige as Goran, and Kathryn Barnes, Rosanna Bates, Alex Louize Bird, Abigail Climer, Jade Davies, Ewan Gillies, Joanna Goodwin, Nathan Vaughan Harris, Christopher D Hunt, Paul Iveson, Nia Jermin, Kelsie-Rae Marshall, Mollie Melia-Redgrave, Perry O’Dea, Matt Overfield, Ross Russell, Craig Turner and Robert Wilkes.

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG has music and lyrics by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman, who were also responsible for Mary Poppins, The Slipper and the Rose, The Aristocats and The Jungle Book. The Sherman Brothers have won two Academy Awards with a further nine nominations, two Grammy Awards and they have received 21 gold and platinum albums.

The film made from Ian Fleming’s classic story has been adapted for the stage by Jeremy Sams, based on the MGM Motion Picture Licensed Script adapted by Ray Roderick.

This new production of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG is directed by West Yorkshire Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining, with new choreography by Stephen Mear. There is a live orchestra with Musical Supervision by Stephen Ridley. Set and costume design is by Simon Higlett, lighting design is by Tim Mitchell, sound design is by Ben Harrison and video design is by Simon Wainwright.

There are sensational sets and stunning special effects and, of course, the memorable score by the Sherman Brothers, which includes such standards as Truly Scrumptious, Toot Sweets, Hushabye Mountain and the Oscar-nominated title song Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The Music & Lyrics Limited and West Yorkshire Playhouse production of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG is presented by permission of JOSEF WEINBERGER LIMITED on behalf of MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL of New York.

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4 – 14 May
Milton Keynes Theatre

18 – 29 May
Nottingham Theatre Royal

1 – 12 June
Theatre Royal, Newcastle

15 – 19 June
Theatre Royal Plymouth

29 June – 17 July
Sheffield Lyceum

20 – 30 July
New Wimbledon Theatre

3 – 21 August
Wales Millennium Centre

24 August – 3 September
Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

7 – 18 September
Birmingham Hippodrome

21 September – 2 October
Royal & Derngate, Northampton

5 – 16 October
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

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King’s Theatre, Glasgow

9 – 19 November
New Victoria Theatre, Woking

6 December – 15 January
The Lowry, Salford

25 January – 4 February
Bristol Hippodrome