Casting announced for exciting festival of brand new musicals

The full cast has been announced for Aria Entertainment’s prestigious festival of new musical theatre, From Page To Stage (FPTS), which returns with gusto for a 6th successful year from September 2018 at London’s Southwark Playhouse. Jane Deitch has cast the 37-strong company, who will each star in one of the seven brand new musicals featured in the 2018 festival.

Leading the cast of The Astonishing Times Of Timothy Cratchit is Felix Mosse (Aspects of Love, Les Misérables) who will be joined by: Barry James (Beauty and the Beast, Les Misérables); Beverley Klein (Fiddler on the Roof, The Beggar’s Opera); Jessie May (Hair, Mamma Mia!); Rebecca Bolton (Spring Awakening); Gavin James (Sweeney Todd, Whistle Down the Wind); Nicholas Mclean (The Book of Mormon); Cornelius Clarke (The Beaux’ Stratagem, Juno and the Peacock) and Jake Small (Mamma Mia!, Shrek).

The full cast for Cult! includes: Genevieve Nicole (Pippin, Guys and Dolls); Ashley Samuels (Fun Home, Motown); Michael Storrs (The 39 Steps, Impossible); Janet Kumah (The Bodyguard the Musical, Dancing in the Streets); Laura Mansell (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert); Josie Kemp (Les Misérables); Robbie Shepherd-White (Once, Flashdance) and Miles Western (Pageant, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert).

To Paint The Earth’s cast includes: Fred Haig (Follies); Natalie Dunne (Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens); Rose Shalloo (The Selfish Giant, A Pacifists Guide to the War on Cancer); Michele Moran (Into the Woods, Alice Underground); Gary Tushaw (The Mousetrap, Les Misérables); Lauren Lebowitz (Footloose, Godspell); Sam Peggs (Sunset Boulevard, Around the World in 80 Days); Dale Rapley (The Addams Family, Wicked); Simon Oskarsson (Return to the Forbidden Planet); Kai Spellman (Slaves of Solitude, Imogen); Lottie Johnson (The Importance of Being Earnest) and Ashley Knight (Frontier of Farce, Grand Hotel).

The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit will be directed by Jonathan O’Boyle, with musical direction by Nathan Jarvis, Cult! directed by Amy Corcoran with musical direction by Phil Cornwell and To Paint The Earth directed by Michael Howcroft, with musical direction by Nick Barstow. All will be presented as rehearsed readings.

The remaining musicals, Villages, Benjamin Button, Smoke and Never Change, will be performed by a repertory cast as part of a showcase evening directed by Bronagh Lagan, with musical direction by Marcus Adams. The cast includes: Simbi Akande (Ghost, A Feast of the Gods); Rosemary Ashe (The Phantom of the Opera, The Witches of Eastwick); David Bardsley (The Grinning Man, Titanic – The Musical); Will Carey (It’s Only Life); Adam Linstead (Les Misérables, Broken Wings); Emma Salvo (The Toxic Avenger, Sincerely, Mister Todd); Lawrence Smith (All The Angels, The Divide) and Benjamin Stratton (The Navigator, Boxed).

With over 150 entries from across the country and internationally, each new musical submitted the show title, lyricist/composer/book writer, a short synopsis and three record tracks and scenes from the show, which were then fully assessed by the From Page To Stage expert literary team who carefully selected the fantastic shows for the 2018 festival.

FPTS are thankful and proud to be sponsored by Harmonia, Cameron Mackintosh, RnH Theatricals, Theatrical Rights Worldwide, WhatsOnStage, AKA and Anthony Field Associates.



The Astonishing Times Of Timothy Cratchit (Staged Reading)
Tuesday 11 September – 3:30pm & 8pm
Music and lyrics by Andre Catrini and book by Allan Knee

The Astonishing Times Of Timothy Cratchit by Allan Knee (the writer of last year’s hit musical and London Times Pick Little Women at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester) and music and lyrics by newcomer Andre Catrini, tells the tale of a young man who sets out to find his place in an expanding and volatile world.

Inspired by the characters of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the story follows the plight of young Tim from the home of his benefactor, Ebenezer Scrooge, to the theatrical madness of the great comic, Giuseppe Grimaldi.

Cult! (Staged Reading)
Monday 24 September – 8pm
Music and lyrics by Tasha Taylor Johnson

Cult! is a musical comedy based on the true psychological study of a modern day cult that predicted the end of the world.

To Paint The Earth (Staged Reading)
Tuesday 25 September – 3:30pm & 8pm
Music by Jonathan Portera and lyrics by Daniel Frederick Levin

To Paint The Earth is the Richard Rodgers Award-winning musical that tells the story of the life of the Jewish Underground in the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII. On the early morning of April 19th, 1943, a small band of untrained fighters, using homemade bombs and a few smuggled-in weapons, forced Nazi tanks to turn and retreat. This extraordinary event was to become known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. How they came to this remarkable decision – and how they had to first come together themselves before they could, is the story Paint weaves across a range of families and individuals. Based on memoirs and first-hand accounts, the musical shows how even after individual hope is lost, a community can still rise and shout to the world, “We are here.”


Villages (Showcase)
Monday 17 & Tuesday 18 September – 8pm
Music and lyrics by Drew Dillon

Villages features songs inspired by various LGBT bars and venues throughout history. The piece explores some of the events which took place there and also the stories of the people who frequented them from The Admiral Duncan, Soho to The Stonewall Inn and Pulse, Orlando.

Benjamin Button (Showcase)
Monday 17 & Tuesday 18 September – 8pm
Music by Natalie Tenenbaum and lyrics by Brett Boles

Based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Benjamin Button is the story of a man who ages backwards. Set in Atlanta, GA and New York from 1925 through the early 2000s, the piece explores Benjamin’s entire life, but focuses mainly on the relationships Benjamin has with his father, his wife, and his son. Benjamin Button stresses the importance of family, questions the difference between love and protection, and urges all of us to cherish the moments we have – whether we’re living backwards or forwards.

Smoke (Showcase)
Monday 17 & Tuesday 18 September – 8pm
Book by Darren Rapier and music and lyrics by Sam Hall

Although set in 1860s London, Smoke deals with contemporary issues about development and ‘progress’, asking the question ‘Where Are You [We] Going to?’ (the title of one of the songs). Mrs Mill and her family’s life is turned upside-down, when the railway company arrives telling her she will have to sell her house to aid the ‘Improvements’ happening in Southwark, where vast working-class areas are being demolished. Her daughter Eleanor decides to stand up to the developers, as the family struggle to hold on to their way of life, against the relentless building and destruction around them.

Never Change (Showcase)
Monday 17 & Tuesday 18 September – 8pm
Music and lyrics by Nick Barstow and Jonathan Kirwan

‘To our Fred, forever in your favourite spot.
With love from Susan, Sarah and Thom’

Nine years after her father’s death, the weight of holding life together weighs heavy on Sarah. Home is a small seaside town, but she’d expected to see and do more – so this summer she has promised her teenage son, Thom, that they will go on a fabulous European road trip. Days before the trip, Sarah gets a letter from the council informing her that her father’s memorial bench is going to be removed as part of a drive to redevelop the seafront, and so she vows to do anything it takes to keep the bench in its place – even if she has to postpone her trip with Thom. Thom, furious at another delay in his and his mother’s life, takes off to Europe without her. Sarah’s mother confronts her reaction to the news about the bench and habit of putting her life on hold. What had happened to the carefree child she and Fred raised? Drastic times call for drastic measures and so – frustrated by her mother’s intervention, panicked by Thom’s disappearance and furious with herself – Sarah hires a van, steals the memorial bench and heads to France with her insistent, over-packed mother in tow. Never Change is a musical about the people we love, how we love them, and how we try to love ourselves.


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