The first image of the Fat Friends the Musical family has been released, as full casting for Kay Mellor’s new musical is unveiled. Fat Friends the Musical will premiere at Leeds Grand this November with an extensive UK tour to follow in 2018. Joining the previously announced cast, Natasha Hamilton (Atomic Kitten) will take on the role of Julia, Kevin Kennedy(Coronation Street) stars as Fergus and Rachael Wooding (We Will Rock You) appears as Joanne, alongside Jonathan Halliwell (Let It Shine) as Paul and Chloe Hart (Hairspray) as Val. Alan will be played by Neil Hurst, one of dozens of Yorkshiremen who applied for the role through an open audition call.
Also newly announced, What’s On Stage Award nominee Joel Montague, who recently starred alongside Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl, will share the role of Kevin with Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff. Freddie will appear in Leeds, Southampton, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford and Blackpool with Joel completing the remaining tour dates.
Futher cast includes: Craig Armstrong, Lizzie Bea, Paul Brangan, Emma Crossley, Ellie Leah, Laura Manselland Ryan Pidgen. As previously announced, the cast is completed by Jodie Prenger and Natalie Anderson with Sam Bailey and Elaine C. Smith sharing the role of Betty.
Natasha Hamilton is best known for being one third of one of the UK’s most internationally successful girl groups of the last decade, Atomic Kitten. On stage she has starred as Mrs Johnston in Blood Brothers (Phoenix Theatre) and Rent (Touring).
Kevin Kennedy is most recognised for his 20-year portrayal of Norman ‘Curly’ Watts in ITV’s flagship soap Coronation Street (1983-2003). His theatre credits include Chicago (Adelphi Theatre), We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (international tour), Hamlet (Sheffield Crucible) and Ducking Out (Duke of York’s).
Rachael Wooding’s leading stage credits include We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre), Jersey Boys (Prince Edward Theatre), Hairpsray (Shaftsbury Theatre) Evita (UK Tour) and most recently she starred in the UK Tour of Wonderland and Street of Dreams. Television and film credits include Coronation Street (ITV), Doctors (BBC).
Joel Montague is currently appearing in School of Rock at the New London Theatre. He has an extensive stage career including Funny Girl (Savoy Theatre and Menier Chocolate Factory) for which he was nominated for the What’s On Stage Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical, The Producers (UK Tour), Urinetown (Apollo Theatre and St James Theatre), Rocky Horror Picture Show (UK Tour), and Tommy in Concert (Prince Edward Theatre).
Jonathan Halliwell was a finalist in the BBC contest, Let It Shine and will appear on screen in Kay Mellor’s upcoming BBC drama Love, Lies and Records. For stage he has appeared in White Christmas (Dominion Theatre).
Chloe Hart has appeared in Kinky Boots (Adelphi Theatre), A Damsel in Distress (Chichester Festival Theatre), Wicked (Victoria Palace), Les Miserables (Queens Theatre) and led the West End cast of Hairspray (Shaftesbury Theatre).
Neil Hurst started his career in Musical Theatre in shows such as Evita, Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Me and My Girl. His most recent theatre work includes Gaudete for French theatre company Obra and The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. In television, Neil recently played the role of Gary Plunkett in BBC’s Home from Home. Other credits include The 4 O’Clock Club; The Jacksons; The Syndicate and Fresh Meat. Neil also played Vernon Kay’s comedy sidekick in several series of ITV’s All Star Family Fortunes.
Fat Friends, the award winning TV drama has been adapted for the stage by its creator and one of the UK’s most prolific writers, Kay Mellor, whose extensive television credits include hit series of Band of Gold, The Chase, The Syndicate, In the Club and whose stage credits include A Passionate Woman.
Produced by Joshua Andrews and Adam Spiegel, with original music and songs composed by Nicholas Lloyd Webber, Fat Friends – The Musical will open at Leeds Grand Theatre in November ahead of an extensive UK tour, visiting Bromley, Newcastle, Hull, Southampton, Sheffield, Southend, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Dartford, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Glasgow, Belfast, Bradford, Aberdeen and Blackpool.
Fat Friends – the Musical is designed by Bretta Gerecke with choreography by Karen Bruce, musical supervision, orchestrations and arrangements from Simon Lee, sound design by two time Olivier Award winning Gareth Owen and lighting design from Tony Award nominated Nick Richings, Fat Friends – The Musical, sees the nation’s favourite group of dieters reunited as this new show bursts on to the stage.
The ‘weight’ is over; Packed full of warmth, life and weight loss, this brand new stage show reunites our favourite foodie friends in an original musical bulging with hopes, humour and heart. Join the infamous group of loveable characters as they are put through their Zumba paces at their local branch of Super Slimmer’s by the lovelorn Lauren whilst Kelly fantasises about fitting into the wedding dress of her dreams. Fat Friends offers a generous serving of hilarious fun with a sprinkle of romance on top!
Fat Friends hit television screens in October 2000, following the lives of a group of overweight friends as they struggle with the absurdities of modern dieting. Entertaining millions of viewers for five years on ITV, the show starred Alison Steadman, Gaynor Faye and Lisa Riley and launched the careers of James Corden and Ruth Jones. Written by Kay Mellor, the show was nominated for multiple awards including the BAFTA for Best Drama Series.