Casting has been announced for Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical Stephen Ward, which begins previews at the Aldwych Theatre on 19 December.
Alexander Hanson takes the title role of the society osteopath, who unwittingly found himself at the heart of the 1963 Profumo scandal that brought down the Conservative government, and was subsequently pressured into suicide.
Hanson is joined by Charlotte Spencer as Christine Keeler, the classy call-girl whose simultaneous relationships with British Secretary of State for War John Profumo and a Soviet official caused the scandal in the first place.
The remaining pricipal cast includes Charlotte Blackledge as Mandy Rice Davies, Anthony Calf as Lord Astor, Daniel Flynn as John Profumo and Joanna Riding as Valerie Hobson.
Hanson's most recent stage appearance was as Pilate in the UK arena tour of Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Jesus Christ Superstar. Among his other credits are Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard at the Adelphi Theatre, A Little Night Music at the Menier Chocolate Factory and on its subsequent West End and Broadway transfers, Marguerite at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, and The Sound of Music at the London Palladium.
Spencer appeared in Stephen Ward director Richard Eyre's original West End production of Mary Poppins, and in Oliver! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. She also appeared in the film version of Les Misérables.
Blackledge is making her professional stage debut in Stephen Ward. Calf is currently appearing in Private Lives at the Gielgud Theatre, and is a veteran of the National Theatre and the Royal Court. Flynn’s credits include Bracken Moor at the Tricycle Theatre, 55 Days at the Hampstead Theatre and Richard II and Translations at the Donmar Warehouse.
Riding has twice won the Olivier Award for Best Actress In A Musical. She appeared recently in The Pajama Game at Chichester Festival Theatre, and her other credits include Billy Elliott at the Victoria Palace Theatre and Lend Me a Tenor and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg at the Gielgud Theatre.
The remaining cast includes Ian Conningham as Ivanov, Chris Howell as Murray, Ricardo Coke Thomas as Lucky Gordon and Wayne Robinson as Johnny Edgecomp. Other cast members are Martin Callaghan, Kate Coyston, Jason Denton, Julian Forsyth, Amy Griffiths, Paul Kemble, Emma Kate Nelson, Carl Sanderson, Emily Squibb, John Stacey, Helen Ternent and Tim Walton.
Written by Lloyd Webber with playwright Christopher Hampton and lyricist Don Black, Stephen Ward is a sexy, sensational retelling of a pivotal story from recent British history – a story that helped pave the way for the sixties social revolution that followed it.