The talented cast that will bring this timeless story to life will be led by Ben Mingay, currently starring as Tommy DeVito in Jersey Boys, and Amanda Harrison, star of the blockbuster musical Wicked. Ben Mingay plays Zack Mayo, the role that brought a young Richard Gere to the attention of film audiences around the world. Mayo is the classic angry young man who grew up in a “sewer” and dreams of flying jets and parlaying this skill into a better life. Ben Mingay’s theatre credits include Dirty Dancing in Australia, London and North America, HAIR, South Pacific, the operas The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni, as well as his current starring role in Jersey Boys.
Amanda Harrison stars as Paula Pokrifki, the young factory worker who dreams of becoming a nurse and finding a better life without selling out for it, like everyone around her. This role was played by Debra Winger in the film. Harrison has appeared in leading roles in Sunset Boulevard, Les Miserables, The Boy From Oz, Leader Of The Pack and We Will Rock You, but is most well known for originating the role of Elphaba in the Australian production of Wicked.
Joining Mingay and Harrison as lead performers will be Kate Kendall (MTC’s Next to Normal, Stingers, The Starter Wife) as Lynette Pomeroy, Paula’s best friend who is determined to marry a flier to escape her dead end life, no matter what it takes; and Alex Rathgeber (The Phantom of the Opera, MTC’s The Drowsy Chaperone, The Rocky Horror Show , Fiddler on the Roof ) as Sid Worley, the likeable son of a Navy Admiral who is the class “superstar” at the Naval Academy. Other cast members will be announced at a later date.
Based on the hugely successful Academy Award-winning film, this new production has been adapted for the stage by the original screen writer, Douglas Day Stewart and co-writer Sharleen Cooper Cohen, with music and lyrics by Kenny Hirsch and Robin Lerner. It will be produced by Sharleen Cooper Cohen and John Frost, and directed by Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical).
A hit across the ages, the 1982 film has become a phenomenon in cinema history, recently listed by the American Film Institute as one of the top ten love stories in cinema history. Featuring the iconic hit song “Up Where We Belong” and a new score by hit song writer Ken Hirsch and Grammy nominee Robin Lerner this timeless tale of struggle, success, friendship and love promises to be the musical blockbuster of 2012.
John Frost and Sharleen Cooper Cohen are delighted with their lead cast members. “There were hundreds of talented performers who auditioned for us. We were looking for people who could not only sing and dance, but who showed the grit and determination of these characters, and who could perform the extremely difficult physical exercises of the naval recruits on stage. Ben and Amanda will be sensational in the lead roles, and when Kate and Alex took part in the recent workshop I knew they were perfect for the roles of Lynette and Sid. I’m thrilled we have found the ideal cast.”
NSW Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Arts, George Souris, has congratulated the lead performers chosen for the World Premiere of An Officer And A Gentleman. “The NSW Government through Destination NSW is very pleased to support another world premiere musical to be produced in the harbour city of Sydney. An Officer And A Gentleman is an exciting addition to the State’s events calendar, enhancing Sydney’s pre-eminent position as the city for first run stage productions in Australia. Like many others, I am looking forward to being in the audience when this wonderful production opens next year”.
The World Premiere of An Officer and a Gentleman will be held in Sydney at the Lyric Theatre on 19 May, 2012.