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Cast announced for European Premiere of The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin

Theatre Royal Stratford East and Belgrade Theatre Coventry present the European première of

The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin

Book, music and lyrics by Kirsten Childs

Director: Josette Bushell-Mingo; Designer: Rosa Maggiora; Choreographer: Mykal Rand
Video Designer: Tim Reid; Lighting Designer: Chris Davey; Re-orchestrator: Darius Smith
Musical Director: Jordan Li-Smith; Sound Designer: Andrew Johnson
Associate Director: Susan Lawson-Reynolds

1 February - 11 March
Press night: 8 February 7pm

Theatre Royal Stratford East and Belgrade Coventry Theatre today announces the cast for Kirsten Childs’ award-winning off-Broadway musical The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin. Opening on 1 February at Theatre Royal Stratford East Josette Bushell-Mingo directs Matt Dempsey (Director Bob/Policeman), Llandyll Gove (Cosmic/Prince), Karis Jack (Young Viveca), Ashley Joseph (Lucas), Sophia Mackay (Older Viveca), Jay Marsh (Gregory), Jessica Pardoe (Chitty Chatty/Miss Pain/Scarlett), Trevor A Toussaint (Daddy), Sharon Wattis (Mommy) and Shelley Williams (Granny/Yolanda/Nilda).

A life-affirming and funny coming-of-age story which follows Viveca, a bright African American girl from a black middle class family in LA, who dreams of becoming a dancer.

Choosing to face the conflicts of a changing era in America with optimism rather than revolution, she learns to reconcile the realities of racism and sexism with hope and faith and discovers her self-worth.

This award-winning off-Broadway musical is a cheeky and satirical look at how women have been defined by others and themselves from the 1960s to present day, with an original score fusing Motown, pop and R&B – think Sondheim meets Beyoncé!

Kirsten Childs is the award-winning writer of musicals whose other work includes Miracle Brothers (Vineyard Theatre), Fly, Funked Up Fairy Tales and Bella: An American Tall Tale which receives its world première this season. She is the recipient of Obie, Kleban, Larson, Richard Rodgers, Audelco, and Gilman/Gonzalez-Falla Awards, as well as Lortel and Drama Desk nominations. She recently collaborated with Charlayne Woodard on the musical Grace for Inner Voices: Solo Musicals. Childs has written for Disney Theatricals, the American Songbook series at Lincoln Center, the New Electric Company, Works and Process at the Guggenheim Museum and City Center Encores!.

Matt Dempsey plays Director Bob/Policeman. His recent theatre credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Boyfriend (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Enron (Noel Coward Theatre /Chichester Festival Theatre), The Witches Of Eastwick (Theatre Royal Drury Lane) and Peter Pan (Palace Manchester).  Television credits include The Trip, Family Affairs, Paradise Heights and Rhona. Film credits include Muppets Most Wanted, Dark Shadows, Alice In Wonderland, The Duchess, Gulliver’s Travels, Allied, Delovely, Sweeney Todd, Alice Through The Looking Glass and Great Expectations.

Llandyll Gove Llandyll Gove plays Cosmic/Prince.  His recent theatre credits include American Idiot (Arts Theatre, London and UK tour), Saturday Night Fever (UK tour), 20th Century Boy: The Marc Bolan Musical (UK tour), Grease (UK tour and Cork Opera House), Dancing Queen (UK tour), Aladdin (Cork Opera House and Millfield Arts Centre), Beauty and the BeastSnow White and Cinderella (Glasgow’s SECC).  Film credits include Walking on Sunshine.

Karis Jack plays Young Viveca. Her recent theatre credits Include Baddies: The Musical (Unicorn Theatre), Hairspray (Leicester Curve & UK tour), Little Shop Of Horrors (Salisbury Playhouse & Mercury Theatre Colchester) and Urinetown: The Musical (Apollo Theatre & St James Theatre).

Ashley Joseph returns to Theatre Royal Stratford East to play Lucas. His previous  credits for the company include Robin Hood and The Blacks. Other theatre credits include The Mocking Birds (Tristan Bates Theatre), Look To The Sky (UK tour), Twelfth Night (Nottingham Playhouse) and Father's And Son's (The Albany Theatre). Television credits include All About The Mckenzies and Laura and Disorder.

Sophia Mackay plays Older Viveca. Her  recent theatre credits include Leader Of The Pack, (Waterloo East Theatre), Muscovado (Burnt Out Theatre), and Earth Makes No Sound (Filament Theatre). Film credits include, Hush 2- End The Silence and Chrissy.

Jay Marsh plays Gregory. His recent theatre credits include, SideShow (Southwark Playhouse), Sunny Afternoon (Harold Pinter Theatre), Porgy And Bess (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Fences (Duchess Theatre), Reflection Day (Theatre503), Desert Boy (Birmingham Rep), Life On The Stairs (Oxford House), Rat Pack Live At Las Vegas (Wyndham’s Theatre), Ash Girl (Embassy Theatre), Christmas With The Rat Pack (national and international tour/London Palladium). Television credits include, Brothers With No Game.

Jessica Pardoe plays Chitty Chatty/Miss Pain/Scarlett. Her recent theatre credits include Paper Hearts (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Magic of The Musicals (Royal Albert Hall) and Twenty One (Chichester Festival Theatre).

Trevor A Toussaint returns to Theatre Royal Stratford East to play Daddy. He previously appeared in The Harder They Come and Aladdin. Other theatre credits include Fences (Duchess Theatre), 125th Street (Shaftesbury Theatre), Grace and the One Don (Arts Theatre), I Can Get It For You Wholesale (Arcola Theatre), Le Blancs (National Theatre), Palace in the Sky (Hackney Empire) and Lost in the Stars (Battersea Arts Centre). Television credits include, Death in Paradise, Sinister Ministers, Crisis Control, Obsession- Dark Desires and Marriage of Reason and Squalor. Film credits include London Fields, Life Sentence and Karma.

Sharon Wattis plays Mommy. Her recent theatre includes Love Me Tender (UK tour), The Kingmaker (St James Theatre), The Pajama Game (Shaftesbury Theatre), Hairspray (Leicester Curve), The Book of Mormon (Prince of Wales Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors (Broadway Theatre), The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre), and The Wizard of Oz (Birmingham Rep and West Yorkshire Playhouse).

Shelley Williams returns to Theatre Royal Stratford East to play Granny/Yolanda/Nilda and credits for the company include Take Away, and Wah! Wah! Girls. Other theatre credits include Up Against The Wall, (Bolton Octagon), Jack and The Beanstalk, (Barbican), Daddy Cool, (Shaftesbury Theatre) and Poison, Annowans Song (Tricycle Theatre). Film credits includes Ballast and Minds. Williams was also Associate Director of Sinbad The Sailor.

Josette Bushell-Mingo OBE is a Swedish-based English theatre actress and director of African descent. She is currently the Artistic Director for The Swedish National Touring Theatre Tyst Teater ensemble. Her production of The Odyssey, performed in Swedish Sign Language received huge critical acclaim in Scandinavia. In Britain she has previously directed Langston Hughes's classic Harlem musical Simply Heavenly at the Young Vic and West End, and The Wiz at West Yorkshire Playhouse. She was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award in 2000 for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Rafiki in the London production of The Lion King. In 2001, she founded a black-led arts festival called PUSH at the Young Vic. 

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