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From West Side Story to Peter Pan - musical stars set to return to Norwich for pantomime

13:39 12 September 2014

Charlotte Baptie as Peter Pan and Sinead Kenny as Tiger Lily for the Theatre Royal production. Photo: Bill Smith

Charlotte Baptie as Peter Pan and Sinead Kenny as Tiger Lily for the Theatre Royal production. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2014

From New York City’s Upper West Side to the magical world of Neverland - two members of the West Side Story cast currently at Norwich Theatre Royal are set to join the venue’s pantomime.

Charlotte Baptie as Peter Pan for the Theatre Royal production. Photo: Bill SmithCharlotte Baptie as Peter Pan for the Theatre Royal production. Photo: Bill Smith

Charlotte Baptie, who plays Rosalia in West Side Story, will take on the title role in Peter Pan this Christmas, while Sinead Kenny, who is Consuela in the American musical, will play both Tiger Lily and Mrs Darling.

Both said they have been having a great time performing in West Side Story in Norwich - the final stop on the musical’s tour - and they were looking forward to returning for the festive period.

“Being here in West Side Story has been amazing,” said Charlotte.

“This is our last venue and we’ve been touring for over a year, so it’s mixed emotions at the moment – we’re all tired from a long run but you become like a family on tour. Norwich is a lovely venue to finish on and it makes it a little less hard to leave when you know you are coming back again.”

Sinead Kenny as Tiger Lily for the Theatre Royal production of Peter Pan. Photo: Bill SmithSinead Kenny as Tiger Lily for the Theatre Royal production of Peter Pan. Photo: Bill Smith

Yesterday both Charlotte and Sinead took a brief break from their current roles and swapped the Big Apple for Neverland.

Charlotte said: “I’m really excited. I’ve done panto before but I’ve never got to play a ‘trouser role.’

“Obviously I get to do lots of flying too as Peter Pan and I’m really looking forward to learning how to do that. It’s going to be great fun.

“I hear Norwich has a great reputation for its pantomimes and it will be great to be a part of that.”

Sinead, who has previously performed in 9 to 5 at the Theatre Royal, said: “Getting the part of Tiger Lily has been a big surprise and I am really, really happy to be doing it. I think the character is a strong independent woman. She’s very sassy and feisty, not your standard Disney Princess who is looking for love, although she does fancy Peter Pan. But she is strong on her own terms and not scared of the pirates or Captain Hook, so it will be fun to act, and I hope I’ll get to do as much dancing and singing as possible in the role.”

Charlotte has an operatic background and her previous musical roles have included Phyllis in Iolanthe and Melissa in Princess Ida with the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company at Buxton Opera House.

Sinead is a musical theatre graduate, making her professional theatre debut in 9 to 5, and she also previously played Tiger Lily in a Peter Pan production in Poole.

About casting the two West Side Story performers for this year’s Christmas show, Mark Hazell, from Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “We and the audiences have been very impressed with the high standard of singing, dancing and acting from Charlotte and Sinead in West Side Story here. We’re delighted they are joining our panto cast after what must be one of the longest auditions in history, having been seen on our stage nightly over a two-week period.”

Ruth Betteridge, who played Cinderella in last year’s Theatre Royal pantomime, will also be returning to play Wendy.

The Peter Pan cast will also include Kevin Kennedy (who played Curly Watts in the TV show Coronation Street), CBeebies presenter Sid Sloane, Cromer Pier favourite Ben Langley and the theatre’s panto mainstay Richard Gauntlett.

• The Theatre Royal is looking for boys to play the roles of Michael and John Darling in Peter Pan and open auditions are being held at the theatre on Sunday, September 21. Those auditioning need to have a playing age of between six and 10. For more information visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

• Peter Pan is at Norwich Theatre Royal from December 18 to January 18. Tickets £5.50-£21. To book call the box office on 01603 630000 or visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

• Do you have Norwich theatre story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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