Gareth Gates heads to Norwich in Les Mis

Sam EmanuelMulti-million selling pop star Gareth Gates, who became a West End success in Joseph, is to star in the world tour of Les Mis�rables which reaches Norwich Theatre Royal next year.Sam Emanuel

Multi-million-selling pop star Gareth Gates, who became a West End success in Joseph, is to star in the world tour of Les Mis�rables which reaches Norwich Theatre Royal next year.

Gates, 24, will play Marius in the brand new 25th anniversary production of the world's longest-running musical, which comes to Norwich from February 16 to March 10.

The singer shot to fame in 2002 in the first series of Pop Idol. Despite finishing runner-up to Will Young, he was signed by Simon Cowell's BMG label and went on to become a top-selling artist whose version of Unchained Melody is still the second- best-selling single of this decade.

Gates also proved he could cut it on the West End stage in the title role of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, as well as showing off his athleticism by reaching the semi-finals of Dancing on Ice.

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He is one of three performers confirmed for the cast of the show. The lead role of Jean Valjean will be played by Broadway and West End star John Owen Jones, who was recently hailed by the New York Post as the best actor to play the role in many years.

Earl Carpenter has also been signed to play the part of Javert following on from his acclaimed performances in the same role in the West End.

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He is no stranger to leading roles in the West End, having played the devilish Daryl Van Horn in The Witches of Eastwick.

John Bultitude, of Norwich Theatre Royal, said: "We are really excited to welcome Gareth Gates to the theatre to the first time. He has gained wide acclaim for his role as Joseph and his on-stage ability must have impressed Cameron Mackintosh, allowing him to win a part in such a major tour.

"He will also be appearing opposite two fantastic West End performers and the news of the latest casting will help to encourage even more people to come to Norwich to experience a true theatrical event.

"We are delighted that Norwich is really being put on the map as one of the key UK venues for such a highly anticipated tour of such a lavish musical."

About 13,000 seats have already been sold for the show's visit to the city. As well as bookings from across East Anglia, theatre staff have also had inquiries from people from London and Kent.

The theatre will be hosting the tour alongside some of the country's biggest venues including Cardiff's Millennium Centre, Manchester's historic Palace Theatre, Birmingham Hippodrome and the Edinburgh Playhouse before the show heads abroad, starting with performances at Paris's Chatelet Theatre in late May 2010.

The musical has already been seen by over 56 million people worldwide in 42 different countries and performed in 21 languages. The magnificent score includes the songs I Dreamed A Dream, On My Own, Bring Him Home and Do You Hear The People Sing.

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