Pop Idol star Gareth is all set to rock at Lowestoft’s Marina Theatre

A TOP musical starring a former Pop Idol favourite is set to shake the stage in Lowestoft next year.

Fresh from a sell-out tour of European arenas, the international smash hit production of the 1960s rock musical Hair will roll into the Marina Theatre in June for its East Anglian premiere.

Boasting a cast that includes Gareth Gates, Zoe Birkett and Amy Diamond and featuring classic songs such as Aquarius, Let the Sunshine In, I Got Life and the title track Hair, it will play eight shows in a six-day run.

The delighted management team at the Marina this week hailed the announcement which is the second major coup for the venue as it prepares to move into a new charitable trust next Thursday.

It comes only weeks after the Marina revealed that it had signed up the West End hit Dreamboats and Petticoats for a week in February.

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As part of its first ever UK tour, Hair will open at the Liverpool Empire Theatre in April and will then visit major cities ahead of its Lowestoft date – the only venue it will play in East Anglia.

The show tells the story of a group of young people in New York City's East Village who band together as a tribe, fighting for peace, love and freedom.

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Capturing the mood and movement of the times, it is billed by some critics as the original rock musical and is said to boast 'one of the most thrilling soundtracks ever written'.

Fresh from his critically-acclaimed appearance as Marius in Les Mis�rables in the West End and on the production's sell-out 25th anniversary tour, Gareth Gates takes on the leading role of Claude.

He captured the nation's heart in 2002 when, aged just 17, he was the runner-up to Will Young on the first series of Pop Idol. Since then he has gone on to sell more than 3.5m records, picked up many awards and appeared in musical productions including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, as well as ITV1's Dancing on Ice.

Starring alongside him as Dionne will be fellow Pop Idol finalist Zoe Birkett, recently seen in the West End in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Thriller Live and Respect La Diva. As well as being a chart-topping pop singer, the multi-talented performer is an accomplished actress, dancer and presenter.

The cast will also include BBC1's Over the Rainbow finalist Amy Diamond in the role of Sheila.

Directed and choreographed by Gary Lloyd, the award-winning director of West End hit Thriller Live, Hair is being billed as 'an unforgettable ground-breaking spectacular for all generations'.

Last month, The Journal revealed The Marina had secured the West End hit Dreamboats and Petticoats and more major events for the year ahead are set to be revealed in coming weeks.

Hair will run at the Marina Theatre from Monday, June 25 to Saturday, June 30, nightly at 7.30pm with matinees at 2.30pm on Wednesday and Saturday. To book seats, call the box office on 01502 533200.

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