Gurinder Chadha’s hit film Bend It Like Beckham is being readied for the West End stage and following a host of auditions and workshops, the cast for the highly anticipated stage version Bend It Like Beckham the Musical has been formally announced.
Natalie Dew will play football crazy Jess with Lauren Samuels as Jules, a player with the Harriers, a local women’s football team, and Jamie Campbell Bower as their coach Joe. The three young leads will be supported by some familiar faces, including comedian Ronni Ancona who plays Paula, Jules’s Mum, with Jamal Andréas as Jess’ good friend Tony.
Preeya Kalidas who appeared in the original film as one of the cousins, will take on the role of Pinky, Jess’ sister and Tony Jayawardena and Natasha Jayetileke take on the all important roles of her parents, Mr and Mrs Bhamra.
Jess needs extra time. She is facing the most important decision of her life: live up to family expectations of university, career and marriage, or follow in the footsteps of her hero David Beckham. When the talented teenager is spotted playing football in Southall, a world of unexpected opportunities opens up before her. But as her sister’s traditional Indian wedding approaches, can she keep her family happy and still follow her dreams? Bend It Like Beckham is a joyous new British musical about where we are now. Featuring an original score with a Punjabi kick, it brings a unique cultural fusion of musical theatre to the stage for the first time. This reimagining of the much-loved hit film sees generations, cultures and communities brought together in this joyous and uplifting story about bending the rules and scoring that deciding goal.
Opening at the Phoenix Theatre on 24 June 2015, London previews for Bend It Like Beckham begin on 15 May 2015.
Directed by Gurinder Chadha, with original music by Howard Goodall and lyrics by Charles Hart, Bend It Like Beckham has a new book by Paul Mayeda Berges and Gurinder Chadha; choreography and musical staging by Aletta Collins; set design by Miriam Buether; costume design by Katrina Lindsay; lighting design by Neil Austin; sound design by Richard Brooker; musical direction by Nigel Lilley and orchestrations by Howard Goodall and legendary musical maestro Kuljit Bhamra. Bend It Like Beckham is produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions and Deepak Nayar Productions.
Sohm Kapila, Buckso Dhillon-Woolley and Harveen Mann play Aunties, Irvine Iqbal and Karl Seth play Uncles, with Sejal Keshwala, Serina Mathew and Sharan Phull as Cousins. Rakesh Boury, Jorell Coiffic-Kamall, Tom Millen, Daniel Bolton play footballers, with Teetu played by Raj Bajaj. The Harriers are played by Michelle Bishop, Lisa Bridge, Chloe Chambers, Genesis Lynea, Kirstie Skivington and Danielle Young. Rekha Sawhney and Shahid Khan are the production’s Indian Heritage Singers. They are accompanied by swings including Kayleigh McKnight.
Natalie Dew’s (Jess) theatre credits include The Internet is a Serious Business and Rough Cut for the Royal Court, Olivia in Twelfth Night for Liverpool Everyman Theatre, Fault Lines for Hampstead Theatre, Arab Nights for Soho Theatre, Ophelia in Hamlet for Northern Broadsides, Romeo and Juliet for the National Theatre, As You Like It for the Curve Leicester, Hansel and Gretel at the Barbican and Viola in Twelfth Night for Regents Park Theatre. On television her credits include Lewis, Gavin and Stacey and Monster.
Lauren Samuels (Jules) was a finalist in the BBC’s Over the Rainbow. She made her professional stage debut as Wendy in Peter Pan A Musical! at Leicester Curve, and has subsequently played Sandy in Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre and Scaramouche in We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre. Her other theatre credits include Love Story for Bolton Octagon, Water Babies also for Leicester Curve, Travels with My Aunt for Chichester Festival Theatre and she played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz internationally.
Jamie Campbell Bower (Joe) will make his West End stage debut in Bend It Like Beckham. On film his credits include Anthony Hope in Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the young Gellert Grindwald in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I and II, Caius in the film trilogy the Twilight Saga: New Moon and Breaking Dawn- Part I and Part II, the Young Edward de Vere in Anonymous, Jace Wayland in The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones as well as roles in RocknRolla and Winter in War Time. His television credits include The Prisoner and Camelot when he played the central role of King Arthur.
Ronni Ancona (Paula) made her London stage debut in Adam Cooper’s Singin’ in The Rain at Sadler’s Wells Theatre and was most recently seen at the Almeida Theatre in Alecky Blythe’s Little Revolution. She is best known for her extensive television work alongside Alistair McGowan in the BAFTA winning series The Big Impression, for which she won a British Comedy Award and the Variety Club Award and spawned many specials such as Sven and Nancy’s Big Impression and Posh and Becks’ Big Impression. She has worked extensively in drama as well as comedy and her many television credits include: The Trip, Last Tango In Halifax, Gideon’s Daughter, Skins, Hope Springs, Ronni Ancona & Co,. QI, Have I Got News For You, Midsomer Murders, The Key, Rory Bremner – Who Else?, and The Sketch Show which also won her a BAFTA. Her film work includes Penelope, Tristam Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, The Roundabout, Stella Street – The Movie, The Calcium Kid and The Debt Collector.
Jamal Andréas (Tony) has previously been seen on stage in Ragtime and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Open Air Theatre and on tour in Hairspray.
Preeya Kalidas (Pinky) is best known for playing the role of Amira Masood in BBC 1’s Eastenders. Her other television credits include Bollywood Carmen, Casualty, Mistresses, Bodies, Hotel Babylon, Banglatown Banquet and Doctors. Her many film credits include Four Lions, It’s a Wonderful Afterlife, Bend it Like Beckham, Bollywood Queen, East is East, Jump Boy, Sari and Trainers and The Fiancée. Her theatre credits include the role of Priya in Bombay Dreams at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and the narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Adelphi Theatre.
Natasha Jayetileke’s (Mrs Bhamra) theatre credits include Wah! Wah! Girls at the Peacock Theatre, The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre, Eurobeat at the Novello and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the New London Theatre. She created the role of Draupadi in Mahabharata at Sadler’s Wells. Her other theatre credits include Take Away for Theatre Royal Stratford East, Britain’s Got Bhangra on tour and The Snow Queen at Nuffield Theatre. On television her credits include Beyond Boundaries, Hollyoaks and Hustle and she was directed by Gurinder Chadha on film in Mistress of Spices.
Tony Jayawardena’s (Mr Bhamra) theatre credits include London Assurance, All’s Well That Ends Well and England People Very Nice all for the National Theatre, The White Devil and Twelfth Night for the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Wind in the Willows for West Yorkshire Playhouse, Great Expectations for English Touring Theatre, Wah! Wah! Girls for Sadler’s Wells, Cinderella for the Theatre Royal Stratford East and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe at Northampton. On television his credits include Strikeback, Cuckoo, Pete vs Life, Silent Witness, Moses Jones, Trial and Retribution, Blair, Doctors, Hotel Babylon and Holby City. His film credits include The Cook, Trance, The Wedding Video, The Massive, Huge and Chasing Liberty.
On film, the British comedy drama Bend It Like Beckham starred Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anupam Kher, Shaznay Lewis and Archie Panjabi, and was released in 2002, directed by Gurinder Chadha and written by Gurinder Chadha, Guljit Bindra and Paul Mayeda Berges. Following the international release of Bend It Like Beckham the film, produced by Deepak Nayar and Gurinder Chadha, went on to win multiple awards worldwide.