It was announced this week that Cat Simmons will take over the role of Nancy from the Les Miserables-bound Samantha Barks in Cameron Mackintosh's new production of Lionel Bart's smash hit musical OLIVER! at Birmingham Hippodrome on Tuesday 3 April, the same day that Brian Conley takes over the role of Fagin from Neil Morrissey.
Neil Morrissey and Samantha Barks will play the roles of Fagin and Nancy from Tuesday 13 March – Sunday 1 April. Samantha Barks will head straight from OLIVER! to start filming the forthcoming Les Misérables film, which has already begun production with scenes being shot in both England and France.
trained at the Arts Educational school for a year before entering "I'd Do Anything", the BBC search for the new 'Nancy' in Cameron Mackintosh
's "Oliver!" where she finished in the top three. Following "I'd Do Anything" she took part in the workshop for Andrew Lloyd Webber
's "Love Never Dies".
Samantha made her stage debut as 'Sally Bowles' in the national tour of "Cabaret", before taking the classic role of 'Aladdin' in "Aladdin" at the Theatre Royal Windsor. Last year Samantha made her West End debut in the role of 'Eponine' in "Les Misérables", and played the role again in the "Les Misérables 25th Anniversary Concert" at The O2. Television credits include the lead role of 'Zoe' in the Disney TV series "Groove High".
Les Miserables originally opened in London at the Barbican Theatre
on 8 October 1985, transferred to the Palace Theatre on 4 December 1985 and moved to its current home at the Queen's Theatre
on 3 April 2004. When LES MISÉRABLES celebrated its 21st London birthday on 8 October 2006, it became the World's Longest Running Musical, surpassing the record previously held by "Cats" in London's West End. In January 2010, the West End production broke another record by celebrating its historic 10,000th performance.
The film, under the direction of Tom Hooper will star Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Javert, Sacha Baron Cohen as Thernardier, Eddie Redmayne as Marius, Aaron Tveit as Enjolras, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, Samantha Barks as Eponine, Anne Hathaway as Fantine and Helena Bonham Carter as Madame Thenardier. Original stage stars Colm Wilkinson, Frances Ruffelle and others will appear as well.
LES MISÉRABLES is slated for a December 7, 2012 release.
Photo: Samantha Barks (Eponine) backstage after the curtain call of LES MISERABLES at the Queen's Theatre, London, Britain - 21 Jun 2010 Photo by Dan Wooller/Rex