News: Casting for Nottingham Playhouse World Premiers musical Identical directed by Trevor Nunn

Meet the West End stars of tomorrow! 3 sets of twins who are starring in ‘Identical’, the new musical adaptation of Erich Kästner’s novel ‘The Parent Trap’ directed by Olivier & Tony award-winning director Trevor Nunn

After a five-year casting search and multiple auditions across the UK, three sets of talented identical twins are about to become Britain’s latest musical theatre stars.

They say you should never work with children or animals but this summer Olivier and Tony award-winning director Trevor Nunn will be doing both, with three sets of identical twins! Kyla and Nicole Fox, aged 12, from County Armagh, Northern Ireland, Emme and Eden Patrick, 12 from Waltham Abbey and Sienna and Savannah Robinson, 12 from Bromley, are the youngsters playing Lottie and Lisa in the world premiere of Identical, a new musical destined for the West End.

Identical is based on the novel ‘The Parent Trap’ by Erich Kästner, which inspired hugely successful Disney films featuring Hayley Mills in 1961 and Lindsay Lohan in 1998. 

It will open at Nottingham Playhouse 26 July – 14 August 2022, then transfer to Salford’s The Lowry 19 August – 3 September 2022. 

Future dates will be announced.

Identical tells the story of Lottie and Lisa, twin girls separated at birth, reunited by chance at a summer camp 10 years later. In an attempt to re-join their divorced parents, they decide to swap identities. 

It has Music and Lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, (the multi award-winning writers of the Olivier award-winnig National Theatre hit ‘Honk!’, who also created a new score for the international smash-hit Cameron Mackintosh/Disney production of ‘Mary Poppins’) with a Book by Stuart Paterson.

Identical is co-produced by Nottingham Playhouse and Kenny Wax Ltd (producer of  the new global musical phenomenon ‘SIX’ and the ‘Goes Wrong’ shows) and directed by Olivier and Tony award-winning Trevor Nunn (responsible for some of the greatest hits in the world, including ‘Les Miserables’, ‘Starlight Express’, ‘Cats’ and ‘Sunset Boulevard’). 

Producer Kenny Wax says: “Identical is a story about the reuniting of twins separated shortly after birth and the healing of a family which has been fractured. The narrative offers a powerful message for the world right now and under the directorial genius of Sir Trevor Nunn, I have no doubt that Identical will be regarded as one of the great musicals of its generation…..providing that we can consistently cast incredibly talented identical twins!”

Nottingham Playhouse’s Executive Director Stephanie Sirr commented: “We can’t wait to create this show. It’s particularly exciting to give kids from our community the chance to work alongside world class professionals and to take part in the premiere of a newly commissioned musical.”

Stiles and Drewe said: “It’s been a delight to adapt Erich Kästner’s hauntingly beautiful and timeless tale of two identical twins separated as babies, and their wily determination to stitch their family back together. It’s a story packed with wonderful humour and characters which makes it a great canvas to become a musical and retell for a 21st-century audience.” 

Director Trevor Nunn
Choreographer Matt Cole
Set Design Rob Jones
Costume Design Jonathan Lipman
Video Design Douglas O’Connell
Lighting Design Johanna Town
Sound Design Paul Gatehouse
Musical Supervisor Caroline Humphris 
Musical Director Tamara Saringer   
Orchestrator Tom Curran
Associate Director (with special responsibility for the children) Martha Geelan
Casting Director Anne Vosser
Children’s Casting and Administration Jo Hawes
Wig and Hair Designer Richard Mawbey
Production Manager Digby Robinson
General Management & Marketing Kenny Wax Ltd

Wellington Circus, 
Nottingham NG1 5AF

Tuesday 26 July – Sunday 14 August, 2022
evenings: at 7pm
matinees: at 2.30pm
Wednesday 10 August
Thursday 4 & 11 August
Saturday 30 July, 6 & 13 August
Sunday 31 July, 7 & 14 August
ACCESS performances 
Audio Described performance 
Thursday 4 August, 7 pm 
Saturday 6 August, 2:30 pm 

BSL interpreted performance 
Friday 5 August, 7 pm 

Captioned Performance 
Saturday 13 August, 2:30 pm

Press night: Tuesday 2 August at 7pm

Ticket prices: from £35.00 – £10.50

age guidance: 8+

Box office: 0115 941 9419

Nottingham Playhouse

Nottingham Playhouse is dedicated to making bold and thrilling theatre in the heart of Nottingham and was named Regional Theatre of the Year in The Stage Awards 2019. In 2021, both Chief Executive Stephanie Sirr and Artistic Director Adam Penford featured in The Stage’s 100 – as did Associate Artist James Graham. 

2020 to 2021 was Nottingham Playhouse’s most challenging time in its history. The theatre is a central part of cultural life in Nottingham and, despite the pandemic closing its doors, it proved its ability to adapt and thrive by creating new work and moving to digital platforms where in person audiences have not been possible. 

In 2020 its award-winning production of The Madness of George III was made available online through NT at Home and it produced its first piece of new digital theatre – an interactive Zoom play for children called Noah and the Peacock. Most recently, nearly 29,000 people, including children from 69 schools, watched its online pantomime Cinderella. It has continued its commitment to hiring local freelancers who have been hard-hit by the current crisis, through efforts to produce new work, highlighted in its Unlocked festival in autumn 2020, including the world premiere of Bubble by associate artist James Graham. This commitment continued through Spring Loaded in 2021, which included the highly-regarded new digital theatre project Still Life.

Last summer, the theatre reopened its doors with an acclaimed production of Pam Gems’ Piaf starring Jenna Russell in the title role. In the autumn, the first full season since the pandemic included Mark Gatiss’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol, which completely sold out and transferred to The Alexandra Palace Theatre for a six week run, and the legendary Nottingham Playhouse pantomime, which last year was Beauty and The Beast

Nottingham Playhouse believes that theatre should be accessible to everyone, even when its doors closed. Its Encore sessions created 2,240 engagements with over 50s in the past year and the Playhouse has continued to reach out to Nottingham’s communities, including those who are at risk of being isolated or marginalised. Its Amplify programme – which seeks to inspire and support theatre-makers from the East Midlands – also continued running with one-to-one sessions, panel discussions, open call outs and podcasts. 

Nottingham Playhouse Trust Ltd relies on ticket sales for 70% of its income, and continues to fundraise through its Curtain Up appeal. It is a registered charity (no. 1109342).

STILES AND DREWE are a multi award-winning musical theatre writing partnership. Their scores include the international smash-hit Cameron Mackintosh/Disney production of MARY POPPINS, the Olivier Award-winning HONK!, and the recent West End productions of HALF A SIXPENCE and THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS. Their other shows are SOHO CINDERS, BETTY BLUE EYES, TRAVELS WITH MY AUNT, PETER PAN – A MUSICAL ADVENTURE, GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS, THE THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF, THE THREE LITTLE PIGS, JUST SO and TUTANKHAMEN. Current projects include BECOMING NANCY, which premieres this autumn at the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta ahead of Broadway. They recognise new musical theatre writing via the annual Stiles and Drewe Prize for Best New Song, now in its 13th year, and their Mentorship Award supported by Music Theatre International (Europe). 

STUART PATERSON is a Scottish playwright with a significant and wide-ranging body of work. He has had particular success as a family theatre writer with titles including THE JUNGLE BOOK, CINDERELLA, PETER PAN and MERLIN THE MAGNIFICENT which were first produced at The Glasgow Citizens Theatre, The Edinburgh Lyceum Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre and have since been staged throughout the UK and worldwide, most recently in the USA, Finland, Holland, Sweden and by Den Nationale Scene in Norway, and by Theater Der Jugend in Vienna. His versions of HANSEL & GRETEL and Michael 
Morpurgo’s KENSUKE’S KINGDOM were both nominated for the TMA Best Children’s Production of the Year Award. 

TREVOR NUNN was the Artistic Director of the RSC for 18 years, directing much of the Shakespeare canon (including Macbeth with Ian McKellen and Judi Dench) and new works including Nicholas Nickleby and Les Miserables (now the longest running musical in the world).  He was later Director of the National Theatre, where award-winning productions included The Merchant of Venice, Summerfolk, Oklahoma! and A Streetcar Named Desire.  He has directed the world premieres of Tom Stoppard’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia Trilogy and Rock n Roll; and of Cats, Starlight Express, Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard and The Woman in White by Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Other West End theatre includes Hamlet, Richard II, Inherit the Wind and Kiss Me Kate (Old Vic), A Little Night Music, Flare Path, The Tempest, Love in Idleness, The Bridges of Madison County and most recently Fiddler on the Roof.  Work for television includes Antony and Cleopatra (BAFTA Award), The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, Three Sisters, Othello, King Lear and The Merchant of Venice, as well as Porgy and Bess, and the Emmy Award winning Oklahoma!  He also directed the films Hedda (Oscar nominated for Best Actress), Lady Jane, Twelfth Night, Red Joan and Pale Sister.  With his 2016 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, he has now directed all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays.

KENNY WAX  has just finished a three-and-a-half-year term as President of the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) – the trade organisation for the West End Theatre industry – a role he has fulfilled while running his own successful production company for the past 25 years. He is one of the most prolific of a younger generation of producers and during the Christmas of 2019 he had five productions running concurrently in the West End. 

Notable productions include his 2013 world première of Top Hat, which won three Olivier Awards including ‘Best New Musical’. In 1995 he produced Once on This Island, which also won the same award. In 2020, his production of The Worst Witch won the Laurence Olivier Award for ‘Best Family Show’ and his production of Julia Donaldson’s much-loved book What the Ladybird Heard was nominated in the same category for this year’s ceremony.  

Kenny is renowned for producing some of the best family theatre both in the West End and on tour. Productions include We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Oi Frog & Friends! (touring the UK in 2022) and the Olivier Award nominated stage adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson’s Hetty Feather. Kenny has also collaborated with New Vic Theatre Stoke, to produce the beautiful 80 Days Around The World and soon to be on stage, Tom, Dick & Harry – telling the story of the Great Escape.  

His current success is SIX which, at the time of the lockdown, had run for four sold out weeks on Broadway prior to its official opening night and was enjoying sold out runs in the West End and on a UK tour. It was running on two cruise ships and was about to reopen in Chicago. He is thrilled that the show has reopened in the West End and, after a long wait, SIX finally opened on Broadway in September 2021. Soon the show will begin two tours across America, with an international tour also in the works.  

Kenny has so far produced six shows with Mischief Theatre: including The Play That Goes Wrong (winner of the Olivier Award for ‘Best New Comedy’), which reopened in the West End at the Duchess Theatre last summer and will be touring the UK from April; Peter Pan Goes Wrong has played the West End twice; The Comedy About A Bank Robbery ran for nearly four years at the Criterion Theatre; Mischief Movie Night gained Mischief their fourth consecutive Olivier nomination and was streamed for the first time all over the world in December 2020; Groan Ups played at the Vaudeville in autumn 2019 and then toured the UK until Spring 2022; Magic Goes Wrong was made in collaboration with notorious magicians Penn & Teller and is currently touring the UK after a wonderful run at the Apollo Theatre. Recently, Kenny set up Mischief Screen with Mischief Theatre, having been the Executive Producer of two Christmas television specials on BBC 1: Peter Pan Goes Wrong and A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong. In Spring 2020, Mischief hit the airwaves again with a comedy series commissioned by BBC1, The Goes Wrong Show, now available on DVD and to stream. The second series aired in the autumn and is available on iPlayer. 

The new pop musical Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World, based on the book of the same name by Kate Pankhurst, will be touring the UK in Spring 2022 prior to a summer season at Theatre Royal Stratford East from 15 June. 

ERICH KÄSTNER (23 February 1899 – 29 July 1974) was a German author, poet, screenwriter and satirist. He was a pacifist who wrote for children because he believed in empowering them. He was interrogated by the Gestapo several times during the war and under the personal instruction of Joseph Goebbels, the Nazis burned his books as ‘contrary to the German spirit’ in May 1933 – an act of vandalism which he watched first hand. He is perhaps best known for his children’s books  Emil and the Detectives which sold two million copies in Germany alone as well as being translated into 59 languages and Lottie and Lisa (now published under the title The Parent Trap). He received the international Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1960 for his autobiography Als ich ein kleiner Junge war which started with a lament for Dresden, the city where he was born and which was totally destroyed by the allied bombings. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times. 

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