Theatre Royal Stratford East and producer Arvind Ethan David have announced casting for The Infidel – The Musical. Based on the hit comedy film, The Infidel, the show is to feature book and lyrics by David Baddiel and music by Erran Baron Cohen. The show will be co-directed by David Baddiel and Theatre Royal Stratford East’s Artistic Director, Kerry Michael and run from Friday 3rd October to Sunday 2nd November 2014.
The Infidel – The Musical is an original stage musical-comedy that follows in the custom of such subversive musicals as The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q and Spamalot. The show tells the story of an ordinary British Muslim man, Mahmoud, played by ArmenianKev Orkian who finds out that not only is he adopted, but that his birth parents were Jewish. The subsequent cultural and religious chaos leads to a hilarious and insightful comedy of identity, race, prejudice and confusion.
David Baddiel commented: “Despite being released in 43 countries, The Infidel movie, with its message of tolerance through comedy, seems not completely to have fixed Muslim-Jewish relations. Luckily The Infidel – The Musical, with its terrific cast, is set to have another go: this time in song.”
Kerry Michael, Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East said: “We are all really excited to be working with David and Erran on this very funny and warm hearted show. It’s another new British musical, a genre we have been passionate in developing for many years. This show has an exciting original new voice and some great tunes I guarantee you’d be humming on the way out.”
Kev Orkian will star as the show’s hero, the Muslim Homer Simpson, Mahmoud Nassir. Kev is an award-winning stand-up comedian & musician. He has performed to audiences around the world, working alongside artists including Lionel Richie, Dame Edna Everage and Matt Lucas. The Infidel celebrates Kev’s return to the musical theatre stage, where his West End credits include Fame, Happy Days andBoogie Nights. In 2010 he reached the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent, captivating audiences with his trademark routine – Elton John’s I’m Still Standing.
Mina Anwar will star as Mahmoud’s long-suffering wife,Saamiyah. Mina began her career with the BBC’s The Thin Blue Line. Many roles have followed since then, including:Scott and Bailey, Moving On, In The Club, Remember Me, Happy Valley, Rocket’s Island,The Slammer, The Wright Way, House of Anubis, A Passionate Woman, Scoop,The Sarah Jane Adventures, The Invisibles, Shameless, Love Soup, Coronation Street, Mayo, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Best Friends, Doctors and Nurses, The Bill, Doctors and Casualty. Mina also starred in the film adaptation ofThe Infidel and has performed in a range of theatre productions nationally.
Melanie Marshall will play the role of Muna, the Nassirs’ Burka clad and celebrity gossip obsessed best friend. Melanie has attained critical acclaim for her work as both an actress and vocalist. Her recent credits include: FELA! (National Theatre, New York & World Tour), Hot Mikado (Watermill Theatre, UK Tour), Porgy and Bess (Savoy Theatre) and Fame (Aldwych Theatre). She recently featured as a vocalist for the Monty Python Reunion Concerts (O2 & National Theatre’s 50th Anniversary) and has also appeared as a Guest Vocal Soloist with both The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Halle Orchestra. Her TV and Film credits include: Wide Sargasso Sea (Kudos), Casualty and Songs of Praise.
Andrew Paul will play Mahmoud’s nemesis, Jewish Black-Cab driver,Lenny. Andrew is best known for his role in The Bill as P.C Dave Quinnan appearing on the show for a marathon 15 years and becoming a popular household name. Additional television credits include Billy Boothe in Where the Heart Is (ITV) and Inspector Salinger in Dracula (NBC/Sky).
Melanie Masson will play the role of Mrs. Keyes, the local government functionary with the secret of Mahmoud’s past. Melanie is known for her powerhouse performances on ITV’s X Factor and has gained critical-acclaim for both her acting and musical talents. She has toured with artists including The Stereophonics, Pink, Norman Cook, Kasabian, Mike Batt and Don Black and was recently nominated for a Capital FM best newcomer award. Her theatre credits include Peggy Sue Got Married (The Shaftesbury Theatre), Jailhouse Rock (The Piccadilly Theatre), What a Feeling (National Tour) and her own sell out show at the Edinburgh Festival.
Stewart Scudamore will play the Islamic fundamentalist cleric, Arshad. Stewart, who also appeared in the originalInfidel movie, has had a prolific film, television and stage career. His film credits include:Kick Ass 2, The Devil’s Double, Generation Kill and Die Another Day. His theatre credits include: The Match (National Theatre), The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre), The Far Pavilions (West End), Dreams from a Summerhouse (The Watermill, West Berkshire Playhouse) and On The Road To Baghdad (Sadler’s Wells).
Steven Serlin will play the Rabbi. Earlie in 2014, Steven was part of the cast of I Can’t Sing at the London Palladium. Other theatre credits include: Sleeping Arrangements (Landor Theatre), Mack and Mabel (Southwark Playhouse), Monkee Business, Tap Fever, Our House, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Elvis the Musical, (UK Tour), Company (Southwark Playhouse), Imagine This (West End and Plymouth Theatre Royal),Chess In Concert (Royal Albert Hall), Desperately Seeking Susan, Sir Peter Hall’s Piaf, Grease (West End), Saturday Night Fever (West End and National Tour) and Boogie Nights (West End and Tour).
Cast will also include: Siobhan Athwal, as Mahmoud’s daughter-in-law, Ji-Ji. Siobhan trained at the The BRIT School and Arts Ed London School Of Musical Theatre. Her theatre credits include:Viva Forever (Piccadilly Theatre) and Rent (Dayle James Productions). She has also appeared on EastEnders.
Gary Wood, as Mahmoud’s son, Rashid. Gary recently appeared in Wicked (Apollo Victoria). Other theatre credits include: 42nd Street (Chichester Festival Theatre), Hello, Dolly!, The King and I (Leicester Curve), Rent (Greenwich), A Chorus Line (Palladium) and Ace of Clubs (Union Theatre).
The Infidel – The Musical will run from Friday 3 October to Sunday 2 November. Performances Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm. Matinees from 18 October on Wednesdays at 2pm, Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm (there are no matinee performances first two weeks of the run 3 to 17 October)
Tickets start from £7 to £24, with concessions available for all performances. Group discount available: 10 for 9 (full price seats only). To book tickets call the Box Office on 020 8534 0310, visitwww.stratfordeast.com or book in person at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN.
CAST: Mina Anwar – Saamiyah, Siobhan Athwal – Ji-Ji, Melanie Marshall – Muna, Melanie Masson – Mrs Keyes, Kev Orkian – Mahmoud, Andrew Paul – Lenny, Gary Wood – Rasheed, Stewart Scudamore – Arshad, Steven Serlin – Rabbi
Co-Director, Writer, Book & Lyrics, David Baddiel
Composer Erran Baron Cohen
Additional Material Arvind Ethan David
Directed by David Baddiel and Kerry Michael
Musical Supervisor Mike Dixon
Set & Costume Designer Nick Barnes
Lighting Designer Philip Gladwell
Choreographer Liam Steel
Sound Designer Ed Clarke
Assistant Director Pooja Ghai
David Baddiel is one of Britain’s most eminent post-alternative comedians and is responsible for some of the most memorable and ground-breaking comedy achievements of the last twenty years. In 1992, he performed to 12,500 people with Rob Newman in the UK’s first ever arena comedy show and was credited as turning comedy into “The New Rock’n’Roll” long before arena comedy gigs became commonplace. This was followed by numerous hit TV shows includingThe Mary Whitehouse Experience, Newman and Baddiel in Pieces; Baddiel & Skinner Unplanned and Fantasy Football. Last year, David returned to stand-up after 15 years away with his critically-acclaimed showFame: Not The Musical.
David wrote and co-produced the original The Infidel film, and is making his musical theatre writing and directing debut with the musical adaptation.
Composer Erran Baron Cohen is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer. Erran studied music at London University Goldsmiths College and at the Guildhall School of Music. He has composed and produced music in a wide variety of genres including film and television scores, most notably to the blockbuster comedy movies Borat, Brunoand The Dictator.
Erran has received three ASCAP Composer Awards for his scores to Borat andBruno. Following the release of Borat, the Kazakhstan Philharmonic commissioned him to compose a symphony. The subsequent work Zere scored for a 70 piece orchestra was performed in London and Kazakhstan, and recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios.
Erran has scored numerous television documentaries, adverts, drama, idents, and theme tunes. He has a special interest in ethnic music as well as electronic, dance and classical influences. He also often composes songs for the movies he has scored including the final “epic” song Dove of Peace from Bruno, which was performed by Elton John, Bono, Sting, Chris Martin, Snoop Dogg and Slash.
Arvind Ethan David, Producer & Writer of Additional Material
Arvind is a producer of films, television and theatre. His producing credits include five feature films, including the original feature version ofThe Infidel. In addition to The Infidel – the Musical, he is currently producing feature films with Lionsgate, BBC Films, and television series with ITV Studios, PBS and HBO. Arvind is also currently working with multiple Grammy winner Alanis Morissette on a Broadway show based on her seminal album Jagged Little Pill.
As a writer Arvind’s play Dirk (based on the Douglas Adams novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency) resulted in a life-time grant of rights by the Adams’ estate, 3 LA Weekly Awards in 2007 and more than 20 productions globally.
Kerry Michael, Co-Director of The Infidel – The Musical and Artistic Director, Theatre Royal Stratford East
Kerry was appointed the Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Theatre Royal Stratford East in September 2004. Since then, he has upheld the theatre’s commitment to develop new work and to provide a platform for those voices underrepresented in the ever-changing communities of East London.
In 2007, Theatre Royal Stratford East was nominated for an Olivier Award for ‘presenting a powerful season of provocative work that reaches new audiences’. Its hip-hop dance productionPied Piper won an Olivier Award the same year. The following year, Kerry’s production ofCinderella was nominated for an Olivier Award, it was the first pantomime nominated in the award’s history. Kerry’s most recent directing credits includeDick Whittington, Tanika Gupta’s Love N Stuff, I Was Looking At The Ceiling And Then I Saw The Sky, a co-production with the Barbican Centre,The Great Extension in 2009, The Harder They Come, which obtained wide critical acclaim, transferring to the Barbican and the Playhouse Theatre in the West End before going on a very successful tour of Canada and the US, Ray Davies’Come Dancing and the world premiere of Takeaway the first British Chinese musical.
ABOUT THE INFIDEL FILM:
The Infidel was first released globally as a feature film in 2010. Written byDavid Baddiel, Directed by Josh Appiganesi and Produced by Arvind Ethan David, the film starredOmid Djalili as Mahmoud, Archie Panjabi as Saamiyah, Miranda Hart as Mrs. Keyes;Matt Lucas as the Rabbi, and Richard Schiff as Lenny. The film is being reissued by Lionsgate UK to coincide with the musical’s release.
Tuesday 22nd July 2014