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Entourage’s CJ de Mooi on Zanna Don’t…

Zanna Don't at the Landor TheatreZanna, Don’t! is a hilarious high school musical written by Tim Acito. It is staged at the Landor Theatre as the first show presented by Entourage Productions Ltd.

At Heartsville High, everyone is gay… well, almost everyone! The students write a controversial show called ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ about straight people in the military, which encourages a young man and woman to acknowledge their true feelings and fall in love. It’s down to Zanna, a magical, musical fairy to wave his wand and bring happiness to all!

The production of Zanna, Don’t! will star David Ribi (Hairspray and Dreamboats and Petticoats) in the title role of Zanna.  Ceris Hine (Ushers) as Kate with Jennifer Saayeng (Colour Purple and Ghost) as Roberta.

The Zanna, Don’t! cast also includes: Jonathan Dudley (Titanic and Scrooge) as Mike,  Liam Christopher Lloyd (Damn Yankees) as Steve,  Carol Heffernan as Candi,  Jonathan Wooldridge as Arvin,  Thomas Wright and Georgia Phillips as featured ensemble.  With Ben Sell as Tank, and Zanna at certain performances.

Earlier today CJ de Mooi answered a few questions about Entourage Productions, Zanna Don’t and also gave a world exclusive!

This year you have created Entourage Productions with Drew Baker. What inspired Drew and yourself to form this new theatre company?
We wanted to be able to bring some more unusual and challenging pieces to the London stage. As several of the projects we had in mind wouldn’t be considered commercially viable, a lot of other companies might avoid them. However, we wanted to give shows, writers and performers a chance.  I know that it’s showbusiness and most creatives rightly have to concentrate on the second part of that word. For Entourage, the first part is more important!

CJ de Mooi from Entourage ProductionsWhat can you tell us about Entourage Productions and its aims and philosophy?
Our core promise is that every single one of our shows will involve at least one cast and one crew member who has never had any professional work. The UK has an unbelievable pool of talent to dip into and the tragedy is that most of it will never get seen. It is of course tempting to select proven performers but I personally think that a little unfair. Everyone deserves at least a chance and at Entourage, we will do at least something to try and provide it. We promise to be open and professional, answer enquiries quickly and just be an amiable and open company. Just because we’re in competition doesn’t mean we can’t be friends too does it?

Entourage’s production of Zanna Don’t starring David Ribi, opens at the Landor Theatre, booking from 3rd to 29th  June  2014. What can you tell us about the show?
This is a fantastic and funny show. Imagine a gay high school musical and you won’t go far wrong. The writer Tim Acito describes it as a Musical Fairy Tale! Set in Heartsville High where almost all the students are gay, a boy and girl dare to fall in love! Zanna waves his magic wand (careful now!) to help everyone find their heart’s desire but what about him…?

You are producing Zanna Don’t. From actor to producer, how difficult is the transition?
Acting will always remain my true passion but I just love theatre in all its glorious forms! Producing is very difficult but ultimately so rewarding. I’ve tried doing both of course – with Geek! last year I took a role and produced and it nearly killed me. From now on it’s one or the other but I think with the amazing team we’re building (Jamie Chapman Dixon, Rosanna Woods to name but two) within Entourage, I know we can do it. I am a bit of a control freak but have no ego in such things and would never presume to involve myself in areas I don’t understand. A successful production company depends on professional teamwork and trust. That’s what we have. It was an easy decision to work with Drew Baker though. He will be the resident director as with his string of incredible credits, who wouldn’t want to work alongside and learn from him? I could never direct but I trust his skill and attitude completely. That’s what makes Entourage so strong!

There is a lot to see in London at the moment, why should everyone get along to see Zanna Don’t?
This will be the campest, most colourful and high energy show in London. We have an amazing set and have been lucky enough to get one of the country’s top costume designers in to create the more than 50 outfits needed! It is simply a joyous show with some incredible music from high octane numbers dripping with jazz hands to what I think is one of the best ballads ever, I Could Write Books.

Zanna Don’t is on for a short run. What else is planned for Entourage Productions and yourself during 2014 and beyond?
Time for a world exclusive! Entourage is delighted to announce that our next show will be a full professional production of Thoroughly Modern Millie! We will be staging this classic and hugely popular show at Camden’s Theatro Technis 29th September to 25th October. I can’t tell you how happy we are to have been able to secure the rights to Millie but this is going to be a spectacular show which will leave the audiences tap tap tapping away! We may even find time to put on a play in late August.
However, we have something absolutely huge planned for January 2015 (and I do mean huge!) which should get a lot of people very excited!

Zanna, Don’t! is staged at the Landor Theatre 3rd to 29th June 2014 and is proudly presented by Entourage Productions.

For more information visit:
Twitter: @zannalondon

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  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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