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Full casting announced for ONLY THE BRAVE at Wales Millennium Centre

Caroline Sheen & David Thaxton – credit Shaun Webb
Caroline Sheen & David Thaxton – credit Shaun Webb

Emilie Fleming will join the previously announced David Thaxton, Caroline Sheen and Neil McDermott to head the cast of the new British musical, ONLY THE BRAVE, premiering at the Wales Millennium Centre from 28th March to 2nd April 2016. Based on the real lives of men and women caught up in the D-Day landings, this new production will be directed by Steve Marmion, Artistic Director of London’s Soho Theatre. It will be Wales Millennium Centre’s first production of a full-scale, original musical.

Emilie Fleming starred as Cosette in Les Misérables last year at the Queen’s Theatre in London’s West End. Before that, she appeared in Daniel Evans’s production of Oliver! at Sheffield Theatres.

Also in the cast will be Graham MacDuff (Spamalot, Carousel, Guys and Dolls, Chicago, Miss Saigon, London’s West End), David Albury (Love Story at Union Theatre, Porgy & Bess at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, national tour of The Lion King), Karl Anthony Queensborough (Prince Charming in Cinderella at Lyric Hammersmith, A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes at the Tricycle Theatre), Helen Hobson (Bakkhai at the Almeida, Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre, Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Donna in Mamma Mia! at the Prince of Wales and Novello Theatres), Nikki Mae (Mamma Mia! at Novello Theatre, national tours of High School Musical 2 and Evita), Gwydion Rhys (Celyn Jenkins in Tir and Dai Jones in Cara Fi), Max Bowden (2015 national tour of Birdsong, played Justin Fitzgerald in BBC 1’s Waterloo Road), Steffan Lloyd-Evans (Jack in Jack & the Beanstalk at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Guildford, national tours of Godspell in Concert and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Moyo Akandé (appearing in Rachel Wagstaff’s Flowers for Mrs Harris at Sheffield Crucible in May 2016, credits including White Christmas at West Yorkshire Playhouse and Macbeth and Lightning Child at Shakespeare’s Globe), Thomas Aldridge (Made in Dagenham at Adelphi Theatre, The Secret Garden and Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure at West Yorkshire Playhouse and Birmingham Rep, High Society at Shaftesbury Theatre), and Rebecca Craven (Tracy Turnblad in Leicester Curve production of Hairspray, Rhiannon Salt in BBC 1’s Waterloo Road).

Clockwise from top left - Emilie Fleming, Neil McDermott, David Thaxton, Caroline Sheen
Clockwise from top left – Emilie Fleming, Neil McDermott, David Thaxton, Caroline Sheen

With a book by Rachel Wagstaff, music by Matthew Brind and lyrics by Steve Marmion, ONLY THE BRAVE tells the heart-breaking and inspirational true story of two couples brought together by war, Captain John Howard (David Thaxton) and his wife Joy (Caroline Sheen), and Lieutenant Denham Brotheridge (Neil McDermott) and his wife Maggie (Emilie Fleming). This emotionally charged new musical brings to life the passion, camaraderie and courage of an incredible generation.

ONLY THE BRAVE’s original concept was by Steve Coleman, Matthew Brind, Rachel Wagstaff and Steve Marmion. Produced by Wales Millennium Centre, Soho Theatre, Daniel Sparrow Productions and Birdsong Productions.

David Thaxton won an Olivier for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Giorgio in the Donmar Warehouse production of Passion. Other West End roles include Enjolras and Javert in Les Misérables, Raoul in Love Never Dies and Maximilian in Candide. He was also a member of Only Men Aloud!, the Welsh male voice choir which won the BBC’s Last Choir Standing, and is a founding member of the bandDivisions.

Caroline Sheen made her West End debut as Marty in Grease at the Cambridge Theatre, and later played Sandy in a revival at the Victoria Palace Theatre. She was in the original casts of Mamma Mia! and The Witches of Eastwick and other West End roles include Eponine and Fantine in Les Misérables and Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She played the title role in the UK and US Tours of Mary Poppins. Most recently, she played Alaura/Carla in City of Angels at the Donmar Warehouse.

Neil McDermott has recently reprised his role as Ryan Malloy in EastEnders on BBC 1, a role he previously played between 2009 and 2011 and reprised in 2014. He also played Dr Ralph Ellis in The Royal between 2009 and 2011. His West End theatre credits include Lord Farquaad in Shrek the Musical, Jean-Michel in La Cage aux Folles, Young Buddy in Follies, Rolf in The Sound of Music and the title role in Aladdin opposite Ian McKellen at the Old Vic.

The Writers
Writer Rachel Wagstaff successfully adapted for the stage Sebastian Faulks’s novel Birdsong. Rachel has written the book for the musical, Flowers for Mrs Harris, which is being produced in May at The Crucible, Sheffield Theatres, with music by Richard Taylor and directed by Daniel Evans. Rachel also adapted Sebastian Faulks’s novel, The Girl at the Lion d’Or, for BBC Radio Four (Woman’s Hour).

Composer Matthew Brind is the musical arranger and conductor for X FactorBritain’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent. His theatre credits include composer for David Walliams’s Mr Stink, musical director for Legally Blonde, and musical supervisor for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Matthew is principal conductor and arranger for the Welsh Pops Orchestra.

Director and lyricist Steve Marmion has been Artistic Director of London’s Soho Theatre since 2010. A former associate director at the Royal Shakespeare Company and a creative associate at the Bush Theatre, he trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. His credits away from Soho Theatre include 24 Hour Plays at the Old Vic, Macbeth at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, and Faustus and Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness for Headlong.

Only the Brave
28 March to 2 April 2016
Performances: Mon – Sat 7.30pm, Thu & Sat 2.30pm
Donald Gordon Theatre
Wales Millennium Centre
Bute Place
Cardiff Bay, CF10 5AL


  • 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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