Home-grown star Samantha Barks is heading to Japan next year after being confirmed as starring in a production of the musical Chess.
Miss Barks, from Lonan, first rose to prominence in the BBC’s I’d Do Anything and has gone on to establish herself as a film actress and a leading lady on Broadway.
The announcement of her casting was made by Nick Winston who is directing the show when it reaches Osaka and Tokyo in January and February 2020.
Reacting to the official announcement on Twitter, Miss Barks said she was ’excited’ to take on the role of Florence, originally made famous by Elaine Paige.
She joins Luke Walsh who has starred in productions including Rock of Ages and Penny on Mars as well as previously announced cast members Ramin Karimloo and Takaki Sato.
The music for Chess was written by ABBA duo Benny Andersson and BjÃ¶rn Ulvaeus with the lyrics written by Ulvaeus and Tim Rice who also wrote a book based on the show.
The story involves a politically driven, Cold War-era chess tournament between two grandmasters from America and the USSR and their fight over a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other.
It is probably best known for the song ’I Know Him So Well’ which was most famously recorded by Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson and ’One Night in Bangkok’ which is best known for being sung by Murray Head.
Since breaking through in the BBC show, Miss Barks has gone on to star as Ã?ponine on the stage and in the film version of Les Miserables alongside stars such as Russell Crowe as well as appearing on stage as Nancy in Oliver!, Chicago, Cabaret. She also took on the iconic Julia Roberts role of Vivian as the leading lady in Pretty Woman.
And she also starred in The Christmas Candle alongside Susan Boyle which was part filmed in the island with production work done at the Mountain View Media Village studios in Lezayre.