The King and I cast
The King: Rob Flewitt
Rob is a newcomer to LAOS, but no stranger to playing The King, this being his third appearance in the role (and he insists his last!). He first portrayed the character three years ago at Buxton Opera House with the Endellion Theatre Company, and then again earlier this year with Doncaster AOS at Doncaster Civic Theatre.
Over the past seven years or so, Rob has played many other principal roles in musical theatre, including The Emcee in ‘Cabaret’ with Splinters Musical Theatre Group in Sheffield (University Drama Studio), and Caiaphas in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ with the Endellion Theatre Company (Buxton Opera House). He has played the role of Ethan in ‘The Full Monty’ twice, once with the Barnsley-based RATS (Penistone Paramount), and again with the Lamproom Players (Lamproom Theatre, Barnsley). Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!
He sang in the Sing Live UK concert ‘A Night Of 1000 Voices’ at the Royal Albert Hall, helping to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation and the Caron Keating Foundation. He has also performed solo work with Sing Live at Sheffield City Hall and Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.
Aside from musical theatre, Rob says his biggest challenge so far has been learning a total of eight different parts for the Endellion Theatre Company production of ‘A Man For All Seasons’ last year, which was staged in the atmospheric Sheffield Cathedral.
Rob would like to thank his wife Claire and their three children Christopher, Amy and Jack for their patience and support during rehearsals for ‘The King And I’.
Anna: Katrina Wood
This is Katrina’s first show with LAOS, and she comes to us with a wealth of experience in the theatre. Dancing since the age of 4, she began treading the boards at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax, first with the Halifax YMCA Pantomime Society, and then taking principal roles with both Halifax Light and Halifax Amateur Operatic Societies, including Nancy in ‘Oliver!’ (1995), the title role in ‘Calamity Jane’ (1997), Hodel in ‘Fiddler On The Roof’ (1999), Lottie in ‘Mack & Mabel’ (2000), and Nellie Forbush in ‘South Pacific’ (2002).
Katrina has twice played Anna before, with Keighley AODS in 2004, and again last year with Ilkley AOS, the latter winning her ‘Best Actress in a Musical’ at the Wharfedale Festival.
Elsewhere, Katrina’s principal roles have included Julie Jordan in ‘Carousel’ with Woodseats Musical Theatre Company (Sheffield Lyceum); Eliza Doolittle in ‘My Fair Lady’ with Great Horton Theatre Company (Bradford Alhambra); Polly in ‘Crazy For You’ – a role she has played twice, once at the Bradford Alhambra, and again at Leeds City Varieties with the Potato Room Players; Jane in ‘Witches of Eastwick’ with Upstagers Theatre Group; Reno Sweeney in ‘Anything Goes’ – with Ilkley AOS, Guiseley AOS and Bingley AOS – again winning the Wharfedale Festival for her Ilkley performance.
Play credits include Jan in ‘I'll Be Back Before Midnight’, and Fliss in ‘Lust In The Dust’, both with Bingley Little Theatre earlier this year. Katrina’s TV appearances feature ‘Emmerdale’, ‘Coronation Street’, ‘Where The Heart Is’, ‘Royal Today’, ‘Heartbeat’, and ‘Married Single Other’.
Lady Thiang: Nicola Brook
Nicola’s first show with LAOS was our 1987 production of ‘The Pirates of Penzance’. Principal roles since then have included Ado Annie in ‘Oklahoma!’ (1992), Fraulein Schneider in ‘Cabaret’ (1995), Mabel in ‘Mack & Mabel’ (2000), Dolly Levi in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ (2004), Mother in ‘Ragtime’ (2007), Mrs Lovett in ‘Sweeney Todd’ and Mrs Sowerberry in ‘Oliver!’ (both 2008).
Further afield, she appeared as Miss Hannigan in ‘Annie’, Gladys in ‘Pajama Game’ and Yente in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, all with Bingley AOS, Jeanette in ‘The Full Monty’ with Upstagers Theatre Group, and Mrs Lovett in the Lindley Church AOS production of ‘Sweeney Todd’ at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield. Play credits include LV in ‘The Rise and Fall of Little Voice’, Eliza Doolittle in ‘Pygmalion’, Andy in ‘Stepping Out’, and Jean in ‘Lucky Sods’, all with Bingley Little Theatre, and Susan in ‘Bed Among the Lentils’ (Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads) with the Endellion Theatre Company in Buxton, Penistone and at the Sheffield Crucible.
Nicola appears with local cabaret group Encore on a regular basis.
The Kralahome: Mike Porter
Mike joined LAOS to play the part of Frederick in ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ in 1987. Since then, he has played many leading principal roles with us, including Henry Higgins'in ‘My Fair Lady’ (2001), Julian Marsh in ‘42nd Street’ (2003), Horace Vandergelder in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ (2004), Father in ‘Ragtime’ (2007), and Mr. Brownlow in ‘Oliver!’ (2008), all here at the Grand. At the West Yorkshire Playhouse, he played Pilate in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ (2005) and The Beadle in ‘Sweeney Todd’ last year.
Mike has also played roles with other local societies, and among his favourites are ‘The American’ in Chess with Buttershaw St. Paul’s AODS, and Tevye in ‘Fiddler On The Roof’ with Kippax AOS.
Mike appears with local cabaret group Encore on a regular basis.
Tuptim: Gemma Durkin
This is Gemma’s first appearance with LAOS. She trained with Manchester Youth Theatre, National Youth Music Theatre and the Gibson School of Dance. She has toured extensively as a Cambridge University Choral Scholar, both in the UK and abroad.
Previous principal roles include Dorothy in ‘The Wizard Of Oz’, Vicky in ‘The Full Monty’, and Irene in ‘Crazy For You’, all at Leeds City Varieties (Potato Room Players), Julie in ‘Carousel’ (Ilkley AOS), Miss Dorothy in ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ (Yeadon AOS), and earlier this year Widow Corney in ‘Oliver!’ at Bradford Alhambra (Upstagers Theatre Group). She played Chava in ‘Fiddler On The Roof’ in Horsforth Grove’s production at Buxton Opera House, and Helen of Troy in ‘Agamemnon’ with Manchester Youth Theatre at the Library Theatre, Manchester.
Professionally, Gemma has played Little Cosette in ‘Les Misérables’ at the Palace Theatre in Manchester. Radio work includes ‘We’ll Meet Again’ and ‘Bugsy Malone’ for BBC Radio, and TV credits include ‘Emmerdale’, ‘Smokescreen’ and ‘Blood & Peaches’.
Gemma starts rehearsals immediately after ‘The King And I’ for the role of Louise/Gypsy Rose Lee in ‘Gypsy’ with Yeadon AODS.
Lun Tha: Alex Hogg
Alex will be most recently remembered here at LAOS for his portrayal of Leo in ‘The Producers’ at the West Yorkshire Playhouse earlier this year.
He originally joined us for our 2005 production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, when he played Judas, going on the following year to play Tony in ‘West Side Story’, again at the Playhouse.
He has also taken several leading principal roles with Harrogate St. Andrew’s Players, namely Galileo in ‘We Will Rock You’, and in Spring this year he appeared as Seymour in ‘Little Shop Of Horrors’, both at Harrogate Theatre.
Any fans of the TV show ‘Musicality’, screened five years ago, may also recall that Alex secured a place in the final 10 contestants, an experience which afforded him some first class tuition from some of the West End’s finest talent.
Captain Orton: Michael Johnson
This is Michael’s first production with LAOS, although he is certainly no newcomer to the stage. Having gained a diploma at the East 15 Acting School, he has worked in both the professional and amateur network. Roles played include Bill Sikes and Mr. Bumble in ‘Oliver!’, Jud Fry in ‘Oklahoma!’, The King in ‘The King And I’, Henry Higgins in ‘My Fair Lady’, Monsieur Dindon in ‘La Cage Aux Folles’, and Isador Strauss in ‘Titanic The Musical’. More recently he appeared as The Lion in ‘The Wizard Of Oz’, and earlier this year as Max Bialystock in ‘The Producers’ with Halifax AOS.
Sir Edward Ramsay: Richard Pascoe
Originally from Colchester in Essex, Richard studied in Durham some 15 years ago, and has happily stayed up north ever since, having now lived in Leeds since 1998. He first appeared with LAOS in our 2005 production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, when he played Caiaphas. This was followed two years later by his portrayal of the evil Judge Turpin in ‘Sweeney Todd’.
Richard’s highlights in musical theatre elsewhere include playing Charlie in ‘Merrily We Roll Along’, and the title role in ‘Sweeney Todd’. However, Richard is also passionate about opera, and has played a range of roles from the extremes of the genre, including Ping in Puccini's ‘Turandot’, Swallow in Britten’s ‘Peter Grimes’, Papagano in Mozart’s ‘Magic Flute’, and Columbus in the UK premier of ‘The Voyage’ by Philip Glass.
Louis: Callum Barrott
Callum Barrott from Leeds plays the part of Louis at alternate performances.
Callum’s first production with LAOS was in ‘Oliver!’ here at the Grand last year, when he played a workhouse boy and was a member of Fagin's gang. He is very keen on musical theatre, and has previously appeared in productions of ‘Cinderella’ (2005/06), ‘Snow White’ (2006/07), and was also in the ensemble of the UK tour of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ in 2008. Earlier this year, he appeared at Bradford Alhambra in the Studio La Pointe production of ‘A Night At The Oscars’.
Callum has been singing since the age of six. He attends Studio La Pointe College in Garforth, and hopes to pursue a career in the theatre.
Louis: Max Cookward
Max Cookward from Leeds plays the part of Louis at alternate performances.
This is Max’s second production with LAOS, having joined us to be a workhouse boy and a member of Fagin’s gang in ‘Oliver!’ last November. Max's enthusiasm for performance extends to the screen too, and he has appeared as an extra in both ‘Emmerdale’ and ‘Heartbeat’, and played himself on Nick Junior's ‘What's My News’ when he was seven years old.
Max loves acting, singing and dancing, and in particular Ballet. He is a student at both Scala and Elevations, and hopes to pursue a career in dance when he is older.
Prince Chulalongkorn: Bradley Judge
Bradley Judge from Keighley plays the part of Prince Chulalongkorn at alternate performances.
Bradley will be remembered for his portrayal of The Artful Dodger in ‘Oliver!’ with LAOS last year, a part he had previously played in a school production. He has taken several principal roles with various amateur companies, including Nathan in ‘The Full Monty’ (Stampede Theatre Company in Yeadon), Michael in ‘Peter Pan’ (Ilkley AOS), and Joseph in ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’. This will be his third production of ‘The King And I’, having played the role of Louis twice, both with Ilkley and Bingley AOS. Professionally, he appeared in the QDOS pantomime ‘Dick Whittington’ with Billy Pearce at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford.
In amongst rehearsals, Bradley also travelled to Ecuador and The Galapagos Islands (unfortunately not Thailand!) earlier this summer, on a trip organised through his school with the World Challenge Group.
Bradley began singing at an early age, and last year won ‘Most Promising Musician’ for singing at school. Bradley is keen to pursue a career in Performing Arts.
Prince Chulalongkorn: Arian Mirzaali
Arian Mirzaali from Leeds plays the part of Prince Chulalongkorn at alternate performances.
This is Arian’s second production with LAOS, having joined us to play the role of Charley Bates in ‘Oliver!’ here at the Grand last November. Arian has been interested in performance from a very young age, and hopes to pursue this further in the future. He has appeared in various local theatre productions, namely ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ (West Yorkshire Playhouse), ‘The Musicians and The Weavers’ (both Carriageworks Theatre). He also appeared in and choreographed ‘Jack Frost The Outsider’ at Harrogate Theatre.
Arian has also been involved in workshops and educational DVDs, and TV appearances include ‘Prank Patrol’, ‘My Spy Family’ and ‘Emmerdale’.
Arian would like to thank his family and friends for their ongoing support, and in particular his mum, who apparently provides the best taxi service in town!