The Producers cast
Max: Peter Whitley
This is Peter’s first appearance with LAOS, and he comes to us with a wealth of experience in musical theatre. Much of his principal work over the years has been with Keighley Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society, where his notable leading roles have included Fagin in ‘Oliver!’ (2003), the title role in ‘Scrooge’ (2004), all seven principal characters in ‘Little Me’ (2005), and Mack Sennett in ‘Mack & Mabel’ (2007). He has portrayed The King in ‘The King & I’ three times, and likewise Bill Snibson in ‘Me & My Girl’, with performances in Keighley, Guiseley, Ilkley and Bingley. Other roles in the area have included Nathan Detroit in ‘Guys & Dolls’ (Guiseley Theatre), Max Miller in ‘Happy As A Sandbag’ (Bradford Alhambra), Mr Mushnik in ‘Little Shop Of Horrors’ (Yeadon Town Hall), Rooster in ‘Annie’ (Bingley Arts Centre) and the title role in ‘Barnum’ (Bradford St. George’s Hall). Peter admits he favours character parts!
Peter has also performed in many pantomimes in Harden, Bingley and Keighley, as well as appearing in plays on a regular basis with Bingley Little Theatre and Keighley Playhouse.
Amongst Peter’s TV credits are ‘The Royal Today’, ‘Lost in Austin’, ‘Coronation Street’ and ‘Emmerdale’. He also appeared as a railway porter in a film entitled ‘Fairy Tale – A True Story’.
Leo: Alex Hogg
Alex is the first to admit he had an uncertain start in the world of musical theatre, having first played a frog in ‘Mary Poppins’ at the age of 11, followed several years later as a back-flipping Russian in ‘Fiddler On The Roof’, when he unfortunately fractured his hand at the first rehearsal!
Clearly undaunted, Alex nevertheless managed to secure a place in the final 10 contestants of the TV show ‘Musicality’ five years ago, an experience which afforded him some first class tuition from some of the West End’s finest talent.
Since then, Alex’s performing career has gone from strength to strength, with notable principal roles including Judas in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and Tony in ‘West Side Story’, both here at the West Yorkshire Playhouse with LAOS. Alex also appeared as Galileo in the Harrogate St. Andrew’s Players’ production of ‘We Will Rock You’ at Harrogate Theatre. In addition, he has performed in a variety show at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London’s West End.
Outside the musical theatre arena, Alex sings with his band Moxie – a Leeds based funk and soul outfit (available for weddings, bar mitzvahs and funerals!).
The week following The Producers, Alex will be appearing as Seymour in ‘Little Shop Of Horrors’ at Harrogate Theatre, again with Harrogate St. Andrew’s Players, opposite his new wife Kay. A busy year so far!
Ulla: Kay Mallinson
Kay first started dancing at the age of 5, and six years later gave her first professional performance as a Sunbeam in ‘Dick Whittington’ at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford. Kay went on to study at the Birmingham School of Acting, where she gained a BA Honours degree in Acting. During training, Kay's theatre credits included Armande in ‘The Clever Woman’, Fury’ in ‘The Flies’, Sarah in ‘O Go My Man’, and Paulina in ‘The Winter’s Tale’.
Having graduated, Kay went on tour with the Chol Theatre Company, playing Callista in ‘Space Circus’. She also performed at Birmingham’s Library Theatre as Stacey in ‘Neon: A New Musical’; the London Palladium as a dancer in ‘Me & My Girl’; and in several theatres around Newcastle playing the title role in ‘Dick Whittington’.
Kay has also appeared in two music videos: Soul Savers’ ‘Can I Help With Suicide?’ and a Phil Collins remix of ‘Both Sides of The Stories’ performed by Shimmone. Kay recently completed her first feature film ‘Rough Around The Edges’, which is currently in production.
This will be Kay’s third production with LAOS, having also appeared in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ in 2004 and ‘Oliver!’ last November, both at the Grand.
Franz: Richard Blackburn
Richard originally joined LAOS in 2004 to play Cornelius Hackl in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ at the Grand. He has subsequently appeared as one of the Apostles in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ (2005), Tateh in ‘Ragtime’ (2007), and as Tobias Ragg in last year’s production of ‘Sweeney Todd’ here at the Playhouse.
Something of a Sondheim fanatic, Richard has previously played the title role in ‘Sweeney Todd’ at the Carriageworks Theatre with Leeds Youth Opera; he has twice played Bobby in ‘Company’, at the City Varieties in 2003, and in February this year reprised the role with York Stage Musicals at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre. In addition, he has played Hero in ‘Forum’, Carl-Magnus Malcolm in ‘A Little Night Music’, Franklin Sheppard in ‘Merrily We Roll Along’, and Dr. Pangloss in ‘Candide’.
Other roles in musical theatre and opera include Luther Billis in ‘South Pacific’, Sky Masterson in ‘Guys & Dolls’, Jimmy in ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’, Ned Keane in ‘Peter Grimes’, Samuel in ‘A Masked Ball’, and Pang in ‘Turandot’.
Richard wishes to dedicate his performance in ‘The Producers’ to the memory of his Grandad, Frank Pemberton – "He would definitely have seen the funny side!"
Roger: Phil Hopkins
Phil’s first principal role with LAOS was back in 1995, when he played The Emcee in ‘Cabaret’. This was followed by his portrayal of Bill Snibson in our 1997 production of ‘Me & My Girl’. He played Herod in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ here at the Playhouse in 2005, and more recently will be remembered as Fagin in ‘Oliver!’ last November at the Grand.
Prior to the LAOS production, Phil had previously played Fagin twice before, both at Yeadon Town Hall and at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford. Other principal roles have included Al Jolson in ‘Jolson’, the title role in ‘Scrooge’, and Jacob in Danny La Rue’s ‘La Cage aux Folles’, all at the Leeds City Varieties with the Potato Room Players. He has also twice played the title role in ‘Barnum’, with Great Horton Theatre Company at the Bradford Alhambra, and with the Phoenix Players at Harrogate Theatre.
On the professional front, Phil holds the dubious honour of having performed as a dancing cardinal in Monty Python’s ‘The Meaning of Life’. He also appeared in ‘All Creatures Great & Small’, and a Christmas special of ‘Only Fools & Horses’.
Carmen: Joe Mellor
Joe first joined LAOS in 2007 for our production of ‘Ragtime’ at the Grand Theatre. He went on to appear last Spring in ‘Sweeney Todd’ here at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, and then in November played the role of Mr. Sowerberry in ‘Oliver!’.
In recent years Joe has played a number of principal roles, notably Fagin in ‘Oliver!’, and Arial in ‘Return to the Forbidden Planet’, both at Sixth Form College at Bruntcliffe School in Morley. He played Paul McCartney in ‘We Will Rock You’ and Joe Vegas in ‘Fame’ (Wakefield Theatre Royal), and in the past two years with St. Andrew’s Players in Harrogate he appeared as The Purser in ‘Anything Goes’, followed by Mark in ‘A Chorus Line’ last Summer.
Joe also played the lead in a film called ‘Expired’ when he was 17.