THE iconic title role on the forthcoming album recording of new British musical Tess is to be played by West End star Siobhan Dillon.
Dillon, who first rose to fame in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s TV hunt for a Maria in The Sound of Music, has been unveiled as the eponymous heroine in the musical adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s iconic novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Performing opposite Siobhan will be Broadway leading man Tam Mutu, playing the villainous Alec d’Urberville, and Jersey Boys star Simon Bailey as her great love Angel Clare.
Written by Michael Blore and Michael Davies, the album is the culmination of two years’ work and is scheduled to be recorded later this year, with a fully staged production expected to follow.
Composer Blore and lyricist Davies said they were “absolutely blown away” to have the stellar trio on board. They added: “There was a very short shortlist for the role of Tess, and Siobhan was on it. We didn’t dare hope we might be able to secure her fantastic talent, so we are more than excited that she, Tam and Simon are so keen to support this new work.”
Siobhan’s first professional appearance was understudying Sandy in the 2007 revival of Grease (Piccadilly Theatre). She went on to tour the UK in Bill Kenwright’s Can’t Smile Without You and as Sally Bowles in Cabaret before playing the role of Vivienne in the Olivier award-winning Legally Blonde (Savoy), Claire in EX (Soho Theatre) and the leading role of Molly in Ghost The Musical (West End).
She recently played opposite Glenn Close in Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard at English National Opera (Coliseum) and before that appeared as Ellen in Miss Saigon (Prince Edward).
Tam Mutu, who made his Broadway debut last year in the title role of Dr Zhivago (“utterly perfect” – Washington Times), is a multi-award-winning performer and West End favourite. He alternated the role of the Phantom in Love Never Dies with Ramin Karimloo (Adelphi), starred as Anatoly in Chess (Toronto) and won a clutch of awards as Javert in Les Miserables (Queen’s), including best performance in a long-running musical and best performance of a song for “Stars”.
Simon Bailey is currently appearing as Bob Gaudio in the West End production of Jersey Boys, and has performed in some of the biggest shows in musical theatre history. He’s played Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s), Enjolras in the 21st anniversary cast of Les Miserables (Queen’s) and Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (New London). He’s also a founder member of Teatro, Theatreland’s first supergroup.
Tess is a fully sung-through adaptation of the much-loved novel. Pre-production on the album is already under way, produced by Sunim Koria and with orchestrations by Michael Blore.