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Star quality is assured for Players

PUBLISHED: 11:05 15 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:04 05 July 2010

A FORMER star of the West End will be gracing the stage of Lowestoft's Marina Theatre next month after agreeing to perform in the Lowestoft Players' latest production.

A FORMER star of the West End will be gracing the stage of Lowestoft's Marina Theatre next month after agreeing to perform in the Lowestoft Players' latest production.

Judi Wheaton-Mars will take on the lead role of Anna in the award-winning amateur dramatic theatre group's forthcoming performance of The King and I.

Judi previously understudied the role in the 1991 Sadlers Wells production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, which starred Susan Hampshire. She was able to play the leading role of Anna several times during the tour, including a performance in front of the Queen at the 1991 Royal Variety Performance at London's Victoria Palace Theatre.

She was first discovered at the age of 11. After undergoing classical training at the Royal Northern College of Music, her big break came when she was chosen to understudy the role of Eliza Dolittle in the Adelphi Theatre West End revival of My Fair Lady.

She subsequently played Eliza in the Canadian tour and went on to appear in the musical Buddy at the Victoria Palace and understudied Nyree Dawn Porter as Miss Havisham in the musical Great Expectations.

Now she lives in Carlton Colville and the Lowestoft Players are delighted that she has chosen to join them for their forthcoming production.

“When I understudied the role of Anna for Susan Hampshire back in 1991, I was really too young to play the role,” Judi said.

“When I first heard that the Lowestoft Players were to stage the show, it rekindled the need to perform again. I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to play the role again, and this time, make it my own.”

In the classic musical, Anna is an English governess who is employed by the King of Siam, played by Chris Penn, to teach his numerous children. The musical is packed with songs, including Getting to Know You, I Have Dreamed and Whistle a Happy Tune.

It opens at the Marina Theatre on Tuesday, September 23, and runs nightly at 7.30pm until Saturday, September 27, when there is also a special matinee at 2.30pm.

For tickets, telephone 01502 533200.


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