This November, Tiger Bay the Musical – Wales Millennium Centre’s biggest in-house production to date – will premiere in Cardiff with Welsh singer and actor, Noel Sullivan returning home to join the lead cast.
Noel, who hasn’t performed on stage in Wales for almost two years, takes on the gritty role of Harbour Master, Séamus O’Rourke in Tiger Bay the Musical, a story of the notorious underworld of Wales’ capital at the turn of the 1900s.
Playing the ambitious opportunist, exiled from Africa to make his fortune through unsavoury means on Cardiff Docks, will be a change in direction for Noel, whose theatre repertoire includes a string of romantic leads, such as Danny Zuko in Grease and Galileo in We Will Rock You.
Noel, whose grandfather worked on Cardiff’s docks, said: “I am used to taking on roles in productions that are already established, so not only will this be the first time I play the bad guy, it is incredibly exciting to be part of a brand new musical of this scale created in Wales.
“I last performed at the Centre during the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels tour in 2015, plus numerous times before then, so I can’t wait to come home to perform in a show which has come out of a place that helped me in my career.”
Following a short, successful run of previews at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town earlier this year, the featured role of Séamus has now been expanded and developed further within the production, presenting Noel with a stronger, meatier role which plays to his strengths.
Noel continued: “The test run in Cape Town was so inspirational, they have a completely different energy out there which has influenced some changes for when we bring the show to Wales in November. It is going to be nothing like the Centre has seen or done before.”
“Growing up in Cardiff you had to travel to Bristol to see a show so the Centre was a much needed addition to Wales. It is time Cardiff and Wales were recognised on the world stage for its musical theatre talent. A production like Tiger Bay the Muscial, conceived and produced in Wales, deserves all its hopes for a bright future. I’m very honoured to be on that journey.”
A Wales Millennium Centre production in association with Cape Town Opera, Tiger Bay the Musical is set in 1900s Cardiff at a time of unrest between the workers heaving coal in the docklands, known as Tiger Bay, and the Bute Dock Company and merchants of the Coal Exchange they afforded.
A fictional story of revolution, reconciliation, courage and love, the award-winning creative team – composer, Daf James, writer Michael Williams and director, Melly Still – have remained sympathetic to the reality of the era which includes forming a promdominently Welsh cast.
Noel will join award-winning and record breaking West End and Broadway performer, John Owen Jones who plays John Crichton-Stuart, Cardiff’s richest man tormented by loss.
Rising star Vikki Bebb, a Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama graduate from the south Wales valleys, will play Noel’s love interest, Rowena Pryddy, a shop girl with suffrage ideals. Plus, Welsh school girls Louise Harvey from Rhiwbina and Ruby Llewellyn from Llantrisant will share the role of tenacious water boy, Ianto.
The world premiere of Tiger Bay the Musical will take place on Wednesday 15 November 2017 at Wales Millennium Centre and will run until Saturday 25 November 2017. Tickets on sale now at tigerbaythemusical.com