Sunday 22 September 2019

Martin Kemp to take over from Cuba Gooding Jr in Chicago

The Spandau Ballet bassist will play lawyer Billy Flynn for a limited season in London’s West End.

Martin Kemp will take over from Cuba Gooding Jr in West End musical Chicago
Martin Kemp will take over from Cuba Gooding Jr in West End musical Chicago

By Andrew Arthur, Press Association Entertainment Reporter

Former EastEnders star and Spandau Ballet bassist Martin Kemp is to take over from Cuba Gooding Jr as Billy Flynn in Chicago at the Phoenix Theatre in London.

Kemp will play the smooth-talking lawyer in the West End musical for a limited season from July 2 until September 1.

The rest of the cast is still to be announced.

John Keeble, Tony Hadley, Steve Norman, Gary Kemp and Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet in 2015.

As well as playing Steve Owen in the BBC soap from 1998 to 2002, Kemp’s acting credits include a starring role as gangster Ronnie Kray in biopic The Krays, alongside his brother and bandmate Gary.

The brothers joined a reunion of the successful 1980s new romantic band in 2009.

The group re-recorded some of their best-known songs including Gold and the 1983 number one single True for Once More, their first studio album for 20 years.

The album also featured two new songs and reached the top 10 of the UK albums chart.

In September last year, Kemp confirmed the band were looking for a new singer to replace Tony Hadley, who had announced his departure in July.

Oscar-winning actor Gooding Jr will end his run in the show on June 30 after making his debut in April.

The Jerry Maguire star admitted that leading up to his first performance as Flynn he endured sleepless nights.

Cuba Gooding Jr made his West End debut as Billy Flynn in Chicago in April.

His opening night in the musical was attended by stars including Terry Gilliam, John Barrowman and Kate Garraway.

Chicago opened at the Phoenix Theatre in London on March 26.

It brought an end to the Olivier and Tony Award-winning musical’s five-and-half-year absence from the West End.

The Phoenix Theatre production’s current booking period runs until October 6.

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