Full casting has now been announced for the world premiere of Glenn Chandler and Charles Miller’s new musical The Pleasure Garden, which runs at south London’s Above the Stag Theatre from 15 September to 17 October 2021, with a press night on 23 September.
Set in 1850 in the waning heyday of the hedonistic Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, The Pleasure Garden centres on Tom Reckless, a handsome young gardener, who is torn between the affections of a hopelessly romantic shipping clerk and a sexually voracious aristocratic couple. With the gardens closing and his livelihood under threat, will Tom choose a bohemian life with Ralph; employment with the unorthodox Lord and Lady Lovelock; or answer the drumbeat of a looming overseas war?
Newcomer Sam Baumal, who completed his MA in Musical Theatre at the Royal Academy of Music during lockdown, makes his professional theatrical debut as Tom Reckless.
Also making debuts in Fenton Gray‘s premiere production are South African musical star Ashleigh Harvey (as Lady Maude Lovelock), who emigrated to London shortly before the UK’s first Covid lockdown was announced, and Baumal’s fellow Royal Academy of Music graduate Jonathan Harlaw (Albert).
They are joined in the cast by West End regulars Rory-Charlie Campbell (as Lord Roger Lovelock) and Steve Watts (as The Hermit), as well as Jay Worley (as Ralph Pottinger) and Jennie Jacobs (as Captain Antrobus)
The Pleasure Garden has a book and lyrics by Glenn Chandler, with music by Charles Miller. Musical direction is by Aaron Clingham, choreography by Carole Todd, set and costumes by David Shields and lighting by Jack Wills.
Above the Stag Theatre is set on the edge of the modern-day Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, now a popular local park.
The Pleasure Garden runs from 15 September to 17 October 2021 at the Above the Stag Theatre, 72 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TP, with performances Wednesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, matinees Saturdays and Sundays at 3.30pm. Tickets from £24. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
Sam Baumal (Tom Restless) – Sam trained at The Royal Academy of Music. Credits whilst training include: Red in Midwestern Gothic, George in Sunday in the Park with George, Hal Prince: A Life in Theatre, and Featured Soloist in Fugitive Songs and Broadway Cabaret. Further credits include Felix the Mosaic Man in animation The Adventures of Albert the Albatross for Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum and Charles Worth in workshop The House of Worth for Goldsmiths University.
Jay Worley (Ralph Pottinger) – Training: Royal Academy of Music & Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Television credits include: Jac Tomos in Rownd a Rownd (Rondo Media/S4C); Hari in Teulu Ty Crwn (Boom Cymru/S4C); Lolo in Sadie J (CBBC); Ty Oliver in Casualty (BBC). Theatre credits include: Smyth in The Santa Trap (UK tour); Peter Pan in Peter Pan (Watermill Theatre); Matthew D. Melody in Crazy Gary’s Mobile Disco (Wales tour); Tom in Fe Ddaw’r Byd i Ben (Sherman Theatre). Concerts include: Soloist in Graduates at Cadogan Hall (Cadogan Hall); Sweeney Todd in Hal Prince: A Life in the Theatre (Royal Academy of Music); Soloist in A West End Christmas (The Actor’s Church).
Ashleigh Harvey (Lady Maude Lovelock) – Ashleigh is one of South Africa’s most loved musical theatre stars. She studied drama at Wits University and then made her professional debut, playing Janet in The Rocky Horror Show. Throughout her career in South Africa, she moved between Shakespeare, contemporary work and musicals. In 2017, she took on the role of Fanny Brice in South Africa’s first and only production of Funny Girl at the Fugard Theatre. She also played Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut in the South African premiere of Avenue Q. She moved to London in 2019 and was just about to appear in Carousel at Kilworth House when the pandemic hit. The Pleasure Garden marks her British debut.
Jennie Jacobs (Captain Antrobus) – Jennie trained at The London School of Musical Theatre, representing them at the Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year competition in 2011. Since graduating, Jennie has worked in film, theatre, musicals, and plays, as well as a recording artist and cabaret performer. She is also a writer, painter, and comic. Theatre: Iolanthe, The Nativity Panto, HMS Pinafore, Buttons: A Cinderella Story (Charles Court Opera; King’s Head Theatre and National Tours); Rapunzel (Hertford Theatre); Guilty of Love (National Tour); #Haters (National Tour); Isle of Woman (National Tour); Let’s REVUE…with Jacobs and James (Canal Cafe Theatre); Content (Theatre 503); Ruddigore (Barons Court Theatre); Vote for Me (London Theatre Workshop); Dave The Less-Than-Average Fairy (Tristan Bates Theatre); The Misunderstanding (Lord Stanley); Pitti-Sing in The Mikado (National Tour and G&S Festival); Steps (Waterloo East Theatre); and Bright Lights, Big City (Bridewell Theatre). Film/TV: Naomi Indigo, Svengali, Gambit, Starman. Vocal Groups: The Rudy Vees, Graffiti Voices, Ancora, Opera Girls.
Steve Watts (The Hermit) – Over the course of a varied theatre career, memorable productions include: Cheek By Jowl’s legendary all-male As You Like It (World tour/West End); Into the Woods (Theatre Royal, York); Mack & Mabel, Merrily We Roll Along, Oliver!, Pinafore Swing and Plunder (Watermill, Newbury); Jumpers (National Theatre/Piccadilly); My Fair Lady (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane & the UK tour, taking over the role of ‘Henry Higgins’ on tour); Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lady Be Good and The Boyfriend (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park); Relatively Speaking (Wyndham’s); Chariots of Fire (Gielgud); The Mikado (Charing Cross); Allegro (Southwark) and Road Show (Union). Steve was ‘Tony’ in the British independent feature film, Incidental Characters. Other notable screen appearances include, ‘Benedict’ in multi-award-winning short, Bittersweet; DCI Ed Drummond in The Paradox Series and, in the world of commercials, a career-defining role of ‘The Colonel’ for a KFC campaign that will grace screens and billboards in the Spring of 2022.
Rory-Charlie Campbell (Lord Roger Lovelock) – West End and London: ‘Cats’ (Gus/Growltiger and Bustopher Jones) for Cameron Mackintosh, ‘Animal Crackers’, ‘Bastien and Bastienne’, ‘On A Clear Day You Can See Forever’, ‘Sending For Mr Plim’, ‘The Green Parakeet’, ‘The Girl With The Roses’. UK national tours: ‘High Society’, ‘Salad Days’, ‘H.M.S. Pinafore’ (Ralph Rackstraw) for The Carl Rosa Opera Company, ‘My Heart and I’, ‘Glamorous Nights’ (Ivor Novello), ‘Deadly Manoeuvres’. European theatres include: ‘My Fair Lady’ (Freddy), ‘Corpse’, ‘The White Horse Inn, ‘Maria’, ‘Cats’ (Gus/Growltiger and Bustopher Jones) in Zürich. Pantomime UK include: ‘Goldilocks And The Three Bears’, ‘Jack And The Beanstalk’, ‘Cinderella’ (Prince Charming).
Bea Amora Wong (Princess Saura) – Training: Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts – Shakespeare, Victorian College of the Arts (Australia). Credits include: Mame, H.M.S Pinafore, The Firework Maker’s Daughter (UK National Tour), Sleepless The Musical (Troubadour Theatre), The 12 Tenors (European Tour), Measure for Measure (Vanbrugh Theatre), Into The Woods (Embassy Theatre), Midsummer Night’s Dream (Federation Theatre), Paper Dolls (Kiln Theatre), Othello (Victorian Arts Centre), Hamlet (Shakespeare in the Park), Ten, Upstream (Shanghai Contemporary Theatre), Stiles and Drewe’s The Three Billy Goats Gruff (Singapore Repertory Theatre), Song Unsung (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Autumn of Han (Edinburgh Festival), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Watermill Theatre), The King and I (Theatre at the Mill), The Great Wall, Lao Jiu, Wizard of Oz, Moonbird (The Drama Centre).
Jonathan Harlaw (Albert) – Jonathan trained at the Royal Academy of Music and is delighted to be making his professional debut in The Pleasure Garden. Credits whilst training include: Sunday in the Park with George, Hal Prince: A Life in the Theatre, Fugitive Songs and Held Momentarily (Royal Academy of Music); West Side Story (National Youth Music Theatre). Jonathan is a recipient of the Ian Fleming Award from Help Musicians UK.