Longridge born actress Joanna Riding will be back in London’s West End next month, taking another leading role.
Double Olivier Award winning actress Joanna, 46, is reprising her role as Catherine ‘Babe’ Williams, the feisty heroine of “The Pajama Game”, following its critically acclaimed, sold out run with Chichester Festival Theatre last year.
The theatre’s production of the Broadway smash hit musical is being directed by Richard Eyre and transfers to the West End on May 2, playing until September 13 at the Shaftsbury Theatre.
Joanna’s other theatre credits include Julie in “Carousel” and Eliza in “My Fair Lady”, National Theatre productions for which she won her Olivier Awards.
She was also Sarah in “Guys and Dolls”, Anne in “A Little Night Music” and appeared in “Oh! What A Lovely War”.
Further leading West End credits include roles in “Blithe Spirit”, “Billy Elliot”, “The Witches of Eastwick”, “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” and, more recently, “Stephen Ward”, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical based on the Profumo affair.
Also, Joanna has played the part of Melissa in Sky’s comedy “Stella”, appearing alongside Ruth Jones, and plays Cinderella’s mother in a musical fantasy film called “Into the Woods”, directed by Rob Marshall and starring Meryl Streep, to be released in December.
This is not the first time Joanna and Michael will have joined forces at the West End. The musical duo performed a special arrangement of “Hey There” at the “You’ll Never Walk Alone: The West End Unites for the Philippines” concert at the West End’s Queen’s Theatre.
“The Pajama Game” is set in 1950s America and love is in the air at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory as handsome new superintendent Sid Sorokin (Michael Xavier) falls head-over-heels for the firebrand union rep played by Joanna.
Sparks fly when the employees are refused a seven-and-a-half cent raise, leaving Sid and Babe deliciously at odds as the temperature rises with the big question hanging in the air – will love, eventually, conquer all?
Described by the critics as “A romping, uplifting, funny, touching revival from Richard Eyre...truly joyful dancing and fabulous big numbers” (The Times), “A glorious tide of melody” (The Guardian) and “Smart, sexy and funny ...” (Daily Express), this much-anticipated transfer is expected to remind audiences of the pedigree of its original creators: George Abbott, Richard Adler, Jerome Robbins, Hal Prince and Bob Fosse, who understood high-octane entertainment and were all destined to become ‘Broadway aristocracy.’