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Neil Morrissey to play Fagin in Oliver! at the Palace Theatre in Manchester

TV star Neil Morrissey is to play Fagin in a new production of hit musical Oliver! starting at the Palace Theatre in Manchester next week.

The production will run from January 24 until March 10.

Morrissey is probably best known as Tony in hugely successful TV series Men Behaving Badly.

His other TV credits include Waterloo Road, Skins, Paradise Heights and Carrie and Barry.

No stranger to the stage, his West End theatre credits include Victoria Wood’s Acorn Antiques, Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls and A Passionate Woman. His film credits include Up ’n’ Under.

Cameron Mackintosh said: “It is 46 years since I appeared in the first national tour of Oliver! and this show has been close to my heart ever since.

“Little did I know then that I would one day be this musical’s producer and co-owner. Every time I produce the show Lionel Bart’s marvellous musical becomes a smash hit all over again, so I’m thrilled to bring you yet another spectacular new version starring Neil Morrissey.”

Samantha Barks will play Nancy, with Iain Fletcher taking the role of Bill Sikes.

Barks trained at the Arts Educational school for a year before entering I’d Do Anything, the BBC search for the new Nancy in Mackintosh’s Oliver!, in which she finished in the top three.

She made her stage debut as Sally Bowles in the national tour of Cabaret, before taking the title role in Aladdin at the Theatre Royal Windsor. Last year Barks made her West End debut in the role of Eponine in Les Misérables, and played the role again in the Les Misérables 25th anniversary concert at The O2.

Fletcher is probably best known as DC Rodney Skase in long-running TV series The Bill, a role he played for nine years.

Bill Taylor, CEO of Stage Entertainment UK, said: “Everybody here at Stage Entertainment is delighted to be working with Cameron and his team on this beloved show.

“Both companies have a great history of bringing West End productions to theatres across the UK and to be doing it together on Oliver! is hugely exciting.”

The score of Oliver! is full of Lionel Bart’s irresistible songs, including Food Glorious Food, Consider Yourself, You’ve Got to Pick-a-Pocket or Two, I’d Do Anything, Oom-Pah-Pah and As Long As He Needs Me.

Oliver! recently completed a two-year run at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London, where it opened to rave reviews, sell-out business and the biggest advance sales of all time for a West End show.

Last year Oliver! celebrated its 50th birthday, having premiered in the West End in 1960.

For ticket details, call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.

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