TV personality Gemma Collins will join the cast of the U.K. and Ireland tour of Chicago May 31 at the Sunderland Empire.
Collins, seen on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!; Celebrity Big Brother; Dancing on Ice; and All Together Now, will step into the role of Matron "Mama" Morton and will also play dates at the Cardiff New Theatre, Blackpool Winter Gardens, Sheffield Lyceum, Norwich Theatre Royal, and New Theatre, Oxford.
She will join a cast that includes Faye Brookes as Roxie Hart, Djalenga Scott as Velma Kelly, Jamie Baughan as Amos Hart, and B.E. Wong as Mary Sunshine. Casting for role of Billy Flynn will be announced soon.
The ensemble includes Ishmail Aaron, Michelle Andrews, Gabby Antrobus, Delycia Belgrave, Joel Benjamin, Tanisha-Mae Brown, Daniel Clift, Callum Fitzgerald, Emily Goodenough, Billie Hardy, Aaron Jenkins, Liam Marcellino, Theo Reece, Hollie Jane Stephens, and Harrison Wilde.
Producer David Ian said, “We were completely stunned by Gemma’s audition for the role. She’s an undeniable force both on and off stage, and we can’t wait to see her portrayal of Mama Morton on tour. Audiences across the country are in for a treat.”
Collins was recently seen in the Channel 4 documentary, Gemma Collins: Self-Harm & Me. Before finding fame on The Only Way Is Essex, she studied dance, winning a place at the Sylvia Young Theatre School.
Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, Chicago has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander, and lyrics by Ebb. The 1996 Broadway revival, which continues at the Ambassador Theatre, was choreographed by Ann Reinking in the style of Fosse, directed by Walter Bobbie, and produced by Barry and Fran Weissler.
The tour is produced by David Ian in association with the Weisslers.