NE Musicals York’s biggest cast heads to the wild wood for The Wind In The Willows

Lee Harris’s Mr Toad leaps in the air during a rehearsal for NE Musicals York’s The Wind In The Willows The Musical

NE Musicals York take over the Joseph Rowntree Theatre from Sunday to transform the theatre into a riverbank and wild wood for the York premiere of The Wind In The Willows The Musical.

Director Steve Tearle has created the design for the April 27 to May 1 run of the hit book adaptation by Julian Fellowes, the Oscar-winning screenwriter and creator of Downton Abbey, with songs by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, the Olivier award-winning lyricist-and-composer partnership.

Rehearsals are into the final week for Tearle’s staging of Kenneth Grahame’s story of Ratty, Mole, Badger and the impulsive Mr Toad, whose insatiable need for speed lands him in serious bother.

NE Musicals York in an early publicity shot for their York premiere of Wind In The Willows The Musical

When his beloved home comes under threat from the notorious Chief Weasel and his gang of sinister Wild Wooders, Mr Toad must attempt a daring escape, leading to a series of misadventures and a heroic battle to recapture Toad Hall.

“This family musical packed with thrills, comedy and a massive heart is racing into York for the very first time with exuberant choreography by Ellie Roberts and a beautiful, exciting British score brought to life by musical director Sam Johnson,” says Steve. “Look out for the costumes: they’ve been created by NE Musicals too.”

Tearle’s largest-ever cast is led by Lee Harris as Mr Toad, Finlay Butler as Ratty, Tom Henshaw as Badger and Jack Hambleton as Mole. Sam Richardson plays Chief Weasel; Tearle himself will be Kenneth Grahame and the Magistrate.

Tickets for the 7.30pm evening shows and 2.30pm Saturday and Sunday matinees are on sale on 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Director Steve Tearle (centre, back, by a pillar, in a hat) watches Lee Harris, front, and company members in a rehearsal for NE Musicals’ premiere

NE Musicals York’s big cast to start The Wind In The Willows rehearsals on Feb 17

NE Musicals York’s poster for this spring’s production of The Wind In The Willows, The Musical

THE cast is in place for rehearsals to start on February 17 for NE Musicals York’s spring production of The Wind In The Willows, The Musical.

“Yes, we have one of our strongest and largest casts for the most amazing show; a musical by George Stiles & Anthony Drewe and Julian Fellowes that’s brand new to York,” says director Steve Tearle. “It’s an hilarious adventure, a great musical for the whole family.”

Based on Kenneth Grahame’s children’s classic, The Wind In The Willows, The Musical is a wild, thrill-seeking tale with a book by Oscar-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and songs by Olivier Award-winning composer-and-lyricist duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.

This riotous comedy follows Mole, Rat, Badger and the impulsive Mr Toad, whose insatiable need for speed lands him in serious trouble.

When his beloved home comes under threat from the notorious Chief Weasel and his gang of sinister Wild Wooders, Mr Toad must attempt a daring escape, leading to a series of misadventures and a heroic battle to recapture Toad Hall.

“Full of humour and wit, with a gorgeous, soaring score and heart-warming lessons of friendship, The Wind In The Willows is the perfect fit for family audiences everywhere,” says Steve.

Tearle’s production will run at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, from April 27 to May 1 with a cast led by Lee Harris as Mr Toad; Finlay Butler as Ratty; Tom Henshaw as Badger and Jack Hambleton as Mole. Hambleton was last seen as teenage diarist Adrian Mole in Pick Me Up Theatre’s musical production of The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ at Theatre@41, Monkgate, last month.

Sam Richardson will play Chief Weasel; Steve Tearle, Kenneth Grahame and Magistrate; Neve Greenley, Julian ‘Mouse’ Grahame; Libby Anderson, Portia; Perri Ann Barley, Mrs Otter; Ellie Roberts, Lesser Weasel/Olivia Otter, and Kristian Barley, Horse/Scared Weasel.

Maia Stroud has been cast as Sheryl Stoat; Becky Warboys, Mrs Hedgehog; Paul Jefferson, Mr Hedgehog; Carolyn Jensen, Henrietta Horse/Sheila Stoat; Pat Mortimer, Barge Woman/Fiona Fox; Millie Warboys, Shelly Squirrel/Gaoler’s Daughter, and Erin Greenley, Scarlett Squirrel/Engine Driver.

Henry Barker will be Stephano Squirrel/Engine Driver Assistant; Scott Kendrew, policeman Shaun Squirrel/Car Driver; Toby Jensen, policeman Sam Squirrel/Rob Rabbit; George D Moore, prison guard Freddie Fox; Elizabeth Farrell, Serena Swallow/Opal Otter, and Roxy Hurst, SoSo Swallow/Odessa Otter.

Evie Latham will play Skye Swallow/Octavia Otter; Suraya Pickersgill, Harriet Hedgehog; Ishbel Nicholson, Hannah Hedgehog; Callum Richardson, Rabbit Butler; Sam Reed, Michael Fieldmouse/Richard Rabbit; Jack Reed, Josh Fieldmouse/Robert Rabbit, and Scarlett Waugh, Abbie Fieldmouse/Rebecca Rabbit.

Zachary Pickersgill’s roles will be Ben Fieldmouse/Rich Rabbit; Molly Pashley, Molly Fieldmouse/Rosie Rabbit; Missy Barnes, Missy Fieldmouse/Ruth Rabbit; Aimee Dean-Hamilton, Maisie Mouse; Darcy Powell, Monica Fieldmouse; Elenor Powell, Matilda Mouse; Rosie Musk, Faith Fox/Oval Otter; Julie Blackburn, Grandma Fieldmouse, and Katie Ann Thackeray, Felicity Fox.

Eve Parker has been cast as Fern Fox; Freya-Mai Bayley, Faye Fox; Tracy Hurst, Fran Fox; Megan Snelgrove, Wren Weasel; Freya Chilvers, Winni Weasel; Maia Smith, Ce Ce Swallow/Willow Weasel; LaCie Martin, Willowlow Weasel; Sophie Dean-Hamilton, Sophie Stoat; Sophia Cocker, Sylvia Stoat/Olive Otter; Beth Clavery, Stefani Stoat; Lucy Leaf, Shona Stoat, and Kalayna Barley, Sally Stoat.

Ali Butler Hind will be Sara Stoat; Matthew Musk, Matt Fieldmouse/Brian Rabbit; Abigail Ainley, Fifi Fox; Lexi Brooks, Mango Fieldmouse; Charlotte Smith, Shelby Stoat; Dylan Probert, Reginald Rabbit; Mae Bradley, Stella Stoat; Charlotte Bowman, Flame Fox; Holly Walker, Felicia Fox; Maia Baker, Wendy Weasel; Harry Wright, Will Weasel, and Emily Hagyard, Rascal Weasel.

Tickets for the 7.30pm evening performances and 2.30pm Saturday and Sunday matinees are on sale on 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.