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THE ROYAL EXCHANGE THEATRE IS THRILLED TO MAKE THE FIRST CASTING ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THEIR NEW PRODUCTION OF GYPSY DIRECTED BY JO DAVIES.

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Pictured: (L-R) Melissa Lowe, Ria Jones and Melissa James

This Christmas, musical theatre leading lady Ria Jones will make her Royal Exchange debut as the formidable Momma Rose and is joined on stage by Melissa James as Louise and Melissa Lowe in the role of June.

Building on the success of redefining Broadway musicals for the Exchange’s unique in-the-round theatre GYPSY will be the latest iconic musical production to take centre stage. Director Jo Davies returns to the Exchange following her lavish production of TWELFTH NIGHT to explore the wonderful world of show-business through the tour-de-force that is Momma Rose. Choosing the bright lights of the stage over putting her girls through school, Momma Rose is resolute in her desire to see her daughters realise her dreams of stardom and adoration. But how are these young women shaped by her actions, what is passed down from generation to generation, and what new opportunities are afforded to one but denied to another?

Ria Jones’ career spans over three decades as a leading lady in Musical Theatre, both in the West End and internationally. Roles as diverse as Eva Peron in EVITA, Norma Desmond in SUNSET BOULEVARD, to the iconic Mrs Overall in ACORN ANTIQUES, to name but a few. As well as T.V, Radio, and numerous recordings, Ria performs regularly as a concert soloist, frequently with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and major orchestras worldwide.

Melissa James also makes her Royal Exchange debut. Her theatre credits include: WISE CHILDREN (The Old Vic/UK Tour), EUGENIUS! (West End), THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN (Shakespeare’s Globe), ONE LOVE: THE BOB MARLEY MUSICAL (Birmingham Rep), ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (Sheffield Crucible), A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Theatre Royal Bath), THE BODYGUARD, CATS (UK tour), GUYS AND DOLLS (Chichester Festival Theatre) and WEST SIDE STORY (RSC).

Melissa Lowe trained at ArtsEd. Her theatre credits include THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (Bolton Octagon), THE CAT IN THE HAT (Leicester Curve, UK Tour & Rose Theatre, Kingston), ME & MY GIRL (Chichester Festival Theatre) and JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (Teatru Astra). This is also Melissa’s debut at the Royal Exchange.

An extraordinary musical, GYPSY can be seen in the theatre from 30 November 2019 – 25 January 2020. Further casting will be announced later this autumn.