NEWS: Full Casting Announced for Unexpected Joy

Casting for the upcoming European premiere of Bill Russell and Janet Hood’s new musical has been confirmed. 

Unexpected Joy Poster

Playing at the Southwark Playhouse from the 5th September, the all-female casting for the European premiere of the musical is set to include: Janet Fullerlove (Fortune’s Fool, The Beggar’s Opera) as Joy; Jodie Jacobs (Myth, Rock of Ages) as Rachel; Melanie Marshall (Guys and Dolls, Jane Eyre) as Lou; and Kelly Sweeney (Ronald William White Acting Through Song Prize Winner 2018) as Tamara.

Unexpected Joy is the story of three generations of female singers, long-held family tensions and a week together where change is in the air – Joy, a baby boomer pop star, is visited by her daughter, Rachel and granddaughter Tamara. Rachel is married to a prominent televangelist, so Joy is reluctant to divulge that she’s planning to marry Lou, another singer who happens to be a woman. A week with all four together is bound to lead to tension, laughter, discoveries and happiness that really is unexpected.  Let the sparks and music fly!

Produced by Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment and Jim Kierstead of Kierstead Productions, Unexpected Joy is a musical which celebrates the differences between families in a society that prizes diversity and acceptance.

Talking about the production Katy Lipson said: “New chamber musicals are rarely seen on stage, not to mention musicals with an all-female cast celebrating the importance of the freedom to love and that ‘Love is Love’. I have always been a huge fan of Janet and Bill’s work and it is an honour to be presenting a UK Premiere of their latest musical in London, after our premiere Off-Broadway earlier in the year. I hope audiences will embrace these marvellous, strong characters and beautiful score.”

This European premiere is directed by Amy Anders Corcoran, with designs by Verity Johnson, musical direction by Gareth Bretherton, lighhting by Nic Farman, and sound by James Nicholson.

Unexpected Joy will play at the Southwark Playhouse from the 5th to the 29th September. For more information visit:

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