It has been confirmed that the actress will star in the UK premiere of Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman’s musical at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

Directed by Trevor Nunn, this UK premiere of the musical is set to begin performances at the Menier Chocolate Factory in July.

It has now been confirmed that Jenna Russell is set to star in the production as Francesca, returning to the Menier Chocolate Factory following her performances in Merrily We Roll Along and Sunday in the Park With George. Her other theatre credits include: Fun Home (Young Vic), Doctor Faustus (Duke of York’s Theatre) and Grey Gardens (Southwark Playhouse). Further casting has yet to be confirmed.

Featuring music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown and a book by Marsha Norman, the musical is based on Robert James Waller’s 1992 novel, with the story being transformed into the 1995 film starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. The musical first premiered on Broadway  in 2014, directed by Bartlett Sher and starring Kelli O’Hara as Francesca and Steven Pasquale as Robert. It went on to win two Tony Awards for Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations.

Francesca is an Italian immigrant housewife living a happy existence on a farm in the American Midwest. However, when her family go off to the Iowa State Fair, she meets Robert Kincaid, a National Geographic photographer on assignment filming bridges in the area. Their initial friendship develops into a brief but passionate affair which has devastating consequences on all of their lives. 

As well as being directed by Trevor Nunn, the production’s creative team is set to include design by Jon Bausor, lighting by Tim Lutkin, sound by Gregory Clarke and musical supervision and direction by Tom Murray.

The Bridges of Madison County will play at the Menier Chocolate Factory from the 12th July until the 14th September.