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Willy Russell with Barbara Dickson
"Blood Brothers was a hard act to follow..."
 
..."I couldn't accept a role which was less than that, and such parts are thin on the ground."

BARBARA DICKSON

Blood Brothers has attracted top quality singers and actors to perform the characters created by Willy Russell. For example, the part of Mrs. Johnstone, has been played by some famous names...

FIRST LADIES ...
Barbara Dickson
Barbara's first performance was in Willy Russell's John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert in 1973. In 1980 she was asked to play the lead role of Mrs. Johnstone in Blood Brothers. She quickly made the role her own and was awarded a Society of West End Theatres Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 1983. Barbara revisited the role for a celebratory performance in Liverpool during the winter of 2000-01 at the Liverpool Empire.
Stephanie Lawrence 
Succeeding Barbara, Stephanie spent four years as Mrs. Johnstone in Blood Brothers. As well as appearing at the Phoenix Theatre in London, she led the production cast that took Blood Brothers to Broadway in 1993. Although the show was initially savaged by the notorious New York critics, it was nominated for six Tony Awards including one for her performance as Best Actress. Sadly, Stephanie passsed away in 2000.
Helen Reddy
Australian born, Helen Reddy has appeared as both Shirley Valentine, the one-woman play by Willy Russell, and as Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers. She has performed in Broadway and on the West End.
Petula Clark
"As Mrs Johnstone, the spirited loving mother of the twins, Petula Clark is sublime. Her superb vocal gift and fine craft as an actor come together as never before ... ChicagoPetula Clark made her Broadway debut alongside David and Shaun Cassidy in a highly successful production of Blood Brothers and followed it with an American tour.
August - April 1994 Broadway
September - May 1994/5 US Tour
Lyn Paul
"The twins' gritty, hard up mother, Lyn Paul, more than makes up for with her singing what she lacks at times in her Liverpool accent - hankies were out in full force around me".Once a New Seeker, Lyn Paul first became Mrs. Johnstone in 1997. She performed on the West End stage, then a four month tour of the UK before returning to London, where in July 1998 she celebrated the show's 10th Anniversary.
Linda Nolan
The Nolan sisters, Bernie, Denise, Linda and Maureen have all played Mrs. Johnstone at different times.
Kiki Dee
"It's such a strong piece, there's always something new about it." Doing it afresh for London, she discovered that she enjoyed doing it more and more.Kiki Dee first appeared in 1987 at the Albery Theatre, in London before touring and returning to the West End when the production moved to the Phoenix Theatre. She returned to the role several times during the next few years.
Carole King
"The melodies are very comfortable for me to sing, because they're very like the ones I would write."Carole King became Mrs Johnstone in 1994 for the Broadway run. Invited to star in the show but unsure, she had made her mind up by the interval! "After the first act, I said, "I'm in. I love the show. Willy Russell is so talented."
and the GENTLEMEN ...
Shaun Cassidy
Shaun, with his half brother David, performed in Blood Brothers at the Music Box, New York in 1993 and 1995 when he played Eddie. Their parents, Jack and Shirley (Jones) were both Broadway stars. Today, Shaun concentrates in TV production and writing.
David Cassidy
"David Casidy was top of my list when I was looking for the first American star to play Mickey in Blood Brothers. He exceeded my expectations ..." BILL KENWRIGHT. Critic, Michael Kuchwara, said "three genuine pop culture icons.. a perfect marriage of performers and the parts they play."
Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe, now a huge Hollywood star, played Mickie in an Australian production of Blood Brothers in 1988/9. It was his performance in this production that caught the attention of director George Ogilvie and led to his successful career in films. "unquestionably one of the major theatrical events of 1988". SYDNEY REVIEW. "The part affected me badly... it was heart-rending for the audience, let alone me. I put a lot of myself into it. I'd feel a bit funny after each performance and find it difficult to talk to people. "I like to perform with everything I've got and the reaction of the audience is far more important to me than that of the reviewers." RUSSELL CROWE
Con O'Neill
Con is a former member of the Everyman Youth Theatre. He won the OLIVIER AWARD for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance of Mickey in 1988 and was one of the cast who took the show to Broadway.
David Soul
David Soul, star of Starsky and Hutch and numerous television programmes, toured New Zealand, Australia, France and England as the Narrator in Blood Brothers.
"As narrator, American David Soul, although suffering from laryngitis, cuts a stylish and crisply wrought character." HERALD SUN
John Conteh
Best known as the first British boxer to hold the World Light Heavyweight Championship for a quarter of a century. Since retiring from boxing he has made numerous TV appearances as a boxing commentator, and has acted in several stage plays including Blood Brothers. John played the Narrator in Blood Brothers during its first National tour.
Carl Wayne
Carl Wayne, former singer with the Move, played the key role of the Narrator in Blood Brothers for six years. He made his debut in the show at London’s Albery Theatre in October 1990 until June 1996 at the Phoenix Theatre. During this time he starred opposite Barbara Dickson, Kiki Dee and Stephanie Lawrence. Like others, his association with the show began when he was persuaded by a friend to go and see it, looking particularly at the role of the Narrator. He was immediately very impressed. Keen to play the role, he had learnt all of the songs and the script before getting an audition. Carl sadly passed away in 2004.
Willy Russell
Willy performed the Narrator role in Liverpool. He also appears on the International Cast recording of the show which featured Petula Clark, David and Shaun Cassidy.
"A unique experience... Apart from being one of Britain's most celebrated authors, you will see why I believe Willy is also a born performer."
BILL KENWRIGHT on Willy's performance
Willy Russell has become famous for his performance readings. He won an award for Best Supporting Actress for his reading of Shirley Valentine - the one woman play!
More famous faces to come...>>>
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