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Beverley Knight to star in new musical The Drifters Girl at the Garrick Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE Drifters Girl, a new musical that tells the remarkable story of one of the world’s greatest vocal groups, The Drifters, and the woman who made them, will receive its world premiere at Newcastle Theatre Royal in 2020, before transferring to the Garrick Theatre in London for a strictly limited 20-week season.

Directed by Jonathan Church (Singin’ In The Rain) and starring Beverley Knight, The Drifters Girl will play in Newcastle from Saturday, September 5 to Saturday, September 19, 2020. It will then open at the Garrick Theatre on October 22, following preview performances from October 1.

Beverley Knight stars as Faye Treadwell, the legendary manager of The Drifters, who, alongside her husband, fought for three decades to turn Atlantic Records’ hottest vocal group into a global phenomenon.

From the highs of hit records and sell out tours to the lows of legal battles and personal tragedy, The Drifters Girl charts the trailblazing efforts of the world’s first African American, female music manager and how she refused to ever give up on the group she loved. Thirty years, and hundreds of hit songs later, there is no doubt that Faye Treadwell was and always will be, The Drifters Girl.

The soundtrack features some of the most famous songs in history, including Save The Last Dance For Me, Under The Boardwalk, Kissin In The Back Row Of The Movies, Stand By Me, Come On Over To My Place, Saturday Night At The Movies and many more.

Beverley Knight is known as the Queen of British Soul. She has enjoyed several Top 10 Albums, including the platinum selling Voice: The Best Of Beverley Knight. Her most recent solo album Soulsville was released in June 2016 and went straight into the UK Top 10. She was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2007 for services to British music and charity, has won three MOBO Awards, and been nominated for Best Female at the Brit Awards three times and for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize. 2019 sees her celebrating 25 years in the music business with a live album, BK25, recorded with the Leo Green Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, out November 8 on Warner Music.

Knight made her West End stage debut in 2013 playing Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard. A year later, she received an Olivier Award Nomination as Best Actress in a Musical for her much praised role of Felicia Farrell in the Tony Award-winning Memphis The Musical and, in 2015, she played the iconic role of Grizabella in Cats at The London Palladium. In 2018, she starred as Emmeline Pankhurst in the much praised new funk and hip hop musical Sylvia at The Old Vic, for which she won a best supporting actress award at the inaugural Black British Theatre Awards.

The Drifters Girl, with a book by Ed Curtis, will be directed by Jonathan Church and designed by Anthony Ward, with choreography by Karen Bruce, lighting design by Ben Cracknell and music supervision and orchestrations by Chris Egan. Further casting and full creative team will be announced at a later date.

The Drifters Girl is produced by Michael Harrison and David Ian.

Beverley Knight is not scheduled to perform in The Drifters Girl from January 18 to January 23, 2021.

Also coming to the Garrick Theatre: Josie Rourke’s critically acclaimed and Olivier Award-winning production of City of Angels (March 5 to September 5, 2020).