Full cast announced today - in addition to Noel Sullivan and Ben Richards, we have the following:
Sherrie - Cordelia Farnworth
Lonny - Stephen Rahman-Hughes
Dennis - Daniel Fletcher
Justice - Rachel McFarlane
Hertz - Jack Lord
Regina/Candi - Jessie May
Franz - Cameron Sharp
Joey Primo - Tom Andrew Hargreaves
Mayor - Rakesh Boury
Waitress #1 - Abigail Climer
Constance - Imogen Brooke
Young Groupie - Kylie Michelle Smith
Male Swing/Dance Captain - Russell Smith
Male Swing - Chris Southgate
Male Swing - Stephen Rolley
Female Swing/Assistant Dance Captain - Tara Verloop
Female Swing - Charlotte Anne Steen
I was front row (CC) last night. The stage is significantly lower than the Prince Edward, and you could see everything that happened even at the back of the stage. Things that used the lift at the Prince Edward are now on a track which slides in when needed (it's quite noisy). Like Tina said, for Ragdoll, they enter from the back of the stage on the track with their mics which looked quite good.
John Lloyd Young is really good as Frankie. his voice was, for the most part, very strong, but it did sound quite tired on occasions, which is probably due to the tech run in the week and then the dress rehearsal in the afternoon. His acting was on another level, there was a clear progression in his Frankie from the younger Frankie to the older Frankie, which I haven't seen as clearly in many of the Frankies. He's really good at the darker and more emotional scenes - especially Fallen Angel and also the scene round the table with the other Seasons.
The rest of the cast were very good. Matt Nalton makes a very good Nick Massi, and I was impressed for what was his West End debut. His accent slipped a couple of times, and he looked like he was about to burst into a huge grin as he said he wanted to leave the group. Other than that, I was impressed with him - Jon and Edd were great as always.
Of the others, standouts were Nicola Brazil, who got a lot of laughs as Mary Delgado, but she also nailed the more emotional scenes opposite JLY. I loved Tom Goodridge and Sean Mulligan (Tom's Love Muffin scene was very funny).
I'm guessing Matt Thorpe is second cover based on the new cast coming in. Ben is definitely one of the best understudies I've seen and for him to be 3rd cover again is quite shocking. I would say his falsetto is not as strong as others, but he's consistently been excellent acting wise - and his version of Can't Take My Eyes Off You is fantastic.
If Your Mother Were Here, Don't Ya Pinch Me Charlie, It Must Be Believed to be Seen and Simply Second Nature are my favourites - but there's nothing in this score that is as good as Good Morning Baltimore or You Can't Stop The Beat from Hairspray. Hairspray remains Shaiman and Wittman's best show by a long way.