Andrew Lloyd Webber is eyeing Julian Ovenden to star in the new musical he's written with his former Sunset Boulevard collaborators Don Black and Christopher Hampton, according to the New York Post. Richard Eyre (Mary Poppins) has signed on to direct the musical, which explores the infamous Profumo Affair and the collapse of Britain’s Conservative Macmillan government in 1963. A reading of the show is set to take place in London in February.
As previously reported, the musical tells the story of John Profumo, Secretary of State for war under Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, who had an affair with a call girl named Christine Keeler. Lloyd Webber would like Ovenden to play Stephen Ward, an osteopath who introduced Profumo to Keeler. Ward was accused and tried for pimping out women in the scandal, and though the charges were ultimately dropped, he killed himself soon after the trial.
Ovenden is set to appear on NBC’s Broadway dramedy Smash. He is best known to British audiences for his TV roles on Foyle’s War and Any Human Heart. Ovenden made his Broadway debut in Butley and headlined the off-Broadway musical Death Takes a Holiday. His U.K. stage credits include Merrily We Roll Along, Grand Hotel and Annie Get Your Gun. Ovenden also recently originated the role of J.M. Barrie in the new musical adaptation of Finding Neverland.