Olivier winner Nigel Harman will channel infamous reality TV judge Simon Cowell in the new musical I Can’t Sing—The X Factor Musical, according to U.K.’s Daily Mail.
Thankfully for director Sean Foley and writers Steve Brown and Harry Hill, the toughest critic of all—Cowell himself—approves of the casting choice. “The hardest thing was: how do you find someone who’s good-looking, talented and can look like me?” Cowell said. “And then we found Nigel!”
In addition to Harman, the musical will star The Color Purple’s Cynthia Erivo as Chernice, the only girl in the world who has never seen The X Factor because her Grandad’s iron lung interferes with the signal in her caravan. When she accidentally stumbles into an audition with her talking dog, she starts a journey to both stardom and love. The production begins performances February 27, 2014 at the London Palladium, with an official opening night on March 26. No additional casting has been announced.
“I’m not mental about musicals,” Cowell said, adding that with the exception of Jersey Boys, “I normally get bored.” But I Can’t Sing is different. “They completely ripped into me, and they make fun of X Factor in a very positive way. It’s not a puff piece.” Cowell is especially fond of a song called “Fabulous,” which he loves because it’s about him. “I’ve got that as my ringtone,” he joked.
Harman won an Olivier Award for his performance as Lord Farquaad in Shrek. His additional West End credits include Privates on Parade, Guys and Dolls and Three Days of Rain. He played Dennis Rackman on BBC’s EastEnders. Erivo currently plays Celie in The Color Purple at the Menier Chocolate Factory. She also appeared in the U.K. tour of Sister Act.