West End favorite Ben Freeman will take on the iconic role of The Fonz in the U.K. premiere and national tour of Happy Days — A New Musical, alongside Cheryl Baker as Mrs. Cunningham and the previously announced Heidi Range as Pinky Tuscadero. Directed and choreographed by Olivier nominee Andrew Wright, the show will launch a national tour following its premiere at the Churchill Theatre Bromley on January 14, 2014.
Featuring a book by Garry Marshall (creator of the popular series which ran from 1974-1984) and music and lyrics by Paul Williams, Happy Days finds the Cunninghams and the rest of the gang—including Potsie, Ralph Malph, Joanie, Chachi and, of course, The Fonz—battling to save their beloved diner Arnold’s from demolition. Series star Henry Winkler (a.k.a. The Fonz) serves as a creative consultant.
Freeman is currently starring as Fiyero in Wicked at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre. His other West End credits include Legally Blonde and Dreamboats and Petticoats. Freeman is best known to U.K. TV audiences as Scott Windsor in Emmerdale. Baker is best known as a member of the pop group Bucks Fizz. She made her theater debut in the musical Footloose, starring in both the inaugural tour and in the West End. Baker's other theater credits include Beauty and the Beast and Menopause The Musical.
Happy Days premiered in 2006 at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, California (with Broadway stars like Andy Karl and Rory O'Malley) before playing the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut and New Jersey's famed Papermill Playhouse. The musical then launched its first national tour across the U.S. and even received an Italian translation in 2011 by Compagnia della Rancia.
Following the U.K. premiere, Happy Days will continue onwards through Brighton, Hull, Dublin, Southampton, Sheffield, Glasgow, Bristol, Norwich, Southend, Woking, Cambridge, Sunderland, Cardiff, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dartford, Canterbury, Plymouth, Wolverhampton, Milton Keynes, Salford and Nottingham.