Jenna Russell to Lead THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY at Menier Chocolate Factory

It’s been announced that Olivier Award-winning actress Jenna Russell is to lead the UK premiere of Jason Robert Brown’s THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY this summer at Menier Chocolate Factory.

Russell will play the role of Francesca in Trevor Nunn’s new staging at the Southwark venue, running between 13th July and 14th September.

Russell said: ‘David Babani (the Menier’s artistic director) mentioned the musical to me a couple of years ago, and when we met up in New York last year I told him I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So he said ‘okay, let’s do it.’

‘I’m really excited, I love Jason Robert Brown’s music and have loved singing it for many years. It’s a different kind of singing to what I’m used to but I’m really looking forward to it. This is my third time back at the Menier too – the place is like a home from home. The beauty of the space is the intimacy and with a story like this it puts the spotlight on something really delicate.’

THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY marks Russell’s third production at the Menier Chocolate Factory, having previously performed there in SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE (Olivier Award and Tony nomination), and MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG (Olivier nomination). Russell’s other credits include FUN HOME at the Young Vic (Olivier nomination), GREY GARDENS at Southwark Playhouse and INTO THE WOODS at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Russell is also known to audiences for her screen role in EastEnders between 2016 and 2018.

Based on Robert James Waller’s bestselling 1992 novel, THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY tells the story of a married but lonely Italian-American woman living on an Iowa farm in the 1960s, who, while her husband and children are away, engages in an affair with a visiting National Geographic photographer. The novel was one of the best selling books of the 20th Century and spawned a 1995 film adaptation starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood.

Following a pre-Broadway run in 2013, THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY premiered on Broadway in 2014 in a production that starred Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale. Although well received by critics, the production only ran for four months, closing after 137 performances. The musical did however receive  four Tony Award-nominations that year, winning two for Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations.

Trevor Nunn’s new production will feature designs by Jon Bausor, lighting by Tim Lutkin, sound by Gregory Clarke, and musical supervision and direction by Tom Murray.

THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY runs at Menier Chocolate Factory from 13th July to 14th September with opening night scheduled for 23rd July. Tickets are on sale now.

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