Neal Street News

Full company announced for Local Hero at Chichester Festival Theatre

The full cast has been announced for Local Hero, running at Chichester’s Minerva Theatre from 8 October – 19 November. Based on the Bill Forsyth film, with book by David Greig and music and lyrics by Mark Knopfler (formerly of Dire Straits), it will be directed by Chichester Artistic Director Daniel Evans, whose production of South Pacific is currently playing at Sadler’s Wells before embarking on a UK & Ireland tour.

The Tony Award-winning American actor Gabriel Ebert will make his UK stage debut as Mac, with Lillie Flynn (as Stella), Paul Higgins (as Gordon), Hilton McRae (as Ben), Jay Villiers (as Happer), and Rodney Earl Clarke, Ali Craig, Julie Cullen, Liz Ewing, Murray Fraser, Craig Hunter, Rachael Kendall Brown, Jackie Morrison, Joshua Manning and Betty Valencia.

Daniel Evans said: ‘I came to Local Hero innocently; the film having passed me by in my childhood. However, the minute I read David Greig’s warm, witty book and heard Mark Knopfler’s seductive folk score, I fell hook, line and sinker. I then watched Bill Forsyth’s extraordinary film and appreciated its resonance immediately. It’s a story for our time where communities and corporations collide. It asks us to readdress how we look at the world by interrogating what we value.’

It’s 1983 and hotshot Texan oil executive Mac MacIntyre is dispatched to the tiny Scottish fishing village of Ferness with $30million in his pocket. The bay may have views to die for but it’s the only place that can take the tankers from an offshore oil field, so it’s up to Mac to seal a deal on the locals’ homes and put a refinery in their place.

The villagers aren’t averse to cashing in on the black gold and Gordon, the local hotelier-lawyer-accountant-ceilidh organiser, proves a surprisingly tough negotiator.

But they’ve all overlooked one very important person. And as the northern lights dance in the skies, Mac comes to realise that not everything of value is for sale.

The book by David Greig (Artistic Director of Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre), based on Bill Forsyth’s iconic film, features new songs by the legendary Mark Knopfler. This new musical version of Local Hero will win devotees from admirers of the beloved film as well as those coming fresh to this funny and enchanting story.

Gabriel Ebert (Mac)’s many Broadway and off-Broadway roles include Mr Wormwood in Matilda The Musical, for which he won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical; The Misanthrope, Pass Over (Lucille Lortel Award), 4000 Miles (Obie Award), Thérèse Raquin and the title role in Peer Gynt. His screen work includes Dickinson, News of the World, Mr Mercedes and The Mandalorian.

Lillie Flynn (Stella) previously appeared at Chichester in Love Story; her many other musical credits include Sunny Afternoon and Wicked in the West End.

Paul Higgins (Gordon)’s extensive TV work includes The Ipcress Files, Line of Duty, The Thick of It and Utopia; his stage credits include the National Theatre of Scotland’s Caledonia and Black Watch, and Children of the Sun and The White Guard at the National Theatre.

Hilton McRae (Ben) returns to Chichester where he last appeared in My One and Only which transferred to London; his innumerable West End theatre credits also include End of the Rainbow (for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award), 1984, Mamma Mia!, Miss Saigon, and Timon of Athens at the National Theatre.

Jay Villiers (Happer)’s previous Chichester credits include Quiz (also in the West End), Arcadia, The Admirable Crichton and Mansfield Park; his screen work includes Outlander and Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.

Daniel Evans’s previous Chichester productions include South Pacific, Quiz, Fiddler on the Roof and this season’s Our Generation.

Local Hero will be designed by Frankie Bradshaw, with lighting design by Paule Constable with Ryan Day, sound design by Paul Arditti, musical direction by Richard John, movement direction by Sasha Milavic Davies and video design by Ash J Woodward. The music producer is Guy Fletcher; with orchestrations and arrangements by Dave Milligan, casting by Charlotte Sutton CDG and US casting by Jim Carnahan.