Ex-soap star’s lead role in Shawshank

Paul Nicholls, lead character in Shawshank Redemption at Blackpool in November
Paul Nicholls, lead character in Shawshank Redemption at Blackpool in November
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Actors Paul Nicholls, Jack Ellis and Ben Onwukwe will take the lead roles in new production The Shawshank Redemption when it heads to Blackpool Opera House this November.

Best known for his role as heartthrob Joe Wicks in Eastenders, Paul Nicholls (pictured) is to play jailed banker Andy Dufresne.

Ben Onwukwe will take on the role of prisoner Red, his latest casting in a 30-year career spanning stage and screen, most notably as Stuart ‘Recall’ McKenzie from London’s Burning who he played for over a decade.

Keeping them in line, Jack Ellis becomes Warden Stammas, a role he is perfectly suited to as it will be the second time he has portrayed a prison warden having starred in Bad Girls as Jim Fenner.

The Shawshank Redemption will run at Blackpool Opera House from Monday November 14 to Saturday November 19.

Winter Gardens Managing Director Michael Williams said: “The casting for the Shawshank Redemption is fantastic and we’re sure that audiences are going to love the show when it arrives.

“Many people will have fond memories of the film so seeing it transformed for the stage is really exciting.

“To have such an iconic adaptation coming to the Winter Gardens is brilliant news for Blackpool.”

The movie starred Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne and Morgan Freeman as Ellis ‘Red’ Redding and was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor for Freeman.

Directed by award-winning Broadway director David Esbjornson, the stage production is an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, which was made into the 1994 Oscar Award winning film The Shawshank Redemption and is regularly voted as the nation’s favourite film.

For more information and tickets go to www.wintergardensblackpool.com