From Ben Forster to Ruthie Henshall... the musical theatre stars of Blackpool's Livewire Festival

John Owen-Jones
John Owen-Jones
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The stars of this year's Livewire will bring a touch of West End magic to the Blackpool Tower Headland as the festival goes from movies to musicals.

Musical theatre star Ben Forshaw, from Sunderland, is best known for his role of Jesus in the Andrew Lloyd Webber play 'Jesus Christ Superstar'. But he also took leading roles as nerdy, repressed Brad Majors in the 40th anniversary tour of The Rocky Horror Show in 2016, and as Buddy in Elf: The Musical at the Dominion Theatre in London's West End.

Ben Forster

Ben Forster

Since 2016, he has portrayed the tortured titular character of the Phantom Of The Opera in London.

Joining him on stage is Kelly Ellis, who is also best known for her experience in musical theatre. She made her West End debut in 2001 as an understudy in My Fair Lady, and went on to star in leading roles in We Will Rock You, Les Miserables, and Miss Saigon. She played the misunderstood Witch of the West in Wicked in London in 2007, a role which she held for two years, and was voted the public's favourite West End actress in the role in 2013.

She replaced Blackpool's Jodie Prenger as Nancy in Oliver in 2010. In 2015, she took over the lead role of Grizabella in Cats at the London Palladium.

Ruthie Henshall is another West End actor whose musical career spans more than 30 years. She has appeared in 40 theatre productions and starred in leading roles from Fantine in Les Miserables to Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart in Chicago. In 1995 she won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Amalia Balash in She Loves Me.

Kerry Ellis

Kerry Ellis

Welsh actor John Owen-Jones is known for playing Jean Valjean Les Misérables and The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera. He was London's most enduring Phantom, performing the role more than 1,400 times from 2001 until 2005.

His other theatre work includes The Boys from Syracuse, The Merchant of Venice, The Sound of Music, The Hypochondriac, and Le Médecin Volant.

The musical stars will perform at Livewire on Sunday, August 25, one day after American singer and rapper Lauryn Hill. Tickets for the event will go on sale at 10am on Friday, April 12, at www.livewirefestival.co.uk

Ruthie Henshall

Ruthie Henshall