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Producers announce who will play Cilla Black in new musical celebrating the former Blind Date presenter’s rise to fame

PUBLISHED: 13:13 24 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:14 24 July 2017

Kara Lily Hayworth

Kara Lily Hayworth

Jono Symonds Photography

The show is coming to Dartford next year

Following weeks of open auditions at venues across the country, the producers of Cilla - The Musical, have announced that Kara Lily Hayworth will play the leading role.

The musical, which will be at Dartford’s Orchard Theatre from January 16-20, is an adaptation of the ITV mini-series based on the early life of Cilla Black, by Bafta award-winner Jeff Pope.

The story follows the life of the ordinary teenage girl from Liverpool, Priscilla White, and her rocky rise to fame.

By the age of 25 she was recognised as international singing star Cilla Black.

The musical score will be a 60s soundtrack including Cilla’s greatest hits, Anyone Who Had A Heart, Alfie, and Something Tells Me, alongside a backdrop of ‘Liverpool Sound’ including the Beatles’ Twist and Shout and American influences like California Dreamin by The Mamas and The Papas.

Kara, from Watford, queued for four hours at London’s Dominion Theatre to have her chance to audition in the first rounds. She made it through to the final 30 before being chosen to do her final audition at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

Executive producer and Cilla’s son, Robert Willis, said: “We wanted somebody who wasn’t going to impersonate my mum but someone who could capture her spirit. Kara came in with her huge personality and amazing voice - when I saw the response of the audience at the Cavern, I knew she was the one my mum would have wanted.”

Kara trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She recently perfoemed in the Secret Cinema’s Moulin Rouge and this will be her first leasing role in a musical and her first time on tour.

She said: “When I was 11 I was shopping with my mum and bumped into Cilla and asked her for an autograph. I told her I wanted to be an actress - she laughed ans said ‘It’s a tough industry but if you really work hard and go for it, you’ll be just fine’.

“She was a huge inspiration to me as a child; I grew up watching her on Blind Date every Saturday night with my nan. To be chosen to play her is such an honour and I’m so excited to take on the role. To open in her hometown of Liverpool is also really special and a real privilege.”

For more information and tickets visit orchardtheatre.co.uk.

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