Gemma Collins is joining the cast of Chicago the Musical and theatre fans have some thoughts.
The meme queen and reality TV star will appear in the iconic musical as Mama Morton for the show’s UK tour.
The news was announced on social media, with the caption: “It’s official! The one and only GC is about to bring a whole lotta razzle dazzle to the Chicago UK tour.”
She will join the tour at the Sunderland Empire from 31 May, ahead of playing Cardiff’s New Theatre, Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, Sheffield’s Lyceum, Norwich’s Theatre Royal and Oxford’s New Theatre.
The show’s producer, David Ian says: “We were completely stunned by Gemma’s audition for the role.
“She’s an undeniable force both on and off stage, and we can’t wait to see her portrayal of Mama Morton on tour. Audiences across the country are in for a treat.”
The news has received a mix reaction from Chicago fans, with some noting that many theatre actors have been out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic.
One Twitter user wrote: “Fully trained professional actors, dancers and singers have lost work. The casting director should be ashamed casting a celebrity rather than an actor in this production.”
As is the live arts hadn’t suffered enough in the last two years! Fully trained professional actors, dancers and singers have lost work. The casting director should be ashamed casting a celebrity rather than an actor in this production. https://t.co/rzCsTY3R3N
— Fiona (@LucidWhim) March 29, 2022
Another added, “we’ve took star casting in Chicago too far now” and somebody else said: “it’s gotta be an April fool stunt. Can’t be real.”
Others came to Gemma’s defense with one writing: “The producer legit said he was blown away by her audition but you want to sit here and criticise a performance you’ve never seen by someone who went to stage school as a child.”
Another added, “TAKE MY MONEY”, while Drag Race UK star Kitty Scott Claus said, “I love this” and asked if Gemma needed an understudy.
Somebody else referenced one of her many memes, saying: “she was originally gonna play one of the prisoners, but she refused because she’s CLAUSTROPHOBIC, DARREN.”
she was originally gonna play one of the prisoners, but she refused because she’s cLAUSTROPHOBIC, DARREN https://t.co/rCZ9V9Cn48
— Tony ‘Flynn’ Baloney (@babyleafsaladd) March 29, 2022
Collins will have a solo number in the show, with Mama Morton having the spotlight during “When You’re Good to Mama”.
The musical’s soundtrack also features the likes of “All That Jazz”, “Cell Block Tango”, “Roxie” and “Nowadays”.
Gemma Collins joins Faye Brookes as Roxie Hart, Djalenga Scott as Velma Kelly, Jamie Baughan as Amos Hart and B.E. Wong as Mary Sunshine on the tour.
The role Mama Morton has previously been played by Queen Latifah in the 2002 Oscar-winning film adaption.
How to get Chicago the Musical tickets
The tour is also set to visit Manchester, Bristol, Sunderland, Dublin and Leeds throughout 2022. These shows will feature different actors in the role of Mama Morton, and you can find out more about the cast on the official website.