Chicago stage show announces new Mama Morton after Gemma Collins drops out

The former The Only Way is Essex star reportedly suffered a knee injury.

Brenda Edwards (Ian West/PA)

By Alex Green, PA Acting Deputy Entertainment Editor

Brenda Edwards will replace Gemma Collins as Mama Morton in the touring production of Chicago, it has been announced.

The Loose Women panellist and former X Factor contestant, 53, will join the cast for dates in June and July.

Edwards, the mother of late music entrepreneur Jamal Edwards, made her West End debut playing the fearsome matron of the women’s ward at Cook County Jail in 2007.

Gemma Collins as Mama Morton in Chicago (Matt Crockett/PA)

Former The Only Way is Essex star Collins was due to make her debut with the musical at the Sunderland Empire this month but pulled out over a reported knee injury.

Edwards, who has also appeared in Hairspray, Carousel and We Will Rock You, will now take her place, starting on June 2.

She will star alongside the previously announced cast of Lee Mead as Billy Flynn, Faye Brookes as Roxie Hart, Djalenga Scott as Velma Kelly, Jamie Baughan as Amos Hart and BE Wong as Mary Sunshine.

Her run will continue until July 23 with dates at Cardiff New Theatre, Winter Gardens Blackpool, Sheffield Lyceum Theatre, Norwich Theatre Royal and New Theatre Oxford.

Chicago is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins and has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse with music by John Kander.

Jamal Edwards died on February 20 from a heart attack at the age of 31.

The influential music entrepreneur found fame after setting up the music platform SBTV in 2006, and was credited with helping to launch a string of UK music acts to stardom, including Ed Sheeran, Dave and Jessie J.

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