Frances Ruffelle Stars on UK Tour of ‘Piaf’

Frances Ruffelle will star as Edith Piaf in the upcoming U.K. tour of Pam Gem’s “Piaf.”

The regional production of the production will begin previews on February 22, 2013 at Curve in Leicester, England, with the official opening night scheduled for February 26. That engagement will run through March 16, and is scheduled to embark on the U.K. tour after that date. More information about cities and dates for the tour will be announced at a later date.

“Piaf” originally was presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1979 at the Donmar Warehouse before transferring to West End and then Broadway. Jane Lapotaire portrayed the title role in those productions.

“Known to all as Piaf, the sparrow that rose from the streets of Paris to the international stage, Edith Gassion’s life and career was as unique as her singing voice,” writes Playbill.com from press notes. “Over one hundred thousand people brought Paris to a standstill on the occasion of her untimely death 50 years ago in 1963. Gems’ play brings to life and celebrates the story of one of France’s greatest cultural icons, and includes some of her greatest songs, such as ‘La Vie en Rose,’ ‘Mon Dieu,’ ‘Hymne a l’Amour’ and ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette.’”

Ruffelle is probably best known for originating the role of Eponine in the original Royal Shakespeare/Cameron Mackintosh production of “Les Miserables.” She won a Tony Award when she reprised the role on Broadway. She most recently appeared on stage in London portraying Frastrada in “Pippin” at the Menier Chocolate Factory. She also played the role of Roxie Hart in the West End production of “Chicago,” as well as Dinah in “Starlight Express.” Additionally, she starred in her own show “Beneath the Dress,” and she will make a cameo appearance in the upcoming new film version of “Les Miserables,” which is set to be released later this month.