Related video: Gemma Collins falls off stage at the Radio 1 Teen Awards

Cheryl Crashaw

When it comes to naming some of the greatest names in musical theatre, The Only Way is Essex star Gemma Collins may not be the first person who comes to mind.

Yet in an announcement which has angered fans of the stage, the TV personality is set to star as Mama Morton in the UK and Ireland tour of the international hit Chicago.

Numbers from the popular production include “Cell Block Tango” and “All That Jazz”, with the GC due to take to the stage when the show stops off at Sunderland in May.

Posting on Instagram, Collins wrote the news was “the proudest achievement of my life” and the “finest moment of my career”.

“I’m so excited,” she said.

Theatre producer David Ian added that the creative team were “completely stunned” by Collins’ audition for the character, adding that the reality star is an “undeniable force both on and off stage”.

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He said: “We can’t wait to see her portrayal of ‘Mama Morton’ on tour. Audiences across the country are in for a treat.”

Though not everyone is on board with the casting announcement, as Twitter users soon accused the show of “stunt casting” – where a celebrity is cast in a role as a “publicity stunt” in a bid to boost sales:

Others, meanwhile, have noted Chicago is “famous for stunt casting”:

Then there’s the small matter of her performance on the celebrity edition of ITV show All Together Now, in which she “stumbles” through a rendition of "This Is Me" from The Greatest Showman.

Gemma Collins stumbles in The Greatest Showman performance | All Together Now Celebritieswww.youtube.com


'The GC' is set to star alongside Coronation Street actress Faye Brookes and Annie’s Djalenga Scott when her part of the tour begins on 31 May.

She is then due to perform in Cardiff, Blackpool, Sheffield and Norwich, before taking her final bow in Oxford at the end of July.

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