Unexpected Joy


25th April to 20th May 2018 – York Theatre at St. Peter’s Church, New York City

6th to 29th September 2018 – Southwark Playhouse


The new Bill Russell (book and lyrics) and Janet Hood (Music) musical, Unexpected Joy, received its Off-Broadway premiere at The York Theatre Company
from 24 April – 2 May 2018, before a run at Southwark Playhouse from 6 – 29 September 2018.


UNEXPECTED JOY is the story of three generations of female singers, long-held family tensions and a week together where change is in the air – Joy, a baby boomer pop star, is visited by her daughter, Rachel and granddaughter Tamara.  Rachel is married to a prominent televangelist, so Joy is reluctant to divulge that she’s planning to marry Lou, another singer who happens to be a woman.  A week with all four together is bound to lead to tension, laughter, discoveries and happiness that really is unexpected.  Let the sparks and music fly!


Through laughter, tears, self-discovery, and an original and compelling score, UNEXPECTED JOY encourages its characters, as well as the audience, to take a journey of self-discovery because, at the end of the day, we really are all just one big family.


With Book and Lyrics by Bill Russell (Tony-nominated for Side Show) and Music by Janet Hood (Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens).


Joy – Janet Fullerlove
Rachel – Jodie Jacobs
Tamara – Kelly Sweeney
Lou – Melanie Marshall



Director – Amy Anders Corcoran
Musical Director – Gareth Bretherton
Designer – Verity Johnson
Lighting Designer – Nic Farman
Sound Designer – James Nicholson
Casting Director – Jane Deitch
General Manager – Chris Matanlé for Aria Entertainment
Producer – Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment

“the perfect recipe for a great night’s entertainment” – MUSICAL THEATRE REVIEW ★★★★★

“A joyful thing indeed” – ATTITUDE MAGAZINE ★★★★★

“Make sure to pay Unexpected Joy a visit” – LONDONTHEATRE1 ★★★★★

“powerful, roof-raising vocals.” – BRITISH THEATRE ★★★★

“a compelling and joyful production” – BROADWAYWORLD ★★★★