Friday, May 27

Gary Barlow & Tim Firth's the Girls musical heading for West End in January

Gary Barlow and Tim Firth's musical adaptation of Calendar Girls is transferring to the West End next year. The Girls will begin performances at the Phoenix Theatre in January  2017 with tickets on sale from 12 noon on 16th September.

The Girls premiered at the Leeds Grand Theatre in late 2015 with a  second out-of-town tryout at The Lowry in Salford in early 2016.

Since then Firth, Barlow and producers David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers have been on the look out for the right theatre. And now they’ve found it. They have been fine-tuning  the musical since it ran in Leeds and Salford Quays and will continue to work on it until rehearsals start in December.

Barlow and Firth said in a statement: It has been four years in the making. Then, just over a year ago, we premiered at the village hall in Yorkshire, where the Calendar Girls did their first ever photoshoot.It’s been a little like tending a sunflower: from seeding it in Yorkshire, to now seeing it bloom in London’s West End. 
The Girls  is inspired by the true story of a group of ladies, who decide to appear nude for a Women's Institute calendar in order to raise funds to buy a settee for their local hospital, in memory of one of their husbands. This musical comedy shows life in their Yorkshire village, how it happened, the effect on husbands, sons and daughters, and how a group of ordinary ladies achieved something extraordinary.

 It is based on the 2003 film Calendar Girls which featured a screenplay by Tim Firth and Juliette Towhidi based on a true story of a group of Yorkshire women who produced a nude calendar to raise money for Leukaemia Research under the auspices of the Women's Institutes in April 1999.  It was a major success with  an ensemble cast headed by Helen Mirren and Julie Walters, with Linda Bassett, Annette Crosbie, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton and Geraldine James playing key supporting roles. 
Casting for the West End transfer is yet to be announced and currently under negotiation, but previously included Debbie Chazen as Ruth, Sara Kestelman as Jessie, Claire Machin as Cora, Claire Moore as Chris, Vivien Parry as Celia, Joanna Riding as Annie and Harriet Thorpe as Marie. Also in the cast were Stephen Boswell as Colin, Joe Caffrey as Rod, Jeremy Clyde as Denis, Susan Fay as Brenda, Steve Giles as Lawrence, Richard Huw as John, Shirley Jameson as Miss Wilson, Judith Street as Lady Cravenshire and Karen West as the other Miss Wilson.
 Gary Barlow and Tim Firth grew up in the same village in the north of England and have been friends for 25 years. With Take That, Gary has written and co-written 14 number one singles, has sold over 50 million records worldwide and is a six times Ivor Novello Award winner. Tim has won the Olivier Award and UK Theatre Award for Best New Musical, and the British Comedy Awards Best Comedy Film for Calendar Girls.

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