Gary Barlow’s Girls heads to the West End

The Girls. Image by John Swannell
The Girls. Image by John Swannell

Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s new British musical, The Girls is heading to the Phoenix Theatre, London, this January.

Based on The Calendar Girls, Firth’s true story, film and award-winning play, the West End premiere follows sold-out runs at the Grand Theatre Leeds and the Lowry Salford late 2015/early 2016.

Tickets are on sale from midday and producers, David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers and The Shubert Organization, have made a commitment to there being no ‘premium-rated’ seats, no booking fees and reduced price previews.

The Girls will be played by Debbie Chazen, Sophie-Louise Dann, Michele Dotrice, Claire Machin, Claire Moore and Joanna Riding.

Also in the cast will be Joe Caffrey, Jeremy Clyde, John Davitt, Soo Drouet, James Gaddas, Jenny Gayner, Steve Giles, Maxwell Hutcheon, Shirley Jameson, Marian McLoughlin, Judith Street, Jane Lambert, Rebecca Lewis, Victoria Blackburn, Frazer Hadfield and introducing Josh Benson, Ben Hunter and Chloe May Jackson.

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, and have to date raised over £4million for the UK specialist blood cancer charity, Bloodwise.

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.

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.

Debbie Chazen played Ethel Kingsley in Mike Leigh’s film Topsy-Turvy and her many television credits include the lead roles of Annie in Smoking Room and Kelly-Su Crabtree in Psychoville. Sophie-Louise Dann’s West End credits include Bend It Like Beckham, Made in Dagenham, Lend me a Tenor, for which she received an Olivier Award nomination, and Forbidden Broadway.

Michele Dotrice is perhaps best known for her role as Betty opposite Michael Crawford in the BBC’s highly successful series, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. Her most recent West End stage appearances include Nell Gwynn, for which she received an Olivier Award nomination, The Importance of Being Earnest and When We Are Married.

Claire Machin’s credits include My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins, Betty Blue Eyes and Memphis. Claire Moore originated the role of Ellen in Miss Saigon. Her other credits include Christine in The Phantom of the Opera, Fantine and Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables and the National Theatre’s award-winning London Road.

Joanna Riding won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical twice for her roles as Julie in Carousel at the National Theatre and as Eliza Doolitle in My Fair Lady.

The Girls runs at the Phoenix Theatre from January 28.

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