The new cast of Calendar Girls The Musical met for the first time with the original Calendar Girls themselves in the village of Burnsall in the Yorkshire Dales today.
The new production, which will tour nearly every theatre in the British Isles, opens at the Leeds Grand Theatre on 16 August 2018.
The new tour will star novelist and television presenter Fern Britton, returning to the stage for the first time in 30 years, as Marie, with Lorraine Bruce (Vernon God Little) as Cora and Anna-Jane Casey (Stepping Out, Annie Get Your Gun) as Annie.
Also playing The Girls are: Sara Crowe (Bedroom Farce, The Real Inspector Hound & Black Comedy) as Ruth, Ruth Madoc (Hi-De-Hi, Gypsy) as Jessie, Rebecca Storm (discovered by Willy Russell and cast as Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers) as Chris, Denise Welch (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Coronation Street) as Celia and Karen Dunbar (BBC1 Scotland’s sketch shows The Karen Dunbar Show and Chewin’ The Fat) as Cora.
Also joining the cast will be Phil Corbitt as John, Ian Mercer as Rod, Sebastian Aberneri as Colin, Alan Stocks as Denis, Pauline Daniels as Lady Cravenshire, Ellie Leah as Miss Wilson, Catherine Digges as Miss Wilson, Danny Howker as Danny and Tyler Dobbs as Tommo.
The critically acclaimed musical comedy by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, which is based on the true story, the film and the award-winning play by Firth, played a six-month London season at the Phoenix Theatre last year, and, before that, it played sold-out seasons in Leeds and Manchester.
Barlow and Firth grew up in the same village in the North of England and have been friends for 25 years. With Take That, Barlow has written and co-written 14 number one singles, has sold over 50 million records worldwide and is a six-time Ivor Novello Award winner. Firth has won the Olivier Award and UK Theatre Award for Best New Musical, and the British Comedy Awards Best Comedy Film for Calendar Girls.
Calendar Girls The Musical 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 almost £5 million for Bloodwise. The charity will continue to receive monies from this production.
The musical is directed by Matt Ryan and designed by Robert Jones, with lighting by Oliver Fenwick, comedy staging by Jos Houben, movement by Lucy Hind and casting by Sarah Bird.