The Girls – 67-year-old understudy makes West End debut in leading role

JUDITH STREETIn spite of intensive medical treatment, Michele Dotrice, who has never missed a performance in her entire career, has been diagnosed with acute bronchitis and is therefore unable to perform for the time being.

The part of Jessie in Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s new British musical The Girls will now be played by Judith Street, who at 67 is making her West End debut in a leading role.  For her, this is a dream come true.

Gary Barlow and Tim Firth said: “Having seen Judith in rehearsals, how lucky we are that an actress such as she will be playing the part of Jessie.”

The Girls is based on the true story, the film and the award-winning play by Tim Firth, Calendar Girls. Performances began at the Phoenix Theatre on 28 January 2017 and the musical officially opens on Tuesday 21 February.

The West End premiere follows sold-out runs at the Grand Theatre Leeds and the Lowry Salford late 2015/early 2016. In the West End, the producers have made a commitment to there being no ‘premium-rated’ seats, no booking fees and reduced price previews.

Performing alongside Judith Street as the ‘Girls’ will be Debbie Chazen as Ruth, Sophie-Louise Dann as Celia, Claire Machin as Cora, Claire Moore as Chris and Joanna Riding as Annie.

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 £4 million for 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, Barlow has written and co-written 14 number one singles, has sold more than 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.

The Girls is directed by Tim Firth, with musical staging by Lizzi Gee, comedy staging by Jos Houben, design by Robert Jones, lighting design by Tim Lutkin, sound design by Terry Jardine and Nick Lidster, musical direction and orchestrations by Richard Beadle, with casting by Sarah Bird, and associate producer is U-Live.

The show is produced by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and The Shubert Organization.

Bloodwise, the UK’s specialist blood cancer charity, will receive monies from the production.

Tickets for The Girls are available HERE.

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