Fans of Gary Barlow, Musical Theatre and partial nudity rejoice! It was officially announced on Sunday that a new musical version of 2003 hit Brit-Flick Calendar Girls (now renamed simply as 'The Girls') is on its way.
Take That superstar Gary Barlow has teamed up with longtime friend and original screenplay author Tim Firth to once again re-visit those cheeky Yorkshire Ladies, who sent the Women's Institute into a spin with their decision to pose nude for a calendar to raise money for charity.
After the success of Firth's stage play, which premiered at the Chichester Festival in 2008 and subsequently opened at the West End's Noël Coward Theatre in 2009 (and also enjoyed two National Tours), it was only a matter of time before the world would see the Girls not just in all their glory, but in all their singing glory!
Gary Barlow and Tim Firth made a trip to a Village Hall in Burnsall, North Yorkshire (where the famous story originally began), to lead a rehearsed reading of the new musical, which was met with deafening applause by the locals, industry professionals, and even the original ‘Calendar Girls’ themselves.
Afterward Gary and Tim released a statement saying, “We are over the moon with the reception our new musical The Girls has had here in Burnsall, and to have received the ecstatic blessing of the original Calendar Girls is something that is so so special to us. We look forward to its world premiere on November 14th at the Leeds Grand Theatre.”
Yes, surely The Girls will be heading to the West End at some point in 2016, but it is only right that this Yorkshire-born and Yorkshire-bred story should have its World Premiere in Yorkshire. The musical will play the Leeds Grand Theatre from 14th November to 12th December 2015, before journeying over the border to Lancashire to play The Lowry in Salford from 13th to 30th January 2016.
For those of you unfamiliar with the heartwarming tale of the W.I.'s finest, 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."
The Girls will be directed by Roger Haines and Tim Firth, and feature scenic design by Rob Jones, comedy staging by Jos Houben, lighting design by Tim Lutkin and sound design by Terry Jardine and Nick Lidster.
The 2003 movie starred Dame Helen Mirren, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for 'Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy,' along with Julie Walters, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton, and Linda Bassett. The stage play showcased a revolving door of talented actresses over the years, including Lynda Bellingham, Patricia Hodge, Siân Phillips, Elaine C. Smith, June Brown, Jerry Hall and many others. The question now remains: who will play the iconic roles of Chris and Annie in the musical adaptation? And perhaps just as important: are they going to need bigger buns?!