Take That star Gary Barlow has lent his musical magic to the Calendar Girls story, by penning songs for a new version of the stage show.
The singer-songwriter has written a new adaptation of the true story about members of the Women’s Institute from a Yorkshire village who posed for a nude charity calendar in 1999 following the death of Angela Baker’s husband, John, from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Gary and Tim Firth, who wrote the stage show, surprised an audience by attending a rehearsal of the show at the village hall in Burnsall, North Yorkshire, along with the original Calendar Girls.
— Gary Barlow (@GaryBarlow) March 22, 2015
Gary told the Manchester Evening News: “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.”
The original calendar – which saw the ladies pose nude behind strategically placed flowers and cakes – hit the headlines, and was made into an award-winning film starring Julie Walters and Dame Helen Mirren in 2003.
Helen Mirren and Julie Walters starred in Calendar Girls the movie (Yui Mok/PA)
It then became a stage play in 2008 and had a long and successful tour of the country, with a changing cast that included Coronation Street star Julie Goodyear, Kelly Brook and the late Lynda Bellingham.
Gary’s new musical will premiere at Leeds Grand Theatre in November followed by The Lowry in Manchester. It will raise funds for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
The original Calendar Girls (John Swannel)
This is the second musical score to be written by Gary, who previously penned the music and lyrics for a stage version of the film Finding Neverland, about the playwrite JM Barrie and the family who inspired him to create Peter Pan.
Finding Neverland, starring Glee actor Matthew Morrison, officially opens on Broadway on April 15.