Calendar Girls (musical)

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Calendar Girls
Original West End promotional art
MusicGary Barlow
LyricsGary Barlow and Tim Firth
BookTim Firth
Basis2003 film Calendar Girls
PremiereNovember 2015: Grand Theatre, Leeds
Productions2015 Leeds
2016 Salford
2017 West End
2018 UK Tour
Awards2017 Best Regional Production WhatsOnStage Awards

Calendar Girls (previously titled The Girls) is a musical with music by Gary Barlow, lyrics by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, and a book by Tim Firth. The musical is based on the 2003 film Calendar Girls, which is in turn based on a true story.


Annie's husband John dies from leukaemia at an early age. Her close friend, Chris, wants to purchase a comfortable sofa for the visitors' lounge in the hospital where John was treated. She hits upon the idea of printing a calendar featuring some of the members of the Knapely branch of the Women's Institute, discreetly posing nude while engaged in traditional WI activities, such as baking and knitting, in order to raise funds. Her proposal is initially met with great scepticism, but she eventually convinces ten women to participate in the project with her. They enlist one of the hospital workers, an amateur photographer named Lawrence, to help them with the calendar.


The musical is based on the 2003 film Calendar Girls. The film itself was produced on a budget of $10 million, earning over $96 million in global box office receipts.[1] A stage play adaptation was launched in 2008 at the Chichester Festival Theatre,[2] before embarking on a national tour and transferring to the West End's Noël Coward Theatre in 2009.[3]

Production history[edit]

Leeds and Salford (2015–2016)[edit]

The musical originally premiered as The Girls at the Grand Theatre, Leeds running from 14 November to 12 December 2015,[4] followed by a transfer to The Lowry, Salford from 13 to 30 January 2016. The production was directed by Roger Haines and Tim Firth.[5]

West End (2017)[edit]

Following the Leeds and Salford tryouts, the production transferred to London's West End at the Phoenix Theatre with an official opening night on 21 February 2017, with previews from 28 January 2017.[6] The production was directed by Tim Firth, with sets and costume design by Rob Jones, lighting by Tim Lutkin, musical staging by Lizzi Gee, comedy staging by Jos Houben, sound design by Terry Jardine and Nick Lidster for Autograph Design, assistant direction by Jack Ryder and James Robert Moore and projection design by Alex Uragllo,[7][6] The production closed on 15 July 2017.[8]

UK and Ireland tour (2018–2019)[edit]

In 2017 it was announced that the musical would embark a UK tour under a new title; Calendar Girls The Musical.[9] The tour opened on 16 August 2018 with a return visit to the Grand Theatre, Leeds and toured for 15 months until 23 November 2019, ending at the Chichester Festival Theatre (the originating theatre of the original play adaptation).[10][11]

Musical numbers[edit]

The London Cast Recording was released on 9 March 2018.[12]

Cast and characters[edit]

Character Leeds & Salford[13] West End[14][15] UK and Ireland tour[16][17]
Annie Joanna Riding Anna-Jane Casey

Sarah Jane Buckley

Chris Claire Moore Rebecca Storm
Cora Claire Machin Karen Dunbar

Lorraine Bruce

Sue Devaney

Celia Vivien Parry Sophie-Louise Dann Denise Welch

Lisa Maxwell

Jessie Sarah Kestelman Michele Dotrice Ruth Madoc

Lesley Joseph

Ruth Debbie Chazen Sara Crowe

Julia Hills

Marie Harriet Thorpe Marian McLoughlin Fern Britton

Judy Holt

John James Gaddas Phil Corbitt
Rod Joe Caffrey Ian Mercer
Dennis Jeremy Clyde Alan Stocks
Doctor John Davitt
Brenda Susan Fay Soo Drouet
Miss Wilson (coffee) Karen West Jenny Gayner Ellie Leah
Miss Wilson (tea) Shirley Jameson Catherine Digges
Lawrence Steve Giles
Colin Stephen Boswell Maxwell Hutcheon Sebastian Aberneri
Lady Cravenshire Judith Street Pauline Daniels
Tommo Josh Benson Tyler Dobbs
Danny Ben Hunter Danny Howker
Jenny Chloe May Jackson Isabel Caswell
Ensemble David Breeds Frazer Hadfield
Ensemble Sarah Day Jane Lambert
Ensemble Rebecca Louis
Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2017 WhatsOnStage Awards[18] Best Regional Production Won
Laurence Olivier Award[19] Best New Musical Nominated
Best Actress in a Musical "The Girls" - Debbie Chazen, Sophie-Louise Dann, Michele Dotrice, Claire Machin, Claire Moore and Joanna Riding Nominated
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical Ben Hunter Nominated


  1. ^ "Calendar Girls". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Calendar Girls Overview". Calendar Girls. Archived from the original on 8 May 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Calendar Girls Sets London Dates at Noel Coward". WhatsOnStage. 17 October 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  4. ^ Hemley, Matthew (3 December 2015). "The Girls Musical review at the Grand Theatre, Leeds – 'brilliant'". The Stage. Archived from the original on 12 December 2015.
  5. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (17 January 2016). "The Girls, Lowry Theatre, Salford, review: 'already has the bare essentials of a classic'". The Telegraph.
  6. ^ a b Shenton, Mark (16 September 2016). "The Girls, Musical by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, to Premiere in West End". Playbill. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  7. ^ "Creative Team"
  8. ^ Bowie-Sell, Daisy (26 May 2017). "The Girls announces West End closure and UK tour". Retrieved 2017-05-27.
  9. ^ "Gary Barlow and Tim Firth's 'Calendar Girls the Musical' " Leeds Grand Theatre, retrieved 14 October 2017
  10. ^ "The Girls". The Girls. Archived from the original on 2018-01-20. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  11. ^ "Calendar Girls UK Tour". British Theatre. 2018-01-19. Retrieved 2020-08-23.
  12. ^ "Tim Firth: The Girls, a new musical by Tim Firth and Gary Barlow". Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  13. ^ "Full casting is announced for The Girls - Entertainment Focus". 18 September 2015. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  14. ^ "The Girls". Phoenix Theatre Programme. 18 Feb 2017.
  15. ^ "Official Website". 21 February 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-02-27. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  16. ^ Hewis, Ben (19 January 2018). "Gary Barlow and Tim Firth's Calendar Girls musical gets new cast". Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  17. ^ "Calendar Girls UK Tour". British Theatre. 2018-01-19. Retrieved 2020-08-23.
  18. ^ Musbach, Julie (19 February 2017). "Gary Barlow and Tim Firth's THE GIRLS Triumphs at WhatsOnStage Awards". BroadwayWorld.
  19. ^ Shenton, Mark (6 March 2017). "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Receives Record Olivier Nominations". Playbill.

External links[edit]