Henshall Joins Gomez & "Hotlips" in MonologuesDate: 6 December 2001
West End musicals star Ruthie Henshall will join Glasgow's Michelle Gomez and Loretta Swit (famous as "Hotlips" from TV's Mash), making her West End debut, in the Christmas cast of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. They take over from Elizabeth McGovern, Nina Wadia and Lauren Ward on 17 December and continue at the Arts Theatre for four weeks until 12 January 2002.
As recently announced, The Vagina Monologues will close at the Arts on 23 February 2002, making away for a ten-week season of Eugene O'Brien's Eden, directed by Conor McPherson, from 25 February. The current West End production of Ensler's show first opened at the New Ambassadors in May 2001 where it closed on 22 September before re-opening a month later at the Arts. A spokeswoman told Whatsonstage.com that producers hope to give the show another lease of life by transferring it to a third venue.
Henshall was seen earlier this year in Peggy Sue Got Married, for which she has been nominated for a Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Actress in a Musical (click here to vote. Her many other musical credits include Chicago, Crazy for You, She Loves Me, Cats, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, A Chorus Line and Oliver!. Nominated three times for an Olivier Award, Henshall won Best Actress in a Musical honours in 1995 for her portrayal of Amalia Balash in She Loves Me.
Gomez has worked extensively with the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, where her credits include Trainspotting, while at the National, she appeared in Sleep with Me.
Originally seen Off-Off Broadway in 1996, the award-winning Vagina Monologues was first seen in London in 1999 when it ran for a six-week season at the fringe King's Head Theatre. The current West End production has featured regularly refreshed three-strong companies, which have included Jerry Hall, Pam Ferris, Jenny Éclair, Maureen Lipman, Edie Falco, Sophie Okenodo, Mariella Frostrup, Amy Irving, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Dannii Minogue, Kika Markham, Meera Syal, Sophie Dahl, Miriam Margolyes and Suzanne Bertish. Elizabeth McGovern, Nina Wadia and Lauren Ward currently star with Loretta Swit, "Hotlips" from Mash, arriving on 17 December for a Christmas season.
The Vagina Monologues, subtitled "An Anthropological Exploration", reveals a series of different women's stories and experiences involving their genitalia. The material was gathered from hundreds of intimate interviews, conducted by Ensler, in which women were asked probing questions such as "If it (your vagina) could talk, what would it say?".
Announcements on further casts are expected shortly.
- by Terri Paddock