The musical, written by the creators of the television series, had its world premiere in July 2006 at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds (See News, 4 Jan 2006). The cast for that six-week run, directed by Maggie Norris, included: Hannah Waddingham (now Spamalot’s Lady of the Lake), Hal Fowler, Rachel Izen, Ellen O'Grady, Amanda Posener, Laura Rogers and Nicole Faraday, who won Best Supporting Actress in a Musical at that year’s TMA Awards for her performance as inmate Shell Dockley.
The television drama, set in the fictional HMP Larkhall, ran on ITV for eight series from 1999 to 2006. The musical’s story is based around some of the core characters from season one. In it, idealistic new Wing Governor Helen Stewart tries to make improvements on G Wing, but old guard officers, including Jim Fenner and his sidekick Sylvia Hollamby, stand in her way. A death on the ward leads to an angry protest which also forces Stewart and her love interest inmate Nikki Wade onto their opposite sides of the bars.
Bad Girls The Musical has a book by Maureen Chadwick and Ann McManus with music and lyrics by Kath Gotts. Its songs include “The A-List”, “One Moment”, “The Baddest and the Best”, “All Banged Up” and “Freedom Road”.
At a launch event (pictured) held prior to its Leeds premiere (See News, 4 Apr 2006), Gotts told Whatsonstage.com: “Bad Girls is just a world you want to be in, even though it’s set in a prison. Watching it you just want to feel part of it, and that’s why we thought it would make a good musical. It has a pop rock feel to it, and each of the characters has a signature style of music. The main inspiration for the music was the characters because they are all so strong.”
- by Terri Paddock