As previously reported (See News, 14 Jun 2007), Bad Girls The Musical, the stage adaptation of the long-running ITV drama, will break into the West End’s Garrick Theatre this autumn, with an opening date now confirmed for 12 September 2007 (previews from 16 August). Further casting – including David Burt, Sally Dexter, and, from the original TV show, Nicole Faraday (pictured) and Helen Fraser - and creative details have also now been announced.

The television drama, set in the fictional HMP Larkhall, ran on ITV for eight series from 1999 to 2006. The musical, written by the creators of the television series and first seen in July 2006 at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds (See News, 4 Jan 2006), 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. Other featured inmate characters include Shell Dockley and her runner Denny Blood, the Two Julies, and the top dog and missus to the king of gangland, Yvonne Atkins.

David Burt plays Jim Fenner. His myriad West credits include The Woman in White, Jesus Christ Superstar, Chess, La Traviata, Les Miserables, Napoleon, The Far Pavilions and Show Boat. Sally Dexter, who plays inmate Yvonne Atkins, has most recently been seen as Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliot, for which she was Award-nominated.

Nicole Faraday played Snowball Merriman in two series of Bad Girls on TV, and won the TMA Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for the original production of the musical. Helen Fraser was Sylvia ‘Bodybag’ Hollamby in all eight series of Bad Girls on screen and reprises her performance on stage in the West End.

The London company will also feature original Leeds cast members Laura Rogers as Helen Stewart, Julie Jupp (Bat Boy, Honk) as Julie Saunders and Amanda Posener (Caroline, or Change) as Denny Blood, as well as Caroline Head as Nikki Wade, Rebecca Wheatley (Fame, TV’s Casualty) as Julie Johnson and Chris Grierson (Blondel, TV’s Hollyoaks) as Justin Micklewaite.

Also in the cast are: Maria Charles, Emily Aston, Phil Barley, Zita Frith, Lisa Maria Graham, Michael Harbour, Gillian Hardie and Natalie Zapper. Bad Girls The Musical has a book by Maureen Chadwick and Ann McManus with music and lyrics by Kath Gotts. Its songs include “All Banged Up”, “Jailcraft”, “The A-List”, “One Moment”, “The Baddest and the Best” and “Freedom Road”.

The production is directed by Maggie Norris, who also helmed it in Leeds, and designed by Colin Richmond, with lighting by Tim Mitchell, orchestrations by Martin Koch and choreography by Anne Yee. It’s produced by Kath Gotts and Maggie Norris for Big Broad Productions and Eileen Gallagher for Shed Productions alongside executive producer Tristan Baker (Never Forget, Footloose).

- by Terri Paddock