Vagina producers told Whatsonstage.com this summer that their long-term plan was to transfer the show from the New Ambassadors to another West End theatre where they aimed to replicate the long-running cult success of the New York production, in which a constantly rotating trio of high profile female celebrities draw in the crowds.
The London Monologues has already proved that it can attract the stars just as much as its American counterparts. In the initial weeks following its 10 May opening, Ensler herself presented the works solo. She was soon replaced by regularly refreshed threesomes which have included Maureen Lipman, Edie Falco, Sophie Okenodo, Mariella Frostrup, Amy Irving, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Dannii Minogue, Kika Markham and Meera Syal. Thanks in part to such star-studded casts, there have also been numerous extensions for the production, which was originally scheduled to close at the New Ambassadors on 3 June.
The cast for the production's final week at the New Ambassadors comprises Jerry Hall, Pam Ferris and comedienne Jenny Eclair. It has not yet been confirmed who will front the show when it transfers.
Originally seen Off-Off Broadway in 1996, the award-winning Vagina Monologues first came to London in 1999 when it ran for a six-week season, with Ensler on her own, at the fringe King's Head Theatre in Islington. During that UK outing, a special Valentine's Day performance, repeating a similar affair run the year before in New York, was also mounted at the West End's Old Vic Theatre. Joining Ensler on stage for the V-Day celebration were a host of British and American actresses, including Kate Winslet, Natasha McElhone, Melanie Griffiths, Marisa Tomei, Cate Blanchett, Calista Flockhart, Gillian Anderson, and Jane Lapotaire.
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?".
- by Terri Paddock