UPDATED, 2.30pm 13 Oct 2004: Just hours after issuing a press release confirming revised dates and a new director for My Darlin' Janey (see below), producers issued a second release this afternoon, announcing that the entire production is now off.

The star of the one-woman show about Wild West legend Calamity Jane, Jerry Hall - who reportedly fell out with the show’s first director Angela Richards, prompting Richards’ replacement with Lucy Skilbeck – has now contracted glandular fever, according to the new release. The remainder of the limited season at north London’s King’s Head Theatre, where My Darlin' Janey was originally due to receive its world premiere on 25 October, has now been cancelled.

No further productions have yet been announced for the King’s Head schedule.


Jerry Hall’s return to the London stage has been delayed by a week after a clash with the show’s director who subsequently withdrew citing “artistic differences” (See News, 14 Sep 2004).

Hall (pictured in costume) plays Calamity Jane in the world premiere of My Darlin' Janey, Douglas Squires’ one-woman show about the Wild West legend, which was due to open at north London’s King’s Head Theatre on 25 October 2004 (previews from 19 October). It will now open on 1 November 2004 (previews from 26 October), continuing until 28 November as previously scheduled.

Original director Angela Richards – a performer herself, who played Dorothy Fields and Ethel Merman at the King’s Head in, respectively, Dorothy Fields Forever and Call Me Merman - has been replaced by Lucy Skilbeck. Skilbeck has worked as a resident director on musicals Bombay Dreams and The Beautiful Game and is the artistic director of Blue Tongue Theatre Company.

An ex-model and ex-wife of Rolling Stone Mick Jagger, Hall's previous stage credits have included The Graduate (in which she starred as Mrs Robinson), The Vagina Monologues, Bus Stop, (all in the West End), Benchmark (New End) and Picasso's Women (tour). She has also appeared in The Play What I Wrote and, this past February, broke the world record for the most theatrical appearances in the West End in a single evening, dropping into the cast of six musicals (See The Goss, 24 Feb 2004).

Though a legendary figure, Calamity Jane (1848 -1903) remains something of a mystery. Little is known of her true life, not helped by the fact that she herself was known for outrageous lies and storytelling. It’s documented that she had an affair with Bill Hickock which produced a daughter, Janey, who she gave up for adoption. Over the years, Calamity kept a diary of letters to one day be read by her "darlin’ Janey".

Based on these original letters - now held in the Wonderland Museum, Billings, Montana - Squire’s dramatisation portrays a complicated woman who led a fascinating and dangerous life in the ‘Wild Wild West’. The play includes her visit to London in 1887 where she performed in Colonel Bill Cody’s (Buffalo Bill’s) Wild West Show with Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, and Frank North, for Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales.

My Darlin' Janey is designed by Nigel Hook, with lighting by David Howe and costumes by Anthony Johns. Barbara Ferris and Caroline Smith produce.

Currently at the King’s Head, Steve Black’s play about Marilyn Monroe, Missing Marilyn, finishes its limited season on 17 October 2004. Sally Day and Andrew Crabb star in the production directed by actor-turned-director, Jonathan Hyde, whose acting credits include Jumpers at the National and The Tailor of Panama on screen.

- by Terri Paddock