This is the second production Hall has withdrawn from in the past year. Last October, she was due to play Wild West legend Calamity Jane in the world premiere of one-woman show My Darlin’ Janey at north London’s King’s Head Theatre. Following artistic disagreements which led to a change of director, Hall pulled out, again citing glandular fever (See News, 13 Oct 2004).
In a statement released today, Hall said: “It is with great sadness that I have to leave the cast of High Society as I am suffering from Epstein Bar Virus (glandular fever) which I first fell ill with last year. My doctor (Dr M J Scurr) has said that I must have a period of complete rest, but that I may be able to return to the production in the future and I am determined to return before the end of the run. I have had such a wonderful experience with a great cast and I wish them all the very best.”
The show’s producers added: “We are very sorry that Jerry Hall has had to leave the show. We wish her a speedy recovery and hope that we may see her back with us in the new year. Despite this, the show is in great health, and the understudy Ali McInnes will be performing in Jerry's place.”
Based on Philip Barry's 1939 stage play The Philadelphia Story about spoilt heiress Tracy Lord on the eve of her wedding, High Society includes now-classic Cole Porter songs like "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire", "You're Sensational", "True Love" and "Swell Party". The musical is best remembered as the 1956 MGM classic which starred Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. In 1987, Richard Eyre mounted one of the first major stage versions of the film musical at the West End’s Victoria Palace with Natasha Richardson, Stephen Rea and Trevor Eve.
The current revival proved a hit in summer 2003 at London’s Open Air Theatre, where it prompted the venue’s first-ever extension of its summer repertory season. Last autumn, it embarked on an extensive UK-wide tour. Directed by Open Air artistic director Ian Talbot, the West End cast features Katherine Kingsley (as Tracy), Graham Bickley (CK Dexter Haven), Paul Robinson (Mike), Ria Jones (Liz), Claire Redcliff (Dinah), Royston Kean (Uncle Willie), James Jordan (Seth Lord) and Bryan Torfeh (George Kittredge).
- by Terri Paddock