Gary Barlow and Tim Firth's Calendar Girls musical gets new cast
The writing-duo have reworked their West End show The Girls which will open in Leeds in August
TV presenter Fern Britton will return to the stage for the first time in 30 years to play Marie. She will be joined by stage veteran Anna-Jane Casey (Billy Elliot, Annie Get Your Gun) as Annie, Lorraine Bruce (Piaf, Donmar) as Cora, Sara Crowe (Hay Fever) as Ruth, Ruth Madoc (Gypsy) as Jessie, Rebecca Storm (Blood Brothers) as Chris and Denise Welch (The Wind in the Willows) as Celia.
The musical is a reworking of Firth and Barlow's The Girls, which ran for six months in the West End last year. It is inspired by the true story of a Women's Institute group who posed naked for a calendar to raise funds for charity. The story was originally told in Firth's 2003 film followed by a stage play which premiered in the West End in 2009.
On the announcement, Firth said: "Gary [Barlow] and I have been working away and, as the great Stephen Sondheim said: 'musical comedies aren't written, they are rewritten."
Barlow added: "What a phenomenal new cast we have. Tim and I sat in - and indeed played - on the auditions and have been so lucky to have put together such talented ladies."
Calendar Girls - The Musical runs at Leeds Grand Theatre from 16 August to 1 September before touring to Canterbury, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Leicester, Llandudno, Salford, Stoke, Hull, Liverpool, Southampton, Dublin, Norwich, Aberdeen, Dartford, Sunderland, Woking, Sheffield and Oxford, with further dates to be announced.