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Ann-Margret Makes Date With Calendar Girls???

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The current British company of Calendar Girls - led by Lynda Bellingham and Patricia Hodge - finish their contracts in July at the West End’s Noel Coward Theatre (See News, 17 Oct 2008), and who knows what surprises may lay in store when it comes to recasting? According to the Daily Mail, Ann-Margret, the Swedish-born American screen siren from films including State Fair, Bye Bye Birdie, Viva Las Vegas and Tommy is keen to strip off with the ladies of the Yorkshire WI in the West End.

Producer David Pugh is something of a genius when it comes to continually refreshing a show through creative casting. He made Yasmina Reza’s Art last for eight years in the West End with countless trios of male stars from Richard Griffiths, Tom Courtenay and Ken Stott to the League of Gentlemen, while with The Right Size’s The Play What I Wrote, he managed to attract an even longer list of ever-changing special guest stars, from Ian McKellen to Bob Geldof.

The stage version of the award-winning 2003 Miramax film premiered last year at Chichester Festival Theatre. It’s currently on a record-breaking regional tour and transfers to London’s Noel Coward Theatre from 4 April 2009. It tells the real-life story of the members of a Yorkshire chapter of the Women’s Institute who decide to pose nude for a charity calendar. Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, Penelope Wilton and Celia Imrie starred in the 2003 screen original, also written by Tim Firth.


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