STAGE shows and plays that are then turned into movies are familiar enough but here’s a show that made the switch the other way around.
Calamity Jane is the latest show from Longwood Operatic Society and it hits the stage at the Lawrence Batley Theatre on Tuesday for the first of six performances.
It’s a musical with a Wild West setting, a real challenge of a part for an actress in the title role and bags of familiar tunes.
Among them is Secret Love, the song that provided Hollywood star Doris Day with one of her biggest recording successes and earned her the Best Song Academy Award at the same time.
Calamity Jane was a Fifties’ hit for Doris Day, then one of Hollywood’s top names. She starred alongside Howard Keel, then a screen heartthrob working for film studios MGM.
The film transferred to the stage courtesy of Sammy Fain who wrote the music with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster and based on the Warner Bros film written by James O’Hanlon.
The show endures today thanks to songs such as Windy City, The Deadwood Stage and The Black Hills Of Dakota and the feel-good factor of a family style show packed with characters.
It is a big challenge for Nicci Cooney who plays Calamity, the tomboy who has to turn rather more girly to catch her man.
Longwood has put together a roll-call of familiar names to play everything from saloon singers to saloon slingers.
Neil Broadbent features as Wild Bill Hickock and the cast also boasts experienced actor and director Paul Bennett as Francis Fryer, alongside Gemma Clarkson as Katy, Dominic Moccia as Danny and Sharon Whitehead as Adelaide.
Sharon is set to have a ball as Adelaide, the beautiful saloon singer who Calamity hopes will save Deadwood’s entertainment venue, The Golden Garter, from ruin.
She’s a talented performer whose previous leading roles with Longwood have been in Sweet Charity and in Sugar.
Though a Longwood regular, Sharon has also played with other societies including Huddersfield Light Opera Company. She’s about to use all her dance and musical skills playing the beautiful Adelaide.
The production is directed by Jayne Davison who is also in charge of choreography for what promises to be a Wild West treat of a show.
The musical director is Caroline Robinson in her third show with Longwood.
Evening performances run nightly from Tuesday until Saturday at 7.15pm. There is a Saturday matinee at 2.15pm. Tickets from the box office on 01484 430528.