We chatted with the lovely Gary Barlow & Tim Firth – the creative minds behind the musical comedy The Girls, based on Calendar Girls (also written by Firth).
They let us in on how they came together to write a musical, why Gary couldn’t refuse this exciting project (Spoiler: His mum may have had something to do with it) and why – after a film and a play – this musical is going to be something special. Let us know if you’ve got your ticket for The Girls yet.
Why did you want to take on this project?
I went with my mum to see the film and then Tim took me to see the play and I loved it. I could tell that music could be a massive part of this story and I think it takes it to a whole other level.
Can you tell us about the process of writing the songs? – How did you collaborate with Tim Firth?
We started writing songs about four years before we even started looking in depth in to the story. It never felt like we were ‘working’ which is how it should be. It always felt very natural and it was great fun working with Tim. A lot of it was written at my mum’s house and then we were very lucky that we were able to workshop the musical at a village hall in Burnsall in Yorkshire, which is where the story all began – this felt very special.
Will there be a live band?
Why should people go see The Girls?
We’ve got an amazing cast – they’re incredible, and they bring the script and the songs to life. Every night, they’re amazing. The Phoenix is such a beautiful, intimate theatre and every seat in the house is a good one with a great view of the stage.
What’s your favourite song from the show?
I’d have to say Yorkshire. When we spent the weekend in Burnsall, we really learned what this story is and what it means to people and it was after this that we wrote Yorkshire. That whole weekend inspired us to write that song – it was born in the dales – so it’s very special to us.
If you were to pose for one of the months in the calendar, which would you choose and why?
It’s got to be January – it’s my birthday on the 20th and then it’s our first preview performance on the 28th. I’ve never had a show in the west end before and I cannot wait!
How will this compare to the stage play Calendar Girls?
A musical allows us to look at the whole village, not just the girls, but their husbands and children and how it affected them.
What made you want to turn the story into a musical?
It was unfinished business for me. There were so many different aspects of the story that needed to be told, so many more avenues for comedy that excited me. And of course having music in the room changes everything – it takes everything to a new level
Why did you want Gary Barlow to write the music?
Gary and I have known each other for 25 years, way before he ever joined the band – and we always promised each other that we’d write a musical. Plus his mum loved the play. Most writers do stuff because their mums tell them.
The film was such a huge hit with its amazing cast, and so was the stage play – What is it about The Girls that audiences will love?
We’ve gathered together the best talent in musical theatre and so we’re going to have the best voices we could have hoped for telling the story of these ordinary women who did something extraordinary. When they’re up there all together you realise how rare it is to see a group of women totally taking centre stage in the story of a musical.
Can you tell us what your next project will be?
At the moment I can’t see past the dales of Yorkshire. The Girls is my horizon in every direction!
Being the screenplay writer of Calendar Girls and Kinky Boots, which have both had successful stage adaptations, which film would you like to see turned into a play/musical?
To be honest I’d quite like to see Kinky Boots! I haven’t had an invitation yet!
If you’d like to see the show we have great seats from £25.00, no booking fees.
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