Best known for her role as Coronation Street Landlady, Liz McDonald, Beverley Callard announced today that she has quit the Street to revive her role of Roxanne in The Thunder Girls when the show tours next year.
Beverley said “Leaving Coronation Street is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make but I just couldn’t miss out on playing Roxanne in The Thunder Girls again.
"I knew it was something special when I first read the script, but none of us were prepared for the audiences giving it three standing ovations a night!
"After that we knew we just had to get this show on the road and let more people have the chance to eavesdrop on what is quite literally the Girls Night In From Hell!
"I’m so proud to be in such a rare show with a four strong ensemble of real women with real life experience, especially as so many men in power said for years that this show wouldn’t be a hit because ‘no one was interested in women over 50!’ – We certainly showed them!
"The Thunder Girls is, rich in drama, comedy and tragedy, it’s a bit like the Christmas day episode of your favourite soap that you wait all year for! Most important of all, this play is fiercely entertaining and our audiences love it.
And I can’t wait to do it all again”.
The Thunder Girls follows a fictional ‘80s girl group who haven’t seen or spoken to each other in 30 years after greed, envy and ego tore the band and their friendship apart.
The play, which also features original music and songs, focuses on the ‘Reunion dinner from hell’.
Former lead singer Chrissie Martin, played by ex-EastEnders’s star Carol Harrison, is desperate to salvage herself from bankruptcy after being conned out of her fortune by her toy boy husband.
REVIEW: The Thunder Girls at Lowry, Salford
Chrissie organises a ‘re-connection’ dinner, but it’s soon clear that the main course on the menu is revenge.
Beverley Callard plays the role of Roxanne, the former band member who holds the balance of power in the reunion summit - but Roxanne’s wounds are the deepest as Chrissie didn’t just steal her career when she broke up the band, she also stole her man, their manager Rick.
Coleen Nolan also reprises her role as Anita and Gary Webster returns in the role of Rick.
Angela Squire, Producer, says: “Following the phenomenal reaction to The Thunder Girls during its record-breaking preview run in at The Lowry, Salford, we are thrilled to announce we will be hitting theatres all over the UK on its 2020 tour.
"Beverley Callard gave a powerhouse of a performance in the role of Roxanne and we are honoured and overwhelmed that Beverley is leaving her iconic role as Liz McDonald in Coronation Street to reprise her role on the 2020 Tour.
"There couldn’t be a better endorsement of this new work than Beverley's commitment to the role and the show.
"Beverley's tour de force portrayal of Roxanne, combining brilliant comic timing with vulnerability, brings the authentic dialogue to life in the most electric way.
"For us as Producers, one of the biggest achievements of The Thunder Girls so far is that almost 80% of our audience were new to the theatre and the art form. \
"We passionately believe that theatre is for everyone and should not be elitist.
"When people who love TV, but think the theatre isn’t for them, come and see The Thunder Girls and have a brilliant night - that is the best ever 5-star review.."
Melanie Blake said: “Just as I chose The Lowry, in Salford, for The Thunder Girls world premiere preview because Salford council had housed me when I was once a vulnerable teenager, I have now chosen to commence the national tour in Stockport, just yards from where I was born, grew up and went to school.
"As a proud Stopfordian I couldn’t imagine a better place than the fabulous Stockport Plaza to kick off the next leg of our wonderful journey.
"I’m overwhelmed by how much the audiences loved the show and our cast and creatives have become a real family.
"When I saw our incredibly powerful, empowered and talented actresses bring my characters to life, I just knew the preview was only the beginning.
I can’t wait for the whole of UK to now get a chance to see our show on tour.”
THE THUNDER GIRLS AUTUMN 2020 TOUR DATES:
Tuesday 8th – Saturday 12th – Stockport Plaza
Tuesday 15th – Saturday 19th - Shrewsbury Theatre Severn
Tuesday 22nd – Saturday 26th - Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Tuesday 29th – Saturday 3rd October – Poole Lighthouse
Tuesday 6th – Saturday 10th – Nottingham Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall
Tuesday 13th – Saturday 17th - Edinburgh International Conference Centre
Tuesday 20th – Saturday 24th - Cardiff New Theatre
Tuesday 27th – Saturday 31st – Liverpool M & S Bank Arena
Tuesday 3rd – Saturday 7th – Hayes Beck Theatre
Tuesday 10th – Saturday 14th – Croydon Fairfield Halls
Tuesday 17th – Saturday 21st - - Croydon Fairfield Halls
Tuesday 24th – Saturday 28th - Rhyl Pavilion