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Saturday, 24 March, 2001, 10:37 GMT
Icy role for Ally McBeal star
Calista Flockhart
Calista Flockhart stars as Ally McBeal
The long-running secret of Ally McBeal's West End debut has finally been revealed.

The 36-year-old star of the hit US television show has been signed up to play ice cool heiress Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story.

Her UK theatre debut means she will follow in the footsteps of fellow Americans Kathleen Turner, Jerry Hall and Macaulay Culkin, who have all starred on the London stage.

The new show, by British producer Duncan Weldon, is due to open at the Shaftesbury Theatre for previews in May.

From June the production, which also stars Gwyneth Paltrow's mother Blythe Danner, will start a 10-week run and is expected to be an instant sell-out.

Americans in London

Weldon has reportedly been working the deal "for months" and the length of Flockhart's run looks likely to depend on her TV commitments in the US.

The waif-like actress took the American tabloids by surprise earlier in the year when she adopted a baby boy.

She has also become close to American star Robert Downey Jr since he joined the cast of Ally McBeal.
Actress Jerry Hall and Josh Cohen
Hall with co-star Josh Cohen at the Gielgud Theatre

Flockhart will follow in the footsteps of actress Kathleen Turner and model-turned-actress Jerry Hall, who both bared all to play Mrs Robinson in the London stage version of The Graduate.

Hollywood actress Jessica Lange debuted at the Lyric Theatre last November in an adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night.

Former child star Macaulay Culkin came back from six years of self-imposed exile last October to play a teenager being seduced by his French teacher in Madame Melville at the Vaudeville Theatre.

Strong pedigree

American director Arvin Brown is set to bringing his directing skills to the latest West End production.

Veteran US actress Katherine Hepburn first took the lead in Philip Barry's classic tale about a spoilt little rich girl in 1939.

She then went on to star in the film alongside Cary Grant and James Stewart.

The film musical version of the play - High Society - starred Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby in 1956.

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See also:

24 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Heche 'to join Ally McBeal'
11 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Downey Jr lands McBeal role
12 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Ally McBeal star adopts baby
30 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Ally McBeal star set for West End
06 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Hollywood lends West End its stars
19 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Curtain calls for Culkin
07 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Kidman set for London stage
06 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Risqué Kathleen divides critics
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