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Tuesday, 21 August, 2001, 08:00 GMT 09:00 UK
Stars turn out for Peggy Sue
Ruthie Henshall as Peggy Sue
Peggy Sue Got Married could open on Broadway
London's newest blockbuster musical, Peggy Sue Got Married, has opened with a glittering West End première.

Stars turned out to see actress Ruthie Henshall - recently crowned the most popular musical actress of the past 21 years - take on the title role in the stage version of Francis Ford Coppola's 1986 film.

Among those who turned out at the Shaftesbury Theatre on Monday were Lily Savage comedian Paul O'Grady, entertainer Des O'Connor and TV star Rolf Harris.

Kathleen Turner
Kathleen Turner recently appeared in the West End in The Graduate
Henshall fills the role played by Kathleen Turner in the Hollywood hit, which earned Turner an Oscar nomination.

Peggy Sue is a middle-aged housewife who faints at a high school reunion and finds herself propelled back in time to the class of 1960.

"This is a meaty role. It is just very different," said Henshall who has appeared in many classic musicals including Chicago, Les Miserables and Miss Saigon.

"I have played ingénues, pinafore parts, prostitutes, goodie two shoes, shop assistants and a murderess.

"Now I get to play the housewife."

Henshall said there was "something magical" about the musical.

"I get sprinkled with fairy dust every night. I just love it."

Raunchy

Talks about taking the show to New York are already under way. Henshall is contracted to do the show for six months in London and is interested in taking the role to Broadway.

Henshall made her mark on both sides of the Atlantic in the raunchy musical Chicago.

The Olivier-winning actress received critical acclaim in the UK for her role in the musical as Roxie. But it was as Velma that Henshall made her Broadway debut.

"They are two of the best women's roles in musical theatre," she said.

Energy

At 34, the actress is still passionately attached to the thrill of live performance and is continually challenged by reactions of wild New York crowds and reserved London audiences.

"That is what's so lovely," she said.

"Sometimes you have phenomenal energy and you get phenomenal energy coming back at you.

"Then sometimes it is like digging up your grandmother."

See also:

13 Aug 01 | Showbiz
Alison Moyet opens in Chicago
17 Apr 01 | Arts
Van Outen arrives in Chicago
02 Aug 01 | Arts
West End ticket sales rise
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