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Friday, 22 March, 2002, 14:45 GMT
Madonna drops out of matinee shows
Madonna has starred in a film by husband Guy Ritchie
Madonna has starred in a film by husband Guy Ritchie
Matinee performances of Madonna's stage debut in London have been dropped due to the singer's recording commitments.

The star is playing an ambitious art dealer in the comedy Up for Grabs at London's Wyndham's Theatre in the West End.

However the show, which opens on 23 May for a 10-week run, will now become evening performances only.

Anyone holding tickets for the cancelled matinee shows is being offered alternative dates for evening performances or a full refund.


Madonna is thrilled to do this play, especially to be on stage in the legendary West End

Her manager Caresse Henry
The show's producer, Sonia Friedman, said she is backing the singer's decision.

"We completely understand that Madonna has daytime recording commitments that cannot be rescheduled," she said.

"As a result, we are determined to accommodate all matinee ticket holders."

Up For Grabs, written by Australian David Williamson, is a satire on the art world.

It broke box office records when it opened in Sydney in February 2001.

The play, which has a cast of seven, will be directed by Laurence Boswell, whose recent credits include A Day In The Life Of Joe Egg and Popcorn, by Ben Elton.

Sean Penn starred with his then wife in 1986
Sean Penn starred with his then wife in 1986
It centres on an art dealer's manipulation of friends and colleagues when a Jackson Pollock painting slips quietly onto the market.

It will be Madonna's first stage role in 13 years and marks a shift in direction for the performer.

Her manager Caresse Henry said the star cannot wait to tread the boards.

She said: "Madonna is thrilled to do this play, especially to be on stage in the legendary West End."

Her last stage performance was in 1988 with Broadway veterans Ron Silver and Joe Mantegna in American playwright David Mamet's Speed the Plow.

Actress

She also acted with then husband Sean Penn in 1986 off-Broadway play Goose and Tomtom, and before finding fame, wrote her own part in a filmed stage play called In Artificial Light in 1980.

After good reviews for her role in the film Desperately Seeking Susan in 1985, Madonna fared less well with 1986's Shanghai Surprise and Who's That Girl in 1987.

A more recent musical performance as Eva Peron in Evita earned her better reviews, but her role in The Next Best Thing received a mixed reception.

She will next be seen in her husband Guy Ritchie's new movie Swept Away.

Madonna will appear in previews of Up For Grabs from 9 May before it opens officially.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Sillito
It doesn't matter what the critics say, it will be a sell out"

Picture gallery
Madonna the actress
See also:

20 Mar 02 | Music
Madonna to sing Bond theme
28 Feb 02 | Arts
Madonna to star in West End
28 Feb 02 | Music
Madonna, queen of reinvention
11 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Watchdog attacks Madonna outburst
08 Feb 02 | Music
Madonna to sing Bond song
30 Jan 02 | Showbiz
Madonna toasts star photographer
14 Dec 01 | Showbiz
Madonna attacks UK workmen
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