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Last Updated: Friday, 2 September 2005, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
West End inspiration for BBC show
Ruthie Henshall
Ruthie Henshall has appeared on the real West End stage in Chicago
The musical is the inspiration for a new BBC One entertainment programme which will see celebrities performing songs from Broadway and West End shows.

Stars including Ruthie Henshall, John Barrowman and Mica Paris will be among those taking on numbers from Cats, Guys and Dolls, Billy Elliot and Chicago.

The four-part show will be broadcast on Saturday nights early next year.

The BBC has enjoyed success over the past year with song-and-dance programmes like Strictly Come Dancing.

The show, which is being filmed at London's TV Centre in September and October under the working title of Simply Musicals, will take on the same live feel of those hits.

Audience members will be asked to come dressed for a night out in the West End in an attempt to give the show the atmosphere of a real theatre.

Backstage interviews

Guest presenters, including Jill Halfpenny and Aled Jones, will also perform on the show.

And the BBC is promising guest appearances from the likes of comedian Les Dennis and opera singer Sir Willard White.

The other regular performers will be former S Club member Jon Lee and Fame Academy coaches David and Carrie Grant.

The TV audiences will get to see backstage chats, film of the rehearsals and interviews with the real stars of musical theatre.

The programme was commissioned by former BBC One controller Lorraine Heggessey, who was replaced by Peter Fincham earlier this year.

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