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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 10:24 GMT
Barbie doll gets live stage show
Barbie and Ken dolls
Barbie and Ken have "dated" for nearly 50 years
Popular doll Barbie is to come to life in a US stage musical, makers Mattel have announced.

Barbie Live in Fairytopia, starring 24-year-old actress Erin Coors, will open in Ohio on 1 April and tour 80 US cities by 2008.

Mattel director of entertainment Barry Waldo said the show would "personalise the experience" of Barbie collecting.

The stage show comes amid falling sales for Barbie, which was replaced by Bratz as the UK's top selling fashion doll.

Actress Coors said the role was "very personal" to her.

She said: "It's not just putting on a character, but remembering everything she was to me when I was little."

In the show, Barbie embarks on an adventure to save an enchanted land of fairies.

Mattel director of entertainment Barry Waldo said: "For the first time, we're going to be able to take Barbie to little girls.

Declining sales

"Live entertainment is going to personalise the experience in a whole new way."

Costume designer Gregg Barnes and actress Erin Elizabeth Coors
Actress Erin Elizabeth Coors (r) will play the role of Barbie

The show will feature original music and a set decorated with 100lb (45kg) of glitter.

Released by makers Mattel in 1959, Barbie is still the best-seller worldwide but total sales last year dropped by 13%, the third year in a row they have fallen.

In January, Mattel chairman Bob Eckert said the company's fortunes rested on it "turning the tide" of Barbie sales.

The company recently blamed its poor earnings performance on the doll losing her allure, while her "boyfriend" Ken has been given a makeover aimed at increasing his appeal.

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