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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 July 2007, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Madonna film becomes Blondie show
Madonna and Debbie Harry
Madonna and Harry were part of the 1980s new wave scene

A musical version of Madonna's 1985 film Desperately Seeking Susan is set for London's West End.

The stage show will incorporate several hits by New York new wave act Blondie, as well as an original song penned by the band's lead singer, Debbie Harry.

"The story just works with the lyrics," said Harry, 62. "I thought it was a good idea, really smart."

Madonna made her acting debut in the original film, a tale of mistaken identity. The musical opens in October.

Emma Williams, who dropped out of West End musical The Sound of Music to make way for Connie Fisher, will take on Madonna's role.

Kelly Price, who recently appeared in the West End production of Guys and Dolls, will play Roberta Glass - played by Rosanna Arquette in the film. The story revolves around Glass, a bored suburban housewife who becomes fascinated with Susan after reading about her in the personal ads of a New York newspaper.

Kelly Price and Emma Williams
Kelly Price and Emma Williams will star in the musical
A series of unlikely, semi-farcical, events lead to Glass developing amnesia and temporarily swapping lives with Susan.


The film came just as Madonna achieved the first peak of her success in 1985.

Her first UK number one, Into The Groove, accompanied the movie's release, and her self-styled costume for the film - skirts over leggings, lacy gloves, giant hair bows and sunglasses - set a trend that lasted for several years.

It is also one of the few Madonna films to be warmly welcomed by critics - although it was Arquette who picked up a Bafta for her role in the movie.

But Williams, who is 24, admitted she had not seen the film before rehearsals because she was "too young" to have caught it in cinemas.

She said her portrayal of Susan would be a "cross between Madonna and Debbie Harry," with influences from rock star Courtney Love.

Faithful adaptation

The musical was conceived by US writer, director and actor Peter Michael Marino, whose other writing projects include Hollywood Nurses, a homage to lesbian pulp novels of the 1950s.

Debbie Harry
Debbie Harry has penned new song Moment of Truth for the show
Producer Susan Gallin assured fans the show would be "very close to the movie".

"The story is universal. It's a quirky, off-beat movie about women who change their lives and end up with the lives that they were meant to have.

"I asked Debbie if I could send her the treatment - that was a Friday - and by Monday she called and said 'it's great, I love it. Let's do it'. She just loved the idea."

Among the Blondie songs set to feature in the show are Heart of Glass, One Way or Another and The Tide Is High.

The production will open at London's Novello Theatre on October 12.

"Hopefully it will be a huge success," said Harry. "I would love it to come to Broadway."

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