The West End revival of Willy Russell's classic comedy Shirley Valentine, starring Olivier winner Sheridan Smith, begins previews February 17.
Directed by Matthew Dunster, the limited engagement at London’s Duke of York’s Theatre will officially open March 2. Performances were previously extended through June 3. David Pugh produces.
Shirley Valentine is the life-affirming story of a woman who got lost in marriage and motherhood but still has a secret dream—and in her bag, an airline ticket.
Smith won Olivier Awards for playing Elle Woods in Legally Blonde and Doris in Flare Path. She received additional Olivier nominations for her performance as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors and Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.
Smith said in an earlier statement, “As a mum now myself, I’m delighted to be playing theatre’s best-loved mum, and I am honored to be entrusted by Willy Russell to bring his Shirley to life once again in the West End. Now, to practice cooking chips and egg!”
Added five-time Olivier-winning producer Pugh, “Back in 1986 I was lucky enough to see the first-ever production of Shirley Valentine in Liverpool. I have begged Willy to one day to let me produce a revival of Shirley Valentine when the casting was right. That day is now, and both Willy and I believe that Sheridan Smith is the perfect Shirley Valentine.”
The production also has design by Paul Wills, lighting design by Lucy Carter, and sound design by Ian Dickinson for Autograph.
Shirley Valentine was a big success in the West End and on Broadway, where it ran for over 300 performances in the 1988–1989 season. Pauline Collins originated the role in the West End and on Broadway, and earned Olivier and Tony Awards. She also re-created the role in the film version, earning an Oscar nomination for her performance.
Russell, creator of the international hit musical Blood Brothers, won his third Olivier for Shirley Valentine.