Event Category: Theatrical Events
A Comedic Romp at the San Miguel Playhouse
November 8 to 18th
Filled with wit, warmth, and genuine insight, “Calendar Girls” is based on the true story of a group of Women’s Institute members in Yorkshire, England who bared it all trying to raise money for charity.
It runs November 8-18 at the San Miguel Playhouse, located at Av. Independencia #82.
After her husband dies of leukemia, Annie teams up with her best friend Chris to create a fundraising calendar. Realizing that stodgy photos of landscapes and bridges won’t garner all that much money for the local hospital, they decide the calendar should instead feature tasteful nude photos of the women in the local Women’s Institute.
The play follows the women as they wade into the unknown waters of artistic nudity. Some of them are appalled and others are titillated, but all of them have the first thought any reasonable person over 40 would have: How will I look nude?
Luckily the W.I.’s long tradition of fostering domestic skills suggests an endless number of items which can cover the naughty bits. When the tops finally come off and the ladies go for broke, they are shielding their bosoms with an array of jam jars, freshly baked buns, balls of yarn and the church hall piano.
The actual calendar was an enormous hit. It was released on April 12, 1999 and was an instant sensation with the first printing selling out in a week. 10,000 more copies were made and that load was gone in just three more weeks.
Word spread quickly about the calendar, and the international press soon jumped on the story. By December of 1999, just nine months after its launch, the calendar had sold 88,000 copies, and raised some £550,000 for leukemia research.
The money was used to fund cutting edge research into lymphoma and leukemia at the University of Leeds. A plaque dedicated to John Baker, Annie’s husband, was placed in the new laboratories at Leeds.
It reads, “The work in this laboratory is dedicated to the memory of John Baker in recognition of the exceptional fundraising achievements of ‘The Calendar Girls’ of the Rylstone & District Women’s Institute.”
This delightful, heartfelt story was made into a hit 2003 movie starring Helen Mirren.
The San Miguel Playhouse has lined up an incredible group of actors with decades of experience among them to form the ensemble cast of “Calendar Girls” under the direction of Jim Newell, a formidable actor in his own right. Phoebe Greyson is the producer.
The cast includes: Anne Campbell, Judy Newell, Kate Rowland, Maggie Bunce, Barbara Goushaw, Janell Meador, Raquel Martin, Barbara Ziff, Lola Smith, Cherrita Robertson, Frank Simmons, Neil Sklar, Fil Formicola and Jeffery Chittenden.
The San Miguel Playhouse is producing a 2019 fundraising calendar of its own in recognition of this production. The proceeds will go towards the purchase of the theater building. It features the cast of “Calendar Girls” with the women engaged in traditional WI activities, wearing nothing but pearls and a smile.
Calendars will be available on opening night at the Playhouse. Tickets for Calendar Girls are 350 MXN and are on sale at Boleto City in the Mercado Sano, 123 Ancha de San Antonio (second floor) from Mon-Sat, 9-1 and 3-5 or online at www.sanmiguelplayhouse.com. Tickets will also be available at the door one hour before showtime for that day only.
Better hurry though, this is one show that will definitely sell out!
“Flowers are like women,” John Clark tells the ladies of the Women’s Institute in Yorkshire, England. “Every stage of their growth has its own beauty, but the last phase is always the most glorious.”
Calendar Girls opens Thursday, November 8, at the San Miguel Playhouse, located at Av. Independencia #82. It runs through November 18 on Thursday-Saturday evenings at 7pm, with Sunday matinees at 2pm.
The heart-warming tale of friendship is based on the true story of eleven middle-aged women who posed nude for a calendar to raise funds for the local hospital. It all seemed so innocent — a harmless, humorous and daring way to raise money for Leukemia Research in memory of John, the late husband of a WI member and one of the Calendar Girls.
Within weeks of launching their risqué calendar, the Yorkshire matrons were international celebrities.
San Miguel de Allende’s own Calendar Girls have also posed with sunflowers, pearls and smiles for a calendar to raise funds for the purchase of the San Miguel Playhouse building. Their calendars will be on sale in the Playhouse lobby from opening night, or they can be purchased at the Boleto City ticket office at the Mercado Sano. The cost of the 2019 calendar is 300 pesos.
One of the most satisfying elements of the play is that, like the sunflowers John loved so well, each of the women gets their moment in the sun, as posing for the calendar becomes an opportunity for them to struggle with their personal problems.
“With witty banter and crack timing, the play is uproariously funny one moment, and surprisingly poignant in the next,” said a review in Broadway World.
It is a rarity to see such a preponderance of women on the stage. Their personalities range from the officious, take-charge Marie (Maggie Bunce), to the feisty rebel Chris (Anne Campbell); from Cora (Kate Rowland), the vicar’s daughter, to Celia (Barbara Goushaw) who likes to take a few swigs; from the sweet, but timid Ruth (Janell Meador), to the salty Jessie (Raquel Martin), and Annie (Judy Newell), who leans on her friends as she copes with devastating loss.
Supporting roles are played by Lola Smith as Lady Cravenshire, the very proper grande dame; Barbara Ziff as Brenda, a boring lecturer; and Cherrita Robertson as Elaine, the beautician and mistress of one of the husbands.
The women are the focus, for sure, but they receive great support from Frank Simons as John, whose sunny disposition teaches Annie how to carry on; Fil Formicola as Rod, a genial man who gives his wife Chris the support she needs; Neil Sklar as Lawrence, the photographer whose talent and sensitivity merge to help the women achieve their goal; and Jeffery Chittenden as Liam, the seamy TV producer.
Tickets are on sale at Boleto City, Mercado Sano, 2nd floor, Ancha de San Antonio 123, Monday – Saturday, 9am to 1pm, and 3pm to 5pm. Tel.: 152 6432 or online at www.sanmiguelplayhouse.com