Martine McCutcheon is to leave My Fair Lady , on 8th Dec 01

Martine McCutcheon is to leave My Fair Lady , on 8th Dec 01

Martine McCutcheon is to leave My Fair Lady, on 8th Dec 01, five months before her contract ends, because of persistent ill health.

Joanna Riding is to take over the role of 'Eliza ' at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane from 10th Dec 01. She was recently in The Witches Of Eastwick, which closed last month and starred in "A Little Night Music" and "Guys and Dolls" and at the National Theatre in 1995 and 1996.

Martine McCutcheon opened to great notices at the Lyttelton NT in March. However, that first night had to be postponed because of a viral infection that has plagued her ever since.

My Fair Lady, continues to feature Jonathan Pryce (Henry Higgins) and Nicholas Le Prevost (Colonel Pickering ) .

Below is the official statement

Cameron Mackintosh announced today, with great regret, that Martine McCutcheon will leave the production of MY FAIR LADY at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Martine was originally contracted until April 2002 but, notwithstanding her acclaimed performance and wonderful notices for her portrayal as Eliza Doolittle, her performances have been restricted by a recurrence of the vocal problems that she developed earlier this year. Shortly before opening at the National Theatre, she contracted a serious virus which kept her away from the production for several weeks. It was subsequently decided that, once she returned to the show, the demands of the role on a young voice meant that she should only play six performances a week. In July, she returned to the role at Drury Lane and continued to perform regularly. However, during the last few weeks, she has been forced to miss a number of performances through a recurrence of these vocal problems. Her doctors now advise that the only way she will make a complete recovery is to take a clean break from performing for a few months, as soon as possible.

Consequently, we have agreed to replace Martine from 10th December and, subject to her health and her doctor’s advice, she will undertake as many of her scheduled performances as she can until that date.

The role of Eliza will be taken over by Joanna Riding on December 10th. Joanna is one of London’s foremost musical leading ladies, having starred in the West End in GUYS AND DOLLS (Olivier Award winner for Best Actress in a Musical), CAROUSEL and THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK (Oliver Award nominations in both productions).

Alexandra Jay, the eighteen year old actress who stepped up overnight from the position of understudy to play the role to great acclaim and who subsequently became alternate, performing twice weekly in the West End will continue to play her scheduled performances in conjunction with Kerry Ellis, the second alternate.

Ticket holders who specifically booked to see Martine McCutcheon in this role may apply for a full refund from their point of purchase before the 30th November.


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