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Reports that Sheridan Smith will be playing the title role in the new Bridget Jones the Musical in London's West End next year...

The rumours have been swirling around since 2009 when it was reported that author of Bridget Jones' Diary, Helen Fielding held a hush-hush reading at the The Ivy's private club  with Stephen Daldry and Peter Darling, the award-winning director and choreographer of the Billy Elliot musical (and film) in the audience.  A cast was assembled by Julian Webber, a close associate of Daldry’s, and it included Jack Davenport taking the part of the dastardly Daniel Cleaver, Bridget’s boss (played on screen by Grant) and Victoria Wood and Harry Enfield also played a variety of parts at the informal reading of the musical’s ‘book’.

Later it was reported that Lily Allen is writing some of the songs for the new Bridget Jones stage musical, and there had been a workshop reading.

And now winner of Best Actress in a Musical, Sheridan Smith confirmed she was hoping to don Bridget's infamous Spanx  in a stage adaptation of Bridget Jones's Diary, the story of a young blonde woman with man trouble.   "Every girl at some point feels like Bridget Jones," said Smith in The Independent.  "I'm constantly wearing Spanx, eating ice cream, and feeling a bit lonely.  "Bridget is great because she's more downtrodden. She falls over all the time, or makes an arse of herself and I'm totally like that."

Smith said she had attended a workshop with Lilly Allen, Helen Fielding, the book's author, and Stephen Daldry, who directed Billy Elliot.

Capturing the Nineties zeitgeist – and spawning a whole copycat genre of “chick lit” - Bridget Jones started life in 1995 as an Independent newspaper column, written by Fielding and chronicling the highs and lows of single thirtysomething London woman, including her calorie and cigarette counts and romantic misadventures. The first novel, Bridget Jones’ Diary was published in 1996, followed by the sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, in 1999.   Both novels were made into blockbuster films, released by Working Title in 2001 and 2004 respectively, and starring Renee Zellwegger as Bridget and Colin Firth and Hugh Grant as her competing love interests, Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver.

Sheridan Smith is currently on stage at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in Flare Path.

[Posted by Louise, 18/03/2011]

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