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7th Jul, 2022

INTERVIEW: Jodie going wild as Calamity Jane comes to town

Malvern Editorial 28th Nov, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

IN 2008 Jodie Prenger’s life changed forever when she won BBC series I’d Do Anything to land a dream West End role in Oliver the musical.

And more than six years later, Jodie is still taking centre stage, playing the title role in the UK tour of Calamity Jane. Observer reporter Nigel Slater spoke to her ahead of her visit to Malvern next week.

THEATRE star Jodie Prenger has said she is living the showbiz life she had always dreamed of after winning a popular BBC talent show.

Jodie, famous for winning West End talent show I’d Do Anything, will be taking to the stage at Malvern Theatres next week playing the title role of Calamity Jane in a week-long of shows between Monday (December 1) and Saturday (December 6).

Thousands of people across the country know the 35-year-old for winning the series back in 2008 which led to her playing the role of Nancy in a West End revival of Oliver – joining a star-studded cast which included Rowan Atkinson.

Since then Jodie has claimed more big roles in Spamalot and One Man Two Guvnors to follow on her from small screen success.

And recently Jodie has been enjoying the Wild West theme playing Calamity Jane in a UK wide tour which started in July and does not finish until next summer.

“It (winning I’d Do Anything) was totally surreal. I couldn’t remember half the night, I think I went into this total white daze of fear and excitement.

“It has really changed my life but it’s one of those things where life changes like a turn of a coin but you’ve still got to work really hard. Putting on shows is such a massive feat and I never want to disappoint the audiences.

“It’s so lovely when I meet people at the stage door who voted for me. I still feel like I’ve got to do them justice by paying off them pounds they spent voting for me.”

Jodie’s latest role is something of a different one with her playing the character of a real person.

Playing alongside former Emmerdale star Tom Lister, who plays Wild Bill Hickok, Jodie takes the role of Calamity Jane, an American frontiers woman in the 19th Century.

And Jodie said she has been thrilled to play such a role and seeing audiences of all ages enjoying the show.

“When the production team asked me if I wanted to play Calamity Jane I let out a massive yee-haw inside! I am proud as punch to play the role, it’s a lot of fun.

“Playing the role of a real person has been really interesting and Anthony Dunn who plays the part of Henry Miller actually taught American History in Canada so I learned a lot.

“I don’t think anyone would have anticipated the reaction there has been from audiences because it’s been brilliant, especially the little kids that come dressed as cowboys and cowgirls singing along.

“Calamity Jane is an entity in itself because it so well-known and people have grown up watching it. It’s lovely to be part of something which the audience love and get so involved in.”

Blackpool born Jodie also told the Observer how she dreamed of being in showbiz from an early age.

“My family had B&Bs in Blackpool and I remember seeing my nan mime to Shirley Bassey and we used to see a drag-queen called Jackie Lester and I think between the two they are the cause of why I wanted to be in show business.

“Blackpool used to have such stars as Danny La Rue come and stay. I love that old time music from stars such as Vera Lynn, Doris Day and Judy Garland and Blackpool was a massive hub for that.”

Shows at Malvern Theatres take place at 7.30pm with matinée performances starting at 2.30pm on Wednesday (December 3) and Saturday (December 6).

Tickets cost from £25 and are available by visiting www.malvern-theatres.co.uk or by calling 01684 892277.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t89cLnDmpEk

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