67-year-old understudy to make West End debut in The Girls following cast illness

Firth and Gary Barlow with The Girls cast members, left to right: Sophie-Louise Dann, Debbie Chazen, Michele Dotrice, Marian McLoughlin, Claire Machin (seated), Claire Moore and Joanna Riding
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A 67-year-old understudy will make her West End debut in a leading role after Michele Dotrice was forced to pull out of musical The Girls due to illness.

Dotrice, who plays Jessie in the production, has been diagnosed with acute bronchitis and is unable to appear in the show while she recovers.

Judith Street has stepped into play the part.

Co-writers Gary Barlow and Tim Firth said: “Having seen Judith in rehearsals, how lucky we are that an actress such as she will be playing the part of Jessie.”

The musical is currently running at the Phoenix Theatre in the West End, and also stars Joanna Riding, Claire Moore and Debbie Chazen.

It is produced by David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers, and the Shubert Organization.