Joanna Riding will replace Martine McCutcheon when she leaves My Fair Lady early next month. Contrary to rumors rushing around the West End that McCutcheon had left My Fair Lady with immediate effect, she will carry on at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane until Dec. 8.
A spokesman for Sir Cameron Mackintosh's office has confirmed her continued involvement in the show, and that her replacement (from Dec. 10) will be Joanna Riding — fresh from The Witches Of Eastwick, the other Cameron Mackintosh-produced musical, that recently closed at The Prince of Wales.
McCutcheon was supposed to play Eliza Doolittle in Cameron Mackintosh's hit production through April 2002. However, following multiple discussions between her representatives, producers and Trevor Nunn, it has been agreed that she will give her final performance in December.
She was seriously ill when My Fair Lady first opened at the National Theatre, and although she gamely performed on the opening night, her understudy Alexandra Jay had to appear for her on a number of occasions.
The sporadic presence of the star, however, has not dimmed the popularity of this critically acclaimed production, with My Fair Lady breaking records at the theatre and in the West End, having taken the largest box-office advance ever of £10 million when it transferred from the National to Drury Lane.