Danielle’s no plain Jane in musical show

WEST END GIRLS ... Danielle Mendes and Leanne Harrison.
WEST END GIRLS ... Danielle Mendes and Leanne Harrison.


The long-time friends work together at a firm which provides theatre opportunities for children in South Tyneside – and now they have both landed roles in a production of the hit musical Calamity Jane.

Leanne, 29, will play vaudeville star Adelaide Adams in the West End Operatic Society show at Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre next month.

Danielle, 35, will play a saloon girl in the show made famous on film by Hollywood sweetheart Doris Day.

The musical features favourite songs including Secret Love, Deadwood Stage, Black Hills of Dakota, and Windy City.

Leanne and Danielle work together at Danielle’s business, Scene 4 Stars Ltd. “We’re really looking forward to it,” said Danielle, from West Boldon.

“We spend a lot of our time working in South Tyneside and it’s an honour to be representing the borough in a big show like this.

“It will be interesting because Leanne works for me during the day, but, come show time, I will be her dancer.”

The mum-of-one has performed a number of dancing roles in the society’s plays over the past eight years.

She added: “I think performing is in my blood.

“We are rehearsing three times a week now, and hopefully I can still kick my height and do the splits on show nights.”

Leanne, who lives in Heaton, Newcastle, said: “I spent some time in London, but I’ve been with the West End Operatic Society for four years now.

“I am looking forward to Calamity Jane. It’s one of the biggest roles I’ve had.” The pair met about 20 years ago at the Tyne Theatre’s stage school, and have been friends ever since.

Leanne previously trained at the London School of Musical Theatre, and has performed alongside stars including Anita Dobson and David Hasselhoff at venues including Her Majesty’s Theatre in London.

Danielle is director of Scene 4 Stars Ltd, while Leanne is a manager for the business.

The pair visit schools in South Tyneside to work on theatre projects, and also run a weekly stage school for youngsters at the Customs House in Mill Dam, South Shields, on Saturdays from 1pm to 5pm.

Also among the Calamity Jane cast is Hebburn’s Andrew Fearon, who will play a stage door Johnny.

West End Operatic Society’s production of Calamity Jane is being staged at Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre, Westgate Road, Newcastle, from April 23 to 28. For tickets, call 0844 493 9999.

Twitter: @shieldsgazjoe