GIRLFRIENDS premièred at the Oldham Coliseum in May 1986 and subsequently at the Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End in October 1987. It has since been seen in revivals in the UK (it returned to the West End for a short run in 1992, and off-West End in 2014), Australia, The Netherlands (its Dutch language première was at the Fontys Musical Academy in Tilburg in 2008) and the USA, where in July & August 2004 it formed part of the Women in Military Service for America, World War II Memorial Dedication & Celebration, America Celebrates the Greatest Generation at the Arlington National Cemetery.
In November 2018 it was revived in a special concert presentation by the London Musical Theatre Orchestra, at the Bishopsgate Institute in the City of London, conducted by Freddie Tapner, with new orchestrations by Simon Nathan. Its cast featured West End stars (Lucie Jones, Lauren Samuels, Natasha Barnes, Vikki Stone, Rob Houchen, Bronté Barbé, Lizzie Wofford, Chris McGuigan, Charlotte Clitherow, Lisa Bridge and Tara Divina) and was narrated by Group Captain Vicky Gosling OBE. A double CD recording of this concert performance will be released in April 2019.
The musical, whose music and lyrics are by Howard Goodall with a book co-written with John Retallack and Richard Curtis, is set on a RAF Bomber Command Base in the winter of 1941, amongst recruits of the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force).
For the 2018 LMTO revival, Howard wrote the following composer’s note (link here)