Sydney Theatre Company and Global Creatures present
book by PJ Hogan
music and lyrics by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall
with songs by Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson
originally written for ABBA
6 November 2017 to 27 January 2018, Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay
Following an exhaustive search, Sydney Theatre Company and Global Creatures today announced that the lead role in one of the most anticipated shows of 2017 has been won by newcomer Maggie McKenna. The 20-year-old Melbourne born and raised actress has recently returned to Australia from Los Angeles where she trained at the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). She will make her professional stage debut in the world premiere of Muriel’s Wedding The Musical, a theatrical version of PJ Hogan’s iconic hit film, updated to today by the writer himself, with original music by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall alongside those beloved ABBA numbers.
It was also announced that another, final week of performances has been added to the season, which will now close on Saturday 27 January 2018, with no possible further extension. The production is at Roslyn Packer Theatre with previews from 6 November, opening on Saturday 18 November 2017.
PJ Hogan said: “When I made the film, Muriel was a difficult part to cast. So my smile was huge when I met Toni Collette. Almost 25 years later I smiled that same smile when I met Maggie McKenna.”
Jocelyn Moorhouse, who produced her husband’s film, added: “Maggie is a perfect choice to play Muriel Heslop on stage. She is brilliant, gorgeous and a natural comedienne, with the added bonus that she sings like an angel.”
Director Simon Phillips said: “It’s hard to describe the thrill you get when, after months of searching, you suddenly clap eyes on the person who feels destined to play a role. The odds of that happening are significantly raised when the bar has been set as high as Toni Collette’s performance in the film. But when Maggie McKenna sent us an ambit audition tape from LA, where she was studying at the time, we all felt that thrill. We hustled her back to the country, put her through her paces to check it wasn’t a trick of the camera and all mentally high-fived. It’s going to be a challenging ride for her I’m sure – a huge role to score at the age of 20 – but I feel sure she’s about to take Porpoise Spit by storm.”
Joining the new Muriel on stage is Justine Clarke as the long suffering Betty, with other members of the Heslop clan played by Briallen Clarke (Joanie), Michael Whalley (Perry) and Connor Sweeney (Malcolm), while Helen Dallimore plays the strangely ever-present beauty consultant, Deidre Chambers. Celebrating her marriage to Chook (Aaron Tsindos), Tania Degano is brought to life by Christie Whelan Browne, accompanied by a posse of bridesmaids, two of whom are played by Manon Gunderson Briggs and Laura Murphy. Brice Nobes, the first guy to ever ask Muriel on a date, is played by Ben Bennett and Stephen Madsen is Olympic swimming hopeful Alexander Shkuratov, coached by Josh Quong Tart’s ruthless Ken. The 28-strong cast also includes Sheridan Harbridge, Mark Hill, Annie Aitken, Kaeng Chan, Tony Cogin, Adrian Li Donni and Kenneth Moraleda.
Muriel Heslop is back! And this time she’s singing. Stuck in a dead-end life in Porpoise Spit, Muriel is obsessed with the music of ABBA and dreaming of a fairytale wedding – the white dress, the church, the attention. Unfortunately, there’s one thing missing. A groom. Leaving small-town life, her long suffering mother and bullying father behind, she follows her dreams to Sydney with new best friend Rhonda. There she ends up with everything she ever wanted – a man, a fortune and a gazillion Twitter followers. That’s when things start to go really wrong.
The dream theatre director/designer team of Simon Phillips and Gabriela Tylesova (Love Never Dies, Ladies in Black and STC’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Dead) lead a stellar creative team which also includes choreographer Andrew Hallsworth, lighting designer Trent Suidgeest, sound designer Michael Waters, musical supervisor Guy Simpson and musical director Isaac Hayward.
NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said Muriel’s Wedding The Musical is supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.
“Muriel’s Wedding is a musical with global appeal and a stellar cast. We’re delighted to have secured this world premiere production for Sydney,” Mr Marshall said. “With so much of the story set in our harbour city, Sydney is the perfect home for this new Australian production, which we anticipate will be a major drawcard for visitors. The production is expected to generate more than $3 million in visitor expenditure for NSW.”
Director: Simon Phillips
Set and Costume Designer: Gabriela Tylesova
Choreographer: Andrew Hallsworth
Lighting Designer: Trent Suidgeest
Sound Designer: Michael Waters
Musical Supervisor: Guy Simpson
Musical Director: Isaac Hayward
Confirmed cast: Annie Aitken, Ben Bennett, Kaeng Chan, Briallen Clarke , Justine Clarke, Tony Cogin, Helen Dallimore, Manon Gunderson Briggs, Sheridan Harbridge, Mark Hill, Adrian Li Donni, Stephen Madsen, Maggie McKenna, Kenneth Moraleda, Laura Murphy, Josh Quong Tart, Connor Sweeney, Aaron Tsindos, Michael Whalley, Christie Whelan Browne
Tickets now on sale: www.sydneytheatre.com.au / 02 9250 1777