Global Creatures and Sydney Theatre Company to produce
MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL
A World Premiere
Book by PJ Hogan
Music & Lyrics by Kate Miller-Heidke & Keir Nuttall
With songs by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus & Stig Anderson originally written for ABBA
Directed by Simon Phillips
6 November to 30 December, 2017
Roslyn Packer Theatre
Carmen Pavlovic, Global Creatures CEO announced today that Global Creatures will join forces with Sydney Theatre Company (STC) to produce the World Premiere of Muriel’s Wedding The Musical.
Muriel’s Wedding The Musical will play 6 November to 30 December, 2017, at Sydney’s Roslyn Packer Theatre, as a major highlight of STC’s 2017 season.
Based on the internationally popular 1994 motion picture ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ (written and directed by PJ Hogan, produced by Lynda House and Jocelyn Moorhouse), Muriel’s Wedding The Musical will be directed by Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Love Never Dies, and, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead).
Book writer PJ Hogan is updating his own screenplay for the stage, and original music for Muriel’s Wedding The Musical is being written by award-winning singer-songwriters Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall, to join beloved songs by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus & Stig Anderson originally written for ABBA.
Helpmann Award-winner Gabriela Tylesova, frequent collaborator with Simon Phillips, will design sets and costumes.
Carmen Pavlovic, said “When the film of Muriel’s Wedding was released in 1994, it was an immediate global sensation. The humour, emotion and heart of Muriel Heslop’s story are the perfect ingredients for a live musical!
I’m thrilled that PJ Hogan has agreed to bring his much loved story to the stage and I’m looking forward to working with the abundantly talented team of PJ, Simon, Kate, Keir and Gabriela.
I can’t imagine a better opportunity than partnering with Australia’s leading theatre company, STC, to ensure the best possible creative development and presentation of this brand new musical. STC is an industry leader in creating new work and together our two organisations can bring significant creative resources to bear.
We are also delighted to be joining with Destination New South Wales to promote this world premiere in Sydney as so much of the story takes place in this wonderful city. Muriel’s personal dreams of freedom, inclusion and self-expression go to the heart of what Sydney has to offer.”
PJ Hogan said, “I’ve been asked many times to put Muriel’s Wedding on stage and I’ve always said no – mainly because the film seemed to do what I wanted it to do, and has somehow resisted the obscurity that time and changing fashions are apt to visit upon everything and everyone. So why tempt fate and invite Muriel (and a singing Muriel, at that) to cavort in 2017?
Back in 1994 Muriel had a problem that seemed peculiar to her… how do you become famous (that is loved/admired/envied by all) when you have no discernible talent, no achievements, and when no one believes in you except you? The new millennium has provided the tools for dreamers afflicted by obscurity: Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, You Tube, not to mention that Hogwarts for the irrelevant, Reality TV. Muriel was born to be a Millennial. So a Millennial she has become. Who sings.”
Kip Williams, Interim Artistic Director said “At Sydney Theatre Company we’re thrilled that one of Australia’s greatest cinematic gifts to the world will now find new life on stage as Muriel’s Wedding The Musical. This will be a fantastic opportunity for STC to revisit a much-loved form of theatre, the musical.”
New South Wales Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said today, “NSW is the nation’s home of first-run musical productions and Muriel’s Wedding The Musical will no doubt be a major success, already expected to generate more than $3 million in visitor expenditure for NSW,” Mr Ayres said.
In Muriel’s Wedding The Musical, Muriel Heslop is back! Stuck in a dead-end life in Porpoise Spit, Muriel dreams of the perfect wedding – the white dress, the church, the attention. Unfortunately, there’s one thing missing. A groom. Following her dreams to Sydney, Muriel ends up with everything she ever wanted – a man, a fortune and a million Twitter followers. That’s when things start to go really wrong.
Global Creatures is at the forefront of innovative stagecraft, brilliant storytelling and spectacular theatricality. Global Creatures’ first venture was Walking with Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular. Based on the eponymous award-winning BBC-TV series, the live show was developed through the integration of state-of-the-art animatronics. Global Creatures’ Walking with Dinosaurs was conceived and developed in Australia and made its international debut in 2007. The show has since toured the world and become a phenomenal global success story. Global Creatures’ second production, How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular, completed a North American tour in 2013 after successful seasons in Australia and New Zealand. The co-production with Dreamworks Theatricals further revealed Global Creatures ingenuity and visual prowess in bringing mythical dragons to vivid life. Five years in the making, the ground-breaking theatre production King Kong had its world premiere at the Regent Theatre, Melbourne, in 2013. The show’s “leading man” is arguably the most authentic, technologically-advanced puppet in the world. Audiences have been stunned and spellbound by Kong’s life-like attributes, both physical and emotional. Global Creatures joined with Bazmark to bring Baz Luhrmann’s popular 1992 hit Australian film Strictly Ballroom The Musical to the stage. Strictly Ballroom The Musical had its global premiere at the Sydney Lyric Theatre, Sydney, in 2014. The first international staging of Strictly Ballroom The Musical is to premiere at West Yorkshire Playhouse, England in November 2016. Most recently Global Creatures announced that Baz Luhrmann’s revolutionary film Moulin Rouge! will come to the stage as a new musical, with a book by John Logan and directed by Alex Timbers.
Sydney Theatre Company
In 1980, Sydney Theatre Company’s first Artistic Director, Richard Wherrett, defined the company mission as to provide ‘first-class theatrical entertainment for the people of Sydney – theatre that is grand, vulgar, intelligent, challenging and fun’. 35 years later, that ethos still rings true as STC offers a diverse program of distinctive theatre of vision and scale at its harbourside home venue, The Wharf; at Roslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay; and at Sydney Opera House, as its resident theatre company. STC has a proud heritage as a creative hub and incubator for Australian theatre and theatre makers, developing and producing eclectic Australian works, interpretations of classic repertoire and great international writing. The theatre careers of many of Australia’s internationally renowned artists have been launched and fostered at STC, including Mel Gibson, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, Geoffrey Rush, Toni Collette, Rose Byrne, Benedict Andrews and Cate Blanchett. STC often collaborates with international artists and companies. Renowned artists Tamás Ascher, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Liv Ullmann, Steven Soderbergh, Michael Blakemore, Max Stafford-Clark, Howard Davies, Declan Donnellan and Isabelle Huppert have all worked with STC in recent years. STC has presented productions by the Abbey Theatre, Traverse Theatre, Complicite, Cheek by Jowl, Out-of-Joint, the National Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Following increased international touring in recent years, STC’s The Present opens on Broadway in January 2017.
PJ Hogan made his motion picture directorial debut with the International hit, Muriel’s Wedding, which he wrote and directed. When Muriel’s Wedding premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, in 1994, it received a 10 minute standing ovation. The film dominated the Australian Film Institute Awards with 11 nominations, including Best Achievement in Screenplay and Direction. It went on to win 4, including Best Film and grossed over $80,000,000 in box office world-wide. Muriel’s Wedding was also nominated for international awards including a Bafta, three Golden Globes and an American Writers Guild award. It won the Audience Award at the Chicago International Film festival. In 1996, PJ followed his success with My Best Friend’s Wedding starring Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz and Rupert Everett.
My Best Friends Wedding became the highest grossing comedy ever at that time, making $300,000,000 worldwide. It was nominated for three Golden
Globe awards including Best Film Comedy. In 2003, PJ wrote and directed a live-action version of Peter Pan, starring Rachel Hurd-Wood, Lynn Redgrave,
Richard Briers and Jeremy Sumpter, based on the beloved children’s story by J.M Barrie. The film grossed $122,000,000 worldwide, and was nominated for 4 Saturn awards, with its young Star Jeremy Sumpter winning for his performance as Peter Pan. In 2009, Jerry Bruckheimer asked Hogan to direct Confessions of a Shopaholic, based on the best selling novel by Sophie Kinsella. The film starred Isla Fisher, Kristin Ritter, and Hugh Dancy, as well as an all star cast featuring John Goodman, John Lithgow, Fred Armisen, Joan Cusack, and Kristin Scott Thomas. The movie grossed over $100,000,000 at the Box Office. In 2012, PJ reunited with Toni Collette to make Mental, also starring Anthony La Paglia, Rebecca Gibney and Live Schreiber. In 2014 he co-wrote The Dressmaker with Jocelyn Moorhouse, and was also a producer. The Dressmaker won 5 AACTA awards including the audience award for favourite Australian Film. It also won 4 AFCA awards, including Best Screenplay for P J Hogan and Jocelyn Moorhouse. The film has made over $20,000,000 at the Australian Box Office and will be released by Amazon and Broadgreen in the USA in September 2016.
Simon Phillips was Artistic Director of the Melbourne Theatre Company from 2000 to 2011 and Artistic Director of the State Theatre Company of South Australia from 1990 to 1993. His directing credits range from new works to contemporary and Shakespearean classics to musicals to opera. He has directed works by most of the great contemporary writers: Albee (A Delicate Balance), Beckett (Happy Days), Brecht (Arturo Ui), Churchill (Cloud Nine, Serious Money), Hare (The Blue Room), McDonagh (The Pillowman), Orton (What the Butler Saw, Entertaining Mr Sloane), Shepherd (Buried Child, A Lie of the Mind) and Stoppard (Arcadia, Rock’n’Roll, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead). He has also directed the premieres of many new works by leading Australian writers. Among his many classical productions The Tempest, Julius Caesar, A Comedy of Errors and The Importance of Being Earnest all toured nationally in Australia. Simon recently directed Barry Humphries’ Eat, Pray, Laugh – Dame Edna’s Glorious Goodbye Tour, which toured the UK, US and Canada. Simon’s musical credits in Australia include Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (which has had numerous international seasons including the West End and Broadway), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Twenty-Fifth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Urinetown, Company, Cabaret, High Society (Australia and the UK) and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies (Australia, Japan and Germany), which was filmed by Universal and released internationally on DVD. Simon recently developed the acclaimed new Australian musical, Ladies In Black for the Queensland Theatre Company, which subsequently enjoyed a successful run at the Melbourne Theatre Company and will tour nationally in 2017 . Simon’s opera credits include The Turk In Italy, La Boheme, Falstaff, The Elixir Of Love and Lulu for Opera Australia, The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni for Opera New Zealand and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Billy Budd for Hamburg State Opera. Simon is the recipient of eight Australian Green Room Awards and five Helpmann Awards.
Kate Miller Heidke and Keir Nuttall
Kate Miller-Heidke is an award-winning singer/songwriter who lives between the worlds of opera/music theatre and contemporary pop. She has released 4 albums in Australia, achieving multi-platinum status and appearing in the top 10 album and singles charts numerous times. After 3 albums released through Sony Music, Kate struck out on her own and released her most recent album O Vertigo! independently. She turned to her army of fans to crowdfund the making of the album, and the resulting campaign was the most successful crowdfunding project in Australian history, achieving its target in only 3 days and going on to raise 226% of the goal amount. O Vertigo! went on to debut at number 5 on the Australian album charts and has recently been nominated for an ARIA Award. It was released as her UK debut album in January 2015 through Cooking Vinyl.
Keir Nuttall produced and collaborated as a songwriter with Kate on three of her four albums. Together they won the coveted Grand Prize in the International Songwriting Competition, for the multi-platinum single Caught In The Crowd, becoming the first Australians to do so.
As well as her own solo material, she has recorded collaborations with acts as diverse as Passenger, Ben Folds, Amanda Palmer, and Perth hip-hop artist Drapht. Kate has toured the world numerous times, and has played at international festivals such as Coachella, Lilith Fair, Splendour In The Grass, the Woodford Folk Festival and the Byron Bay Blues Festival. She recently performed her first headline show at the prestigious Sydney Opera House.
Trained as a classical singer, most recently Kate has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer. She has performed several roles for the English National Opera. Her debut opera as a composer, The Rabbits (based on the book by Shaun Tan and John Marsden) was commissioned by Opera Australia and opens at the Perth Festival in February 2015. In January 2016, Kate performed a suite of her songs with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra at Mona Foma in Hobart, with visuals created by artist Amy Gerhardt. The show won the Helpmann Award for Best Australian Contemporary Concert for 2016. The show will be performed in other cities around Australia in 2017.
As well as producing several of Kate’s albums, Keir has produced and composed the electronic music project Fatty Gets A Stylist, whose song ‘Are You Ready?’ has been used on all sorts of overplayed international TV adverts, irritating people all over the world. He has written several short films, the most recent of which, The Birthday Circle, screened at 36 film festivals worldwide, winning 6 awards and was considered for a BAFTA. Keir, as well as being the full-time guitarist in Kate’s band, also performs as musical comedian Franky Walnut. His recently released debut album, The Franky Walnut Reflective Drink Coaster, has received rave reviews from critics while simultaneously selling dozens of copies all over the world. It has just been nominated for a prestigious ARIA Award for Best Comedy Release.