Madden, McMillan and Peck to Star in Lloyd Webber and Elton's Boys in the Photograph

News   Madden, McMillan and Peck to Star in Lloyd Webber and Elton's Boys in the Photograph Jeff Madden, Richard McMillan and Erica Peck will be featured in the world premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton's musical, The Boys in the Photograph, a revision of their earlier soccer-and-politics musical, The Beautiful Game.
Jeff Madden
Jeff Madden

Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg, Canada, will present the new production, directed by Elton, April 25-May 23, 2009. The staging is a co-production with David Mirvish, who will move the production to the Canon Theatre in Toronto in June 2009.

MTC bills The Boys in the Photograph as "a coming-of-age story about a group of young men and women in Belfast in the late 1960s who are involved with a local soccer team at the start of a 30-year civil war. Some are drawn into the conflict, while others stand aside wanting only to be allowed to live and love in peace. It is a story of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation, told with humor and compassion in a powerful and passionate musical. Both funny and heartbreaking, The Boys in the Photograph pulls no punches when exploring the reality of sectarian conflict, but is nonetheless a joyous celebration of the freedom that love can bring."

Madden will play John Kelly, a local football star, coming of age in the time of political upheaval and the Belfast "struggles." He wants to be a soccer star, and falls for a girl, tries to support his wife and kid, and do the right thing — while some of his friends get caught up in the struggles. Peck plays the girlfriend, eventual wife, and finally moral compass of her husband. McMillan plays the coach of the soccer team, who is the minister of the local church.

McMillan was Scar in The Lion King in Toronto; Madden recently appeared in the Shaw Festival's Wonderful Town and A Little Night Music and has a solo CD called "Taking the Wheel"; Erica Peck stars as Scaramouche in Toronto's We Will Rock You.

The Boys in the Photograph "has been developed by" Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton from their musical The Beautiful Game, which opened in London in 2001 and received the Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical. Manitoba performances will play The John Hirsch Theatre Mainstage at MTC.

For more information about MTC's season, visit www.mtc.mb.ca.

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As previously reported, the reworked version of Beautiful Game will be part of the 2008-2009 Mirvish subscription season in Toronto.

The production, which will feature a Canadian cast and creative team.

Elton, who previously said about 15 percent of the material will be new, told the Toronto Star, "Andrew and I were very proud of The Beautiful Game, but it wound up being a very dark and grim show. When we opened, there were still acts of terrorism taking place between England and Northern Ireland, and that influenced us. We chose, I think mistakenly, to leave our hero not only unredeemed at the end of the story but morally destroyed as well, and that's not the kind of message Andrew and I like to leave with an audience."

The earlier score was preserved on a London cast album.

About future productions of Boys in the Photograph, Elton said, "The dream is that the Canadian world premiere will prove hugely attractive to North America in general and who knows where it will go after that?"

This new version of the property was tested in at U.K. workshop in April 2008 at The Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts.

The Beautiful Game's London production, which ran nearly a year, was directed by Robert Carsen and featured choreography by Meryl Tankard, costume design by Joan Bergin, lighting design by Jean Kalman and sound design by Martin Levan. Orchestrations were by Lloyd Webber and David Cullen.

For more information about the Mirvish season, visit Mirvish.com.