The production begins performances Nov. 30 prior to an official opening Dec. 6, for a season through Jan. 21, 2017.
It brings the story back to the stage where it began as a show that Luhrmann first devised with a group of students at Sydney's National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1984, before Luhrmann made it into a film that won eight Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards, three BAFTA Awards and was nominated for Best Picture in the Golden Globe Awards in 1984. This stage musical version received its world premiere at Sydney's Lyric Theatre in 2014, followed by seasons in Melbourne and Brisbane in 2015.
The musical tells the story of a championship ballroom dancer who defies all the rules to follow his heart. It features established songs including "Love is in the Air," "Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps" and "Time After Time," as well as new songs by artists including Sia, David Foster and Eddie Perfect.
Now fast-rising Drew McOnie will direct and choreograph the U.K. production, which is based on the original Australian musical created by Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin. Terry Johnson joins the creative team to adapt the original book. McOnie is currently represented in London by the U.K premiere production of In the Heights that he choreographed at the King's Cross Theatre. His dance-based version of Jekyll and Hyde will premiere at the Old Vic in May.
In a press statement, Luhrmann commented, "One of the great joys for us was to take a story that began as a play when I was at drama school and return to our homeland in Australia to birth the musical stage version with all our original collaborators. Now that it's been born, Strictly Ballroom must go on. It's wonderful that one of the new bright-lights of the English theatre, who himself was fan of the film at a young age, is taking the show to realize it in a new way, for new audiences, and oversee its continued growth."
McOnie added, "The film 'Strictly Ballroom' has had such a huge impact on me. It inspired me as an 8-year-old dancer to follow my choreographic instinct and gave me the desire to explore the many different ways of communicating ideas through dance. The opportunity to bring that passion and personal connection to the next stage of Strictly Ballroom's journey means the world to me; and having Baz Luhrmann's support is a dream come true." It is co-produced by Global Creatures and West Yorkshire Playhouse, Carmen Pavlovic, CEO of Global Creatures, has commented, "Baz Lurhmann's 'Strictly Ballroom' is such an important touchstone for so many of us and creating the new musical with Baz and Catherine Martin in Sydney was a joy. Now I am so excited that Strictly Ballroom The Musical will debut in England in partnership with the creative might of West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds and helmed by Drew McOnie. Baz and I were thrilled to discover the dazzling Drew McOnie who is a brilliant talent and I believe the perfect person to continue building on Baz and Catherine’s vision and remarkable achievement."
Further details, including casting, are still to be announced.
Booking details will be available on https://www.wyp.org.uk/ when the show goes on sale.