The World Premiere of the Muriel’s Wedding Musical Finds Its Rhonda

News   The World Premiere of the Muriel’s Wedding Musical Finds Its Rhonda See who'll take on the role of Muriel’s zany best friend.
Madeleine Jones and Maggie McKenna
Madeleine Jones and Maggie McKenna Nic Walker

The world premiere of the musical adaptation of Muriel’s Wedding is set to begin performances November 6 at Sydney, Australia’s Roslyn Packer Theatre with an official opening November 18. Maggie McKenna will play the titular Muriel and—just announced—Australian actor Madeleine Jones will play Muriel’s best friend Rhonda.

Based on the movie of the same name, original screenwriter-director PJ Hogan writes the book for the stage adaptation, which features new music and lyrics by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall as well as hit ABBA songs.

The story follows Muriel, a woman who’s been dreaming of her ABBA-filled wedding for years but has skipped one important step: She’s never been on a date. When she and her high school friend Rhonda decide to up and move to Australia, Muriel’s life gets turned upside down on a quest that leads her to self-discovery.

As director Simon Phillips said in a press statement, “It’s great to have found our Rhonda at last. She’s such a pivotal character in Muriel’s story, seemingly the only person who lives a life uncluttered by self-delusion or self-esteem issues. I think the audience warm to her enormously as a kind of honesty barometer, and I know that in Madeleine we have an actress of great personality and charm, a perfect match for Maggie McKenna’s Muriel and a wonderful addition to the cast overall.”

The rest of the cast features 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, played by Manon Gunderson Briggs, Hilary Cole 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.

The 28-strong cast also includes Jaime Hadwen, Sheridan Harbridge, Mark Hill, Annie Aitken, Kaeng Chan, Tony Cogin, Adrian Li Donni, Caroline Kasper, Luigi Lucente, Kenneth Moraleda and Tom Sharah.

The Sydney Theatre Company and Global Creatures production features scenic and costume design by Gabriela Tylesova, choreography by Andrew Hallsworth, lighting design by Trent Suidgeest, sound design by Michael Waters, music supervision by Guy Simpson, and music direction by Isaac Hayward.

For tickets and information visit SydneyTheatre.com/au.

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