Baz Luhrmann's Strictly Ballroom Musical Will Have Stage Premiere in Australia in 2013

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
23 May 2011

Baz Luhrmann
Baz Luhrmann

The new stage musical of Baz Luhrmann's 1992 film "Strictly Ballroom" will receive its world premiere at Sydney's Lyric Theatre in September 2013.

Lurhmann co-wrote and directed the film about the world of competitive ballroom dancing, which was originally conceived and presented as a stage play. The Academy Award-winning director is also attached to direct the fresh stage debut of Strictly Ballroom, which received a December 2010 workshop in Australia.

In a previous interview with Playbill.com, Lurhmann told Playbill.com that he hoped to stage the production in an unconventional venue to capture the open feel of a ballroom. The Lyric Theatre is a traditional venue with a proscenium stage.

The Lyric is also where the musical adaptation of Priscilla Queen of the Desert received its world premiere prior to its London, Toronto and Broadway engagements.

A songwriting team has not been announced for the project. It's not clear if the score will use existing popular music. Strictly Ballroom is produced by Carmen Pavlovic's Global Creatures and Bazmark, founded by Luhrmann and Tony-winning costume designer Catherine Martin (who also designs the production).



While plans for a future life for Strictly Ballroom are still being choreographed, the creative forces behind the project have described the production as a "quintessentially Australian story with global appeal." Pavlovic, who's company Global Creatures holds the worldwide rights to Strictly Ballroom, added, "As a company committed to creating world class work in Australia and then taking it to the world, we could not be happier that Strictly Ballroom will open in the city where it all began."

"Of all of my shows, 'Strictly Ballroom' is the most personal," Luhrmann said in a statement. "From escaping into the world of competitive ballroom dancing as a child, and my mother going on to be a dance teacher, through to the formative moment at the National Institute of Dramatic Art when a group of talented students and I brought together the classical myth of triumph over oppression and placed it in this world of suburban theatre, the first production of Strictly Ballroom was born.

"That little act of truth and defiance, born as a 40-minute student play, went on to win a competition in communist Czechoslovakia, was revised at my first theatre company and was extended, and finally was transformed into the little film that danced all around the world. A journey like this is likely to happen once in a creative person's lifetime, if they're lucky.

"It's a simple show, with a simple truth, and a simple heart, that seems to have grown and grown and now completes the circle of its journey, returning to the city where it all began, Sydney, as an all-singing all-dancing musical production."

"Strictly Ballroom" became a hit of the 1992 Cannes Film Festival, winning the Prix de le Jeunesse. Produced for less than $5 million, the film spent many weeks in the number one spot in the U.K. and Australia and earned more than $80 million. It was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Picture, Comedy or Musical category and won three BAFTA awards.

Lurhmann is well known for his films "Moulin Rouge," "Romeo + Juliet," "Australia" and the Broadway production of the Puccini opera La Boheme.