Featured photo – Maggie McKenna. Pic by James Green.

“Muriel, you are terrible!”

The long awaited announcement of the cast for the Sydney Theatre Company’s big production for the year, MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL, took place at a function held earlier this week at the Bar at the end of the Wharf at the STC.

Executive Director Patrick McIntyre started things off and said that the STC was very excited to put on ‘Muriel’ in partnership with  Global Creatures  and Destination NSW. “The production has generated plenty of interest internationally and is expected to attract a lot of tourists to Sydney.’

Director Simon Phillips was at his  sprightly, witty best as he addressed the audience and introduced the cast who were hidden by a promotional display barrier.

Phillips reflected that he thought that now was a great time to bring back Muriel. He envisaged that Muriel would now take to Youtube and the various social network ‘channels’ available in her bid to achieve fame and fortune.

He was confident that the landmark Aussie film would transition well from  screen to stage musical and made the interesting remark, “the ballad is like music theatre’s close-up.”

Phillips introduced a delighted Maggie McKenna, just twenty years old, who has won the much prized lead role. McKenna reflected everyone can ‘get’ Muriel. She is a true outsider and  dork.’

Writer PJ Hogan, whose career took off brilliantly after Muriel, going on to make a number of Hollywood films including My Best Friend’s Wedding, was on hand to say a few words. “I grew up in the Queensland town of Coolangatta. Long before the movie I nicknamed it ‘Porpoise Spit’. Like Muriel, I was dying to get out of there.’

Joint composers, the ebullient Kate Miller- Heidke and the droll Keir Nuttall also said a few words. The very talented Miller-Heidke said that it had always been one of her dreams to put on a full length musical.

The presentation ended with members of the newly announced cast performing a rousing rendition of one of the show’s big numbers,  Nobody’s Perfect with the catch-cry, “Everything goes in Sydney Town/ When you get to Sydney/ You will finally get to be you.”

This production looks like it will be something very special with the Heslop family being as hysterical  as ever. Justine Clarke will play Muriel’s long suffering mother, Betty. Cast playing other members of the Heslop family include Briallen Clarke playing Joanie, Michael Whalley playing Perry and Connor Sweeney will play Malcolm.

MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL will open on Saturday  18th November and will play for over two months at the Ros Packer Theatre, closing on Saturday 27th January.