This year in the UK, the company opens Strictly Ballroom on the West End in April and Walking with Dinosaurs will again roam the globe on a new world tour with August dates confirmed at London’s O2 Arena. Moulin Rouge has its pre-Broadway engagement in Boston in July while the giant gorilla Kong will storm into New York for a season of King Kong on Broadway in November.
Back in Australia, Global Creatures wrapped up a world premiere season of Muriel’s Wedding in January with rave reviews, sold-out houses, a swag of Sydney Theatre awards and a stunning cast recording. The production returns to Sydney next year. By any measure, it’s a remarkable achievement. For an Australian producer and theatre company, it’s unheard of.
Carmen Pavlovic, Global Creatures CEO couldn’t be happier to reap the rewards of a decade of planning, negotiation and hard work. “2018 is the year we’ve been working towards since I set the company up 10 years ago,” said Ms Pavlovic.
“Standing at the top of 2018, it’s so rewarding and thrilling to know that all of these shows are actually going to happen. We’ve developed the work, secured the necessary rights and coveted theatres. Now we can just get on and bring the plan to life.”
Since being coaxed back to Australia to set up Global Creatures in 2008 after many years working in the UK and Europe, Ms Pavlovic has worked hard to develop and produce a slate of internationally successful shows. The company’s slate of shows represent $200 million dollars of production investments alone.
Ms Pavlovic believes success only flows when key elements are in place, including alchemy and collaboration within the creative team, a producing environment that facilitates the team’s vision, and plenty of time. It took six and a half years from the time Global Creatures first approached PJ Hogan about Muriel’s Wedding for the show to open on stage.
King Kong’s return to New York has been 10 years in the making and by the time Moulin Rouge opens in Boston, it will be more than nine years since the first deal was done over lunch with Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin.
“Moulin Rouge was the complex one because there were so many rights owners, including Fox Studios, the Moulin Rouge in Paris and a very large number of music publishers,” said Pavlovic.
It took seven years and multiple flights to Paris, Los Angeles and New York to finally secure the rights. Moulin Rouge opens at Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theatre on 21 July – directed by Alex Timbers from a book by John Logan.
It was a similar story for Muriel’s Wedding with creator PJ Hogan anxious to maintain the ABBA soundtrack from his hit 1994 film before he would consider a theatrical adaptation. After 18 months of rejections by ABBA’s management, Ms Pavlovic flew to Stockholm to meet the band’s songwriters, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, and a deal was struck. The show finally opened in Sydney in November 2017 to rave reviews with Simon Phillips as director and a book by PJ Hogan.
The company also has brought Luhrmann’s popular 1992 film Strictly Ballroom to the stage, and after seasons in Australia, the UK and Canada, Strictly Ballroom The Musical makes its West End debut at the Piccadilly Theatre on 24 April. The Olivier Award winning Drew McOnie will direct and choreograph the production from a book by Luhrmann and Craig Pearce, while Catherine Martin returns as costume designer.
“Working collaboratively with the right creative team is essential to the success of any production and we look for good collaborators, whose style, tone and skills match the needs of each show,” said Pavlovic.
“The nature of the story, the quality of the music, and identifiable, relatable characters are essential elements for ensuring universal appeal. There’s also another layer to that, a level of innovation, something special about the work that people haven’t really seen before.”
Global Creatures strives to innovate in each of its new shows. Since its first foray onto the world stage in 2007 with Walking with Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular – now a phenomenal international success story – the company has been at the forefront of innovative stagecraft and spectacular theatricality.
The animatronic masterpieces of Tyrannosaurus Rex, Brachiosaurus, Plateosaurus and Stegosaurus made famous in Walking with Dinosaurs have been seen by over nine million people in 250 cities around the world. The state-of-the-art animatronics and puppetry continued in How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular, which brought mythical dragons to vivid life.
Five years in the making, the ground-breaking production of King Kong launched in Melbourne in 2013, where audiences fell in love with its leading man, arguably the most authentic, technologically-advanced puppet in the world. King Kong opens at the Broadway Theatre on 8 November. The book was written by Jack Thorne. Drew McOnie will direct and choreograph the creature, created Sonny Tilders.
For more information about Global Creatures, visit: www.global-creatures.com for details.
Image: Walking With Dinosaurs – photo courtesy of Glocal Creatures
Global Creatures big year in theatre:
27 January 2018: Muriel’s Wedding The Musical finishes its sell-out season in Sydney
24 April 2018: Strictly Ballroom The Musical opens on the West End
21 July 2018: Moulin Rouge has its pre-Broadway engagement in Boston
20 July 2018: Walking With Dinosaurs worldwide tour commences in the UK
8 November 2018: King Kong opens on Broadway
July 2019: Muriel’s Wedding The Musical returns to Sydney