Strictly Ballroom gets ready to sashay onto the Melbourne stage

Strictly Ballroom_editorial_Jeff BusbyFollowing its Sydney season last year and based on the much loved Australian film, Strictly Ballroom – one of the most anticipated new musicals is set to tango and sashay its way onto the Melbourne stage this weekend.

Strictly Ballroom the Musical is the inspiring story of a championship ballroom dancer who defies all the rules to follow his heart. This uplifting and courageous tale originated as a stage play that Baz Luhrmann devised with a group of students at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) back in 1984.

Following its first performances, Baz Luhrmann was invited to re-stage the play for the Czechoslovakian World Youth Drama Festival in Bratislava in 1986 where it won best production and Luhrmann best director. Then, after a preview season at the Brisbane Expo in 1988, the play opened at the Wharf Studios in Sydney.

This brand new theatrical production features the original creative team behind the classic 1992 film including director and co-writer Baz Luhrmann, set and costume designer Catherine Martin, choreographer John “Cha Cha” O’Connell and co-writer Craig Pearce, who will bring the iconic story to life on stage.

It features break-into-song numbers created from ‘original classics’ from the film, including Love is in the Air, Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps , and Time After Time as well as some wonderful new songs by artists such as Eddie Perfect and Sia.

Playing the pivotal roles of ‘Scott Hastings’ and ‘Fran’ will be Thomas Lacey and Phoebe Panaretos who will lead an outstanding Australian cast of 43 including Bob Baines as Les Kendall, Drew Forsythe as Doug Hastings, Natalie Gamsu as Abuela, Robert Grubb as Barry Fife, Fernando Mira as Rico, Heather Mitchell as Shirley Hastings and Mark Owen-Taylor as JJ Silvers.

“From a small student play to my first motion picture and now a full-blown theatrical stage musical, Strictly Ballroom has been an almost thirty year journey for me,” says Director, Baz Luhrmann.

“I have often marvelled at how this story, born so long ago, has been in my life for so many years and has managed to touch, move, entertain and uplift so many different people from so many different backgrounds.”

Book: Baz Luhmann and Craig Pearce  Original Score and arrangements: Elliott Wheeler  Director: Baz Luhrmann  Set and Costume Designer: Catherine Martin  Choreographer: John O’Connell  Musical Supervisor: Max Lambert

Strictly Ballroom the Musical
Her Majesty’s Theatre, 219 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
Season: 17 January – 3 May 2015
Bookings: 13 28 49 or online at:

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Thomas Lacey and Phoebe Panaretos – photo by Jeff Busby