The world premiere of To Wong Foo The Musical - based on the cult classic film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar - opens October 21 for a nine-week run at Manchester's Hope Mill Theatre.
The show's book and direction will be by original film screenplay writer Douglas Carter Beane, with music and lyrics by Lewis Flinn.
Set in 1990s New York City, the show tells the story of three drag queens – Vida, Noxeema and Chichi – who take a trip across America to attend the Drag Queen of the Year finals in Hollywood. When their car breaks down in Middle America, their lives – as well as those in the town – are turned upside down in a high-camp musical extravaganza.
The 1995 film had an all-star cast, including Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo, Stockard Channing, Robin Williams and Ru Paul and is considered a cult classic.
Douglas Carter Beane said, “I am thrilled to bring this world premiere not only to the UK, but to the wonderful Hope Mill Theatre and Manchester.
"When I wrote this story back in the 90s, it was always a theatre show in my mind; fortunately for me Steven Spielberg thought it would make a great movie. But it was always the ambition to bring it to the stage and I’m so happy its finally happening.
"Though the musical continues to be an homage to drag, 90s New York and the amazing individuals who made it such a vibrant place, it is even more politically relevant than ever, as censorship and condemnation of drag are unfortunately on the rise in the United States. I hope this show connects with new audiences as it did way back then.”
Artistic director of Hope Mill Theatre, Joseph Houston said, “We're honoured to be producing the world premiere of this fabulously camp movie musical. It really brought drag to a mainstream audience in a massive way and as a queer piece of movie history was truly ground-breaking. To be working so closely with Doug and having him direct is also a huge honour.
"To Wong Foo, as a piece of work, has always been destined to be told on stage and as a musical. Those who know and love the film can expect all of those brilliant one liners, supported by a score that is a little bit club, a little bit country, a little bit musical theatre, but a whole lot of attitude..."