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Up in the air with 42 Balloons


Charlie McCullagh and Evelyn Hoskins in a staged performance of 42 Balloons last year. Pic: Josh Bird
Charlie McCullagh and Evelyn Hoskins in a staged performance of 42 Balloons last year. Pic: Josh Bird

Award winning producers Andy and Wendy Barnes - the people who brought us SIX – and Kevin McCollum of Alchemation (producers of In The Heights, Avenue Q, Rent and Mrs Doubtfire) have launched their first full production of new musical 42 Balloons, which will open at Salford's Lowry next spring (April 18-May 19).

In 1982, using a lawn chair and around 42 helium-filled weather balloons, truck driver Larry Walters defied all the odds and airspace regulations to make his dream a reality: to fly 16,000ft above Los Angeles. In a chair.

Musical 42 Balloons is the uplifting musical inspired by the improbable true story of how Larry and his partner Carol Van Deusen convinced their friends and family to help Larry achieve his dream.

The show features an 80s pop-inspired score and will star Charlie McCullagh (Bonnie & Clyde, Dr. Zhivago) and Evelyn Hoskins (Waitress, Gypsy, Spring Awakening) in the roles of Larry and Carol, which they originated in staged concert performances of the show in the West End last year.

The show has been in development since 2020 with Perfect Pitch, a group dedicated exclusively to developing new British musicals. The song 42 Balloons and a Lawnchair from the show was released in 2021 on Perfect Pitch’s YouTube channel, prior to the staged concerts last November.

The writer is Jack Godfrey, whose previous works include This is a Love Story and Babies.

Wendy Barnes said, “Jack gives us a contemporary, original musical score fused with 80s-inspired familiarity and nostalgia. I was introduced to the musical as a first draft of act one – and after a quick Google search about the real Larry Walters and hearing Jack’s score and lyrics, I was hooked by the end of the prologue! Andy and I are excited to collaborate with Jack, The Lowry and the wider creative team to bring audiences this fantastic new musical.”

Steve Cowton and Matthew Eames, co-Heads of Theatre at The Lowry: “‘We have invested a lot in new musicals in recent years and supporting this premiere production of 42 Balloons felt like the natural next step."


More info and tickets here

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