A tango is for two and now Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom The Musical has found its leading lady in Phoebe Panaretos. The newcomer will play the role of Fran in the musical adaptation of Luhrmann’s 1992 film of the same name and joins the previously announced Thomas Lacey. The long-in-the-works production will begin its run at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney, Australia on March 25, 2014.
“The role of Fran requires an actor to transform from within, expressing that transformation in terms of character, voice, and dance. Any wonder why the search for Fran went so far and so wide,” said Luhrmann in a statement. He added, “Phoebe weathered so many tests and hurdles, as Fran the character has to in the story of Strictly Ballroom, to reveal the true star that she is.”
Panaretos is a Sydney native and made her professional debut in Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Oliver! at age 11. She is a graduate of The Victorian College of the Arts. Joining Panaretos and Lacey onstage will be Bob Baines in the role of Les Kendall, Drew Forsythe as Doug Hastings, Natalie Gamsu as Ya Ya, Robert Grubb as Barry Fife, Fernando Mira as Rico, Heather Mitchell as Shirley Hastings and Mark Owen-Taylor as JJ Silvers.
Set in the world of competitive ballroom dancing, Strictly Ballroom The Musical tells the story of a lifelong ballroom dancer who struggles to find his own style of dancing as he competes to win an international prize, despite his flashy, crowdpleasing moves not being strictly ballroom. The "all-singing, all-dancing" production will include music from the film’s soundtrack, as well as new songs. The film’s creative team will reunite for the musical adaptation, with director Lurmann on writing duty with Craig Pearce, John “Cha Cha” O’Connell choreographing and Catherine Martin designing costumes.