New Arlene Phillips show Drag Addict to premiere in Manchester

A new musical choreographed by Dame Arlene Phillips (Guys & Dolls, Grease), is set to have its world premiere at Manchester’s HOME in July.

Drag Addict follows Dolly Ravage, who is battling to save Manchester’s Club Fierce in the Gay Village from property developers, and who isn’t going down without a fight!

Written by celebrated novelist Matt Cain (Becoming Ted), and with music by David Andrew Wilson, Head of Music at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Really Useful Group, the show will play HOME in Manchester from 18 July to 13 August.

The concept of the show was originally developed by Arlene Phillips, who will choreograph the musical. The show will be directed by Jonathan O’Boyle (Top Hat).

Last week Dame Arlene Phillips was named as the winner of this year’s ‘Special Award’ at the 2023 Olivier Awards, alongside Sir Derek Jacobi as recipient of this year’s ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’. Olivier Award nominations are set to be announced today, 28 August 2023.

Arlene Phillips will have two productions on stage in the West End this summer, with Nicholas Hytner’s new immersive production of Guys & Dolls starting previews at the Bridge Theatre from 3 March; and the acclaimed Leicester Curve production of Grease heading back to the Dominion Theatre this summer from 2 June 2023, starring Louise Redknapp.

Arlene Phillips said in a press statement: “When I moved from Manchester to London in the 1970’s, many people found an escape in my dance classes from a society that still frowned upon their sexuality. It became a place where they were free to express themselves through dance in any way they wanted. It has been my dream to create a musical that embraces my love of drag and the LGBTQ plus community. I was lucky enough to have two creative friends in my life, Matt Cain and David Wilson, that I could bring together to make it a reality.”

Writer, broadcaster and author Matt Cain said: “In my novels and journalism I’ve always loved exploring themes of LGBTQ plus identity, culture and community, asking what it means to be gay or queer in our modern, digital world. So it’s a real thrill to be opening up this new channel for my creativity and exploring the same themes in musical theatre. I’m also overjoyed to be creating a show that pays tribute to my home city of Manchester, a city that saved my life as a teenager and helped shape both the person and the writer I’ve become today.”

Composer David Andrew Wilson said: “I am so excited to be bringing Drag Addict to HOME in Manchester. So much of this musical was written in lockdown when Matt, Arlene and I were just dreaming about what it would be like to be back on Canal Street. And now, here we are, about to open in Manchester! Writing pop music has always been my number one passion and I am so excited that I’ve had the opportunity to write a show that incorporates modern pop to 90s dance to Broadway big band in an entirely original score. It’s time to Slay the Runway!”

Currently playing at HOME in Manchster is Song From Away starring Will Young, which opened last week to strong reviews from the critics.

HOME is also a stop on Tracy-Ann Oberman’s tour of her new adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice 1936.

The show is produced by JAS Theatricals, Aria Entertainment and Home.

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📷 Main photo: Dame Arlene Phillips

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