Based on the film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, the story centers on three drag queens in the midst of a cross country road trip. The film was one of the first mainstream positive depictions of drag as a art, rather than as the butt of a joke.
The Hope Mill Theatre premiere will star Peter Caulfield (Tammy Faye, Jesus Christ Superstar) as Vida Boheme, Gregory Haney (TINA – The Tina Turner Musical, Hamilton) as Noxeema Jackson, and Pablo Gómez Jones (In Dreams, Les Misérables) as Chichi Rodríguez.
They will be joined by Carolyn Maitland (Next to Normal, Jersey Boys) as Carol Ann, Duncan Burt (Friendsical) as Sheriff Dollard, Alexander Kranz as Bobby Ray, Arthur Boan (Oklahoma!) as Tommy Paul, Ayesha Maynard (Hairspray) as Beulah June, Emily Ooi (Miss Saigon) as Bobby Lee, Jermaine Woods (Sister Act) as Willie Joe/John Jacob, Lee Harris (Les Misérables) as Ed Earl/Crazy Elijah, Natalie Day (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) as Mary Lou, Scott Hunter (The Play That Goes Wrong) as Billy Budd, Susie Fenwick (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical) as Clara Pearl, Samantha Bingley (Beauty and the Beast) as Rose of Sharon, and Theo Maddix (Cabaret) as Rachel Tensions/Jimmy Jack. Rounding out the cast are Jamil Abbasi (Great British Bake-Off Musical) and Megan Davies-Truin (Jerry Springer the Opera).
To Wong Foo will begin performances at Hope Mill Theatre October 21 for a limited run. Opening night is set for October 26.
Adapted by Tony nominee (and original screenwriter) Douglas Carter Beane, the musical will feature music and lyrics by Lewis Flinn. Beane will also direct the production.
To Wong Foo will also feature choreography by Jane McMurtrie, musical supervision by Brad Simmons, set design by Katie Lias, costume design by Gregory Gale, wig design by Bobbie Zlotnik, make up design by Andrew Sotomayor, sound design by Sam Glossop, lighting design by Jack Weir, video design by Dan Light, musical direction by Andrew Hilton, associate direction by Joseph Houston, intimacy coordination and fight direction by Haruka Kurado, associate costume design by Rachel Tansey and casting by Sarah Leung.
Said Beane in a previous statement: “I am so thrilled to bring the world premiere of To Wong Foo not only to the U.K., 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, and fortunately for me, Steven Spielberg and Beeban Kidron thought it would make a great movie. But, for me it was always the ambition to bring it to the stage and I’m so happy it's finally happening. Although the musical continues to be an homage to drag, '90s New York, and the amazing individuals who made it such a vibrant place to be, it is even more politically relevant today than ever before as censorship and condemnation of drag is unfortunately on the rise in the United States. I hope this show connects with new audiences as it did way back then…come along for the ride!”