Maggie McKenna will star as Muriel Heslop in Muriel's Wedding The Musical at the Sydney Theatre Company.
Maggie McKenna will star as Muriel Heslop in Muriel's Wedding The Musical at the Sydney Theatre Company.
(© photo provided by Boneau/Bryan-Brown)

Following an exhaustive search, Sydney Theatre Company has announced that the title role in the upcoming world premiere of Muriel's Wedding The Musical will be played by newcomer Maggie McKenna. The theatrical version of P.J. Hogan's iconic hit film will begin performances November 6 in advance of a November 18 opening and will run through January 27, 2018, at the Roslyn Packer Theatre.

McKenna, born and raised in Melbourne, recently returned to Australia from Los Angeles, where she trained at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). Muriel's Wedding will mark her professional stage debut.

The musical will feature a book by Hogan, the original screenwriter, with songs by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, and Stig Anderson, originally written for ABBA, alongside original music by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall. Simon Phillips directs.

Joining McKenna in the cast will be Justine Clarke as Betty, with other members of the Heslop clan played by Briallen Clarke (Joanie), Michael Whalley (Perry), and Connor Sweeney (Malcolm), with Helen Dallimore as beauty consultant Deidre Chambers. The cast also features Aaron Tsindos (Chook), Christie Whelan Browne (Tania Degano), and Manon Gunderson Briggs and Laura Murphy as a pair of bridesmaids. Ben Bennett takes on the role of Brice Nobes, Stephen Madsen plays Alexander Shkuratov, and Josh Quong Tart plays Ken. Rounding out the ensemble are Sheridan Harbridge, Mark Hill, Annie Aitken, Kaeng Chan, Tony Cogin, Adrian Li Donni, and Kenneth Moraleda.

The production is described as follows: "Muriel Heslop is back! And this time she's singing. Stuck in a dead-end life in Porpoise Spit, Muriel dreams of the perfect wedding: the white dress, the church, the attention. Unfortunately, there's one thing missing. A groom. Following her dreams to Sydney, Muriel ends up with everything she ever wanted: a man, a fortune, and a million Twitter followers. That's when things start to go really wrong."

One of the most popular Australian movies of all time, Muriel's Wedding starred Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Jeanie Drynan, Sophie Lee, and Bill Hunter.