Starvox Entertainment Presents North American Premiere Of BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM: THE MUSICAL

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Starvox Entertainment Presents North American Premiere Of BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM: THE MUSICAL

Leading live-entertainment company Starvox Entertainment, Bend it Films and Kintop Picturesin association with TO Live, are thrilled to present the North American premiere production of BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM: The Musical. Arriving in time for the holiday season with a limited engagement December 7, 2019 - January 5, 2020 at the Bluma Appel Theatreat the St. Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts, rehearsals are underway in Toronto now with a diverse cast of performers from Canada, the UK, and US.

A heartwarming musical comedy about bending the rules and living life on your own terms, BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM: The Musical is a vibrant and colourful story about a teen girl from a South Asian Sikh family who desperately wants to play soccer, against the wishes of her traditional immigrant parents. Set in West London, the story follows two teenage girls from different backgrounds who share an aptitude for soccer and pressure from their families to conform. Like the film that won over millions of hearts worldwide, the musical marries contemporary British and South Asian music and dance, the joy of discovering your passion and fighting for it, an irreverent sense of humour, and a healthy dose of girl power.

"We are tremendously excited to be bringing this absolutely iconic story to North America and to be debuting it in Toronto," says Starvox Entertainment Founder and CEO Corey Ross. "Bend It Like Beckhamis truly a family friendly musical that blends a fresh story, a great multicultural element - the fusion of contemporary and South Asian music and dance - and the amazing message that girls can and should be totally unlimited in pursuing their dreams! If you and your family love musicals, soccer and Bollywood dancing this is for you!"

Gurinder Chadhaof Bend It Films, who will serve as Artistic Director of the Toronto production, adds" I love this musical, in many ways I think it's better than my film! Toronto is the perfect city to stage it as the audience just gets all the cultural joy and celebration."

"We are delighted to be working with Starvox to bring this production to Toronto" says Deepak Nayar of Kintop Pictures, who produced the movie and the show in the West End.

Joining Chadha on the creative team, are director Madeline Paul, costume designer Sean Mulcahy (Actually/Obsidian, Freud's Last Session/Harold Green), set designer Sue LePage (Brigadoon/Shaw Festival, Innocence Lost/Soulpepper),sound designer John Lott (Brigadoon, Holiday Inn/Shaw Festival),musical director Mark Camilleri (The Lorax, Prom Queen/Mirvish), and internationally renowned choreographer Daniel Ezralow(known for his film and stage work with Julie Taymor, his contributions to Cirque du Soleil's Beatle's inspired show LOVE,directing a David Bowietour, and choreographing for the Sochi Olympics, theGrammy Awards, and theAcademy Awards) who will collaboratewithBollywood superstar choreographer Longinus Fernandes, best known internationally for his work on the Oscar Award-winningSlumdog Millionaire, choreographing the famous Jai Hosequence that ended the film.

"Daniel's work at the Sochi Olympics demonstrated how he can capture the visceral power of sport in dance, and with Slumdog Millionairethe world saw that Longinus is the world's best Bollywood-style Bhangra choreographer. Putting them together is going to deliver the most breathtaking show in town," says Starvox Entertainment Founder and CEO Corey Ross."I can't think of a better dream team to bring the dance to life than Daniel Ezralow and Longinus Fernandes - they are both world leading artists who have created absolutely electrifying dances for stage and screen and I know they're going to create some simply thrilling choreography for this production."

In the roles made famous by Parminder Nagra and Kiera Knightley, rising stars Laila Zaidi and Catarina Ciccone will play the roles of Jess and Jules. Zaidi hails from the UK where she starred in the ITV comedy Benidormas well as productions of Starlight Expressand West Side Story; Ciccone is a familiar face to local audiences having starred in recent productions of Guys and Dolls, Drayton Entertainment's Hairspray, and in Starvox Entertainment's acclaimed production of Queen and Elton John's We Will Rock You, playing Oz.

Zaidi and Ciccone are joined by Nicola Dawn Brooks(Joyaand Saltimbanco/Cirque du Soleil, Kinky Boots/Mirvish) as Jules' mum Paula; UK actor Ashley Emerson(The Princess Switch/Netflix,Mamma Mia) as soccer coach Joe; Sorab Wadia(Monsoon Wedding, Kite Runner, 30 Rock) is Mr. Bhamra; Zorana Sadiq(Beauty and the Beast/YPT, Toward's Youth/Crow's Theatre) is Mrs. Bhamra; Matt Nethersole(Brigadoon, The Horse and His Boy/Shaw Theatre) plays Tony; and UK actress Blythe Jandoo(Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin/Disney) plays Pinky.

BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM: The Musical is based on the juggernaut film of the same name, which first debuted in the UK in April 2002. The film dominated the British weekend box-office for several weeks going on to make over $11 million (British pounds). BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM opened in North America in March of 2003 and was a surprise critical and popular hit, ultimately grossing $76.6 million worldwide, becoming the highest grossing Indian-themed film since Gandhiand kickstarting the careers of Parminder Nagra and Kiera Knightley. Notably, it was also the first feature film directed by a British South Asian woman.

The musical made its West End London World Premiere at The Phoenix Theatre in May of 2015 where it ran for a year and received critical raves. Variety said the story worked even better on stage and called it"a sympathetic portrait of adolescence, a hearty celebration of multiculturalism and a big fat feminist hell-yeah... It's what you wish the West End were like all the year round." The Guardian cheered, "..with catchy music, fantastic design and Great Performances, the ebullient musical looks sure to be a hit" and of the music said "[the] east-west bhangra fusion serves the story ebulliently." "This is the most irresistibly joyous musical-theatre make-over of a much-loved movie sinceBilly Elliot," proclaimed The Independent.

The book for BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM: The Musical is written by Gurinder Chadha and writing partner Paul Mayeda Berges, with lyrics by Charles Hart(Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera andAspects of Love), music by Classical Brit Composer of the Year winner Howard Goodall,and produced by Deepak Nayar(Bend It Like Beckham, Mysterious Benedict Society, Buena Vista Social Club.) Chadha directed the West End production.

BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM will be on stage in Toronto at The Bluma Appel Theatre at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts from December 2, 2019 to January 5, 2020. (Opening night: December 17). Tickets will be available from $49.95 to $299.95 beginning May 7, 2019.

For more information and tickets visit www.benditmusical.com

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