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Footloose: The Musical comes to Sunderland Empire

Footloose: The Musical

Footloose: The Musical returns in a brand new production with Gareth Gates as Willard and Maureen Nolan as Vi Moore, tickets now on sale.

Worldwide smash hit musical Footloose: The Musical will burst back onto the stage in 2016, playing at Sunderland Empire from 11-15 October 2016 as part of a major new UK Tour.

Based on the 1984 screen sensation starring Kevin Bacon, Footloose: The Musical tells the story of city boy Ren, who has to move to a rural backwater in America where dancing is banned. All hell breaks out as Ren breaks loose and soon has the whole town up on its feet. Featuring classic 80s hits including Holding Out for a Hero, Almost Paradise, Let's Hear it for the Boy and the unforgettable title track, Footloose: The Musical is set to take the world by storm once again in this brand new production, bursting with youthful spirit, dazzling dance and electrifying music.

When the film was released in 1984, it became the highest-grossing February release in US film history.  The soundtrack album ended the year-long reign of Michael Jackson’s Thriller at number one and went on top album charts all over the world, eventually selling in excess of 17 million copies.  Footloose was nominated for a Golden Globe, and both the title song and Let’s Hear It for the Boy received Academy Award nominations. Footloose: The Musical first opened on Broadway in 1998 where it ran for 709 performances, with a London production following in 2006, opening at the Novello Theatre following a UK Tour.

The cast includes Gareth Gates as Willard and Maureen Nolan as Vi Moore.

Gareth Gates rose to fame through the inaugural series of Pop Idol in 2001, going on to sell over 5 million records worldwide and have hits across the globe. His version of Unchained Melody sold over a million copies in the UK and is the 3rd best-selling single of the Noughties. Gareth is also the youngest ever-male solo artist to debut at number 1.  More recently Garethhas enjoyed a successful career on stage, with credits including Les Misérables, Legally Blonde and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. In 2014 Gareth appeared in the final series of Dancing on Ice, and joined boyband 5th Story as part of ITV’s second series of The Big Reunion, touring arenas with bands including Blue and Five.

Maureen Nolan has been singing with her sisters since she was nine years old, when they became one of Europe’s first girl bands, The Nolans. Best known for their smash hit single I’m in the Mood for Dancing, The Nolans enjoyed phenomenal record sales worldwide, and worked with some of the world’s most respected artists including Frank Sinatra. On stage, Maureen has played Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers in the West End and on tour to critical acclaim. She was the fourth Nolan sister to play the role, earning them entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. Other credits include Sadie in Girl’s Behind, Jill in Mum’s the Word and Sarah in The Naked Truth.

Gareth Gates said,

“I have been so lucky to perform in some of the greatest musicals over the years, from Joseph to Les Misérables and Legally Blonde, and I am so excited that Footloose is my next. It’s such a high energy show full of incredible dance and music, and this brand new production is a fresh and exciting new take on it. I can’t wait to bring the show to Sunderland; we’re going to absolutely blow the roof off Sunderland Empire in October!”

Luke Baker will play Ren McCormack, the role immortalised on screen by Kevin Bacon. Luke recently finished playing Theo in Green Day’s American Idiot in the West End, with other West End credits including the Olivier Award-winning Sunny Afternoon, Beautiful Thing and I Can’t Sing.

The cast also features Hannah Price as Ariel Moore, Nigel Lister as Reverend Shaw Moore, Nicky Swift as Ethel McCormack, Joanna Sawyer as Rusty, Matthew Tomlinson as Chuck, Natasha Brown as Wendy-Jo, Miracle Chance as Urleen and Scott Haining as Bickie. The cast also includes Lauren Storer, Natalie Morton-Graham, Luke Thornton and Alex Marshall.

Footloose: The Musical has music by Tom Snow and lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and is adapted for the stage by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie. It is based on the original screenplay by Dean Pitchford. It is directed by Racky Plews (American Idiot, West End) with choreography by Matthew Cole, design by Sara Perks and musical supervision by Mark Crossland. It is produced by David Hutchinson and Phillip Rowntree for Sell A Door Theatre Company, Tristan Baker and Charlie Parsons for Runaway Entertainment, Jason Haigh-Ellery and Stephen McGill Productions. It is presented by arrangement with R&H Theatricals Europe.

Find out more and book tickets for Footloose at Sunderland Empire.

Photo Credit Matt Martin.

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Perhaps Sunderland's most prominent landmark is Penshaw Monument. It was built in 1844 in honour of the first Earl of Durham, John George Lambton. Penshaw was modelled on Theseion, the Temple of Thesus in Athens.

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