Paws for applause: Paddington set to star in stage musical | Theatre

Paws for applause: Paddington set to star in stage musical | Theatre

Paddington, Michael Bond’s “very rare sort of bear”, is to star in a new stage musical. The production, announced on Tuesday, is being developed by Sonia Friedman’s company, whose hits include Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and will have music and lyrics by McFly’s Tom Fletcher. It is currently being workshopped with the title Paddington: The Musical and has a UK premiere planned for 2025.

The show is adapted from Bond’s bestselling children’s books – the first of which was published 65 years ago – and from the popular live-action film versions which feature Ben Whishaw as the voice of a CGI Paddington. How the marmalade-loving, accident-prone bear will be represented on stage has not yet been revealed.

Fletcher, who founded the group McFly as a guitarist and singer, has since co-written a series of picture books and his children’s theatre production There’s a Monster in Your Show is currently on tour. He is joined for Paddington by scriptwriter Jessica Swale, who won an Olivier award for Nell Gwynn, and director Luke Sheppard, who staged the jukebox musical & Juliet.

Friedman and Eliza Lumley, whose company is co-producing, said: “The magic of Paddington is that, through his wide-eyed innocence, he sees the very best in humanity, reminding us that love and kindness can triumph if we open our hearts and minds to one another … We hope to inspire audiences of all ages with fun, beauty, joy, and all that Paddington stands for.”

The books about Paddington, who arrives in London from Peru and is welcomed in by a kindly family at 32 Windsor Gardens, have sold more than 35m copies worldwide. StudioCanal and Heyday Films’ adaptations were released in 2014 and 2017. A third film, Paddington in Peru, will be released in November 2024. An interactive experience inspired by Paddington, originally due to open this year at London’s County Hall, is now set to open next year.

Casting and further details of the creative team for the musical are yet to be announced.

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