Writing a new musical is a huge undertaking; as the old adage goes musicals are rewritten, not written, and take a great deal of development time.

Yesterday Garry McQuinn, the leading producer of one of Australia’s most successful Australian musicals Priscilla Queen of the Desert (currently playing in Adelaide), announced that his company RGM Productions, which he spearheads with Rina Gill, has entered into a groundbreaking partnership with the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and Destination NSW to turn the 1982 Australian film Starstruck into a stage musical.

The announcement was made yesterday at NIDA, at the start of a two-work workshop, using undergraduate musical theatre students and post-graduate students to hone and develop the show’s book, which has been written by Mitchell Butel. It is the first time that NIDA has been involved in the development of a big commercial musical in this way.

McQuinn, who studied at NIDA himself, described the film  Starstruckas ”an Australian fairytale” and “a neglected classic” telling yesterday’s crowd: “I thought why on earth has no one done this before?”

Directed by Gillian Armstrong, and produced by David Elfick and Richard Brennan, Starstruckwas Australia’s first movie musical. Set in Sydney, it told a semi-autobiographical story written by...

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