The UK premiere of Big - The Musical, which was due to open at the Liverpool Empire in February 2011 prior to a national tour and West End transfer, has been postponed.

A statement issued by the theatre said: "Due to circumstances beyond our control, the tour of Big - The Musical as advertised in the Liverpool Empire Autumn Guide will no longer be taking place in spring 2011. However, the producers hope to tour this show at a later date."

The story, adapted from the 1988 film starring Tom Hanks, centres on Josh Baskin, a frustrated adolescent who wishes he was “big” and wakes up the next morning as a 30-year-old man. But, when he discovers there is more to being an adult than he realised, he soon finds himself wishing to be young again.

The musical was first seen at Broadway's Shubert Theatre in April 1996, directed by Mike Ockrent and choreographed by Susan Stroman. However, despite being nominated for five Tony Awards and ten Drama Desk awards, it closed after six months.

The reworked revival was due to be directed by Ian Talbot, former artistic director of the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, while Holby City's Tom Chambers had been lined up to star as Josh. 

The producers are James Milton and Paul Morrissey, of Milton Morrissey Ltd, whose previous credits include staging Cats on the Channel Islands. They said last month: “At its heart, Big is a New York fairytale about the trials and triumphs of growing up ... It is a story which continues to enchant. And we are thrilled to be working with such a phenomenal team to bring it to the stage.”

A spokesperson told Whatsonstage.com that the producers have only postponed the production by a few weeks or months, having decided that ticket sales would be slow over the Christmas lead-up period. The revised schedule means that the starring role will have to be recast as Chambers is not available for the later dates.

No new show has yet been announced to replace Big at the Empire.