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Exclusive: New musical adaptation of An Officer and a Gentleman to open in Leicester

The production is a world premiere of a new musical version of the original '80s film

Nikolai Foster and Kate Prince

Curve in Leicester is to host the world premiere of An Officer and a Gentleman - the Musical in April 2018.

The show is based on the 1982 Oscar-winning film starring Richard Gere and tells the story of Zack Mayo, a US Navy pilot trainee.

The brand new version, which has been adapted directly from the film, was created in collaboration with original screenwriter Douglas Day Stewart and Sharleen Cooper Cohen who both penned the book. The music is made up of the film's hit song "Up Where We Belong" as well as classic '80s pop tracks including "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", "Toy Soldiers", "Alone", "Don't Cry Outloud" and "Material Girl".

Nikolai Foster, artistic director of Curve will direct and ZooNation artistic director Kate Prince will choreograph the piece, which is produced by Jamie Wilson and Curve.

Foster said: "When I first looked at the film of An Officer and a Gentleman I was genuinely blown away by this tender, poignant, intimate study of working class lives and incredible women who are looking to escape from the society they feel trapped within.

"There was a big musical version staged in Australia, but we knew that this wasn't going to be that. In a workshop at Curve we took the film script and felt the characters would best be expressed through '80s pop and rock music.

"We have used the intimacy and quiet poignancy of the movie and integrated the pop songs, making them a coherent part of it."

Foster, along with chief executive Chris Stafford, writer Day Stuart, Wilson and the creative team workshopped the musical a year ago with a view to creating a new version of the piece.

"We got into a room with a load of good actors," said Foster, "and it went really well. We let it simmer for a year and worked on the script with Douglas and then this summer we had another workshop, this time knowing we would be producing the piece. We knew this summer that the musical really does work."

On Prince's choreography, Foster said: "I've long admired Kate and after I saw Everybody's Talking About Jamie at Sheffield, I thought: 'Of course, she does work outside ZooNation'. She's incredible. Kate is the first person I wanted to create a really interesting physical language - on the naval base they do karate classes, and assault courses. I'm so thrilled it's all come together."

Michael Taylor is designing the piece, while Sarah Travis is the musical supervisor. The show opens at Curve on 6 April 2018 before touring the UK until 15 September. Casting is yet to be announced.

An Officer and a Gentleman runs at Curve, Leicester from 6 to 21 April and then tours to Leeds, Southampton, Birmingham, Liverpool, Dublin, Cardiff, Sheffield and more.

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