Published on November 21st, 2022 | by Adrian Gunning
Media Release: Star of & JULIET announced today
Today the producers of West End and Broadway smash hit & JULIET are delighted to announce Lorinda May Merrypor will take on her first starring role as ‘Juliet’ when the Australian production premieres at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre in March 2023.
26-year-old Merrypor blew the international creative team away with her exceptional audition that included hits from the show, Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time and Katy Perry’s Roar.
Director Luke Sheppard shared, “The moment we met Lorinda we knew she had something very special. Her extraordinary voice with its distinct pop sensibility blew us away, but it was her remarkable magnetism and power as a storyteller that made it clear she would be Australia’s ‘Juliet’.”
A proud Aboriginal and South Sea Islander woman hailing from Rockhampton, Merrypor is ecstatic to inhabit this empowered reimagining of Shakespeare’s famed character:
“Ever since I could walk or talk it’s been my dream to perform a role like ‘Juliet’. When I got the call I burst into tears, just so overwhelmed that I have the opportunity to play such a strong and passionate female lead. I’ve grown up listening to Ariana Grande, Britney Spears, and Katy Perry, and I’m beyond excited that I will get to sing these iconic pop anthems night after night. I’m also excited to represent my First Nations community and the generations of storytellers that make me who I am as a performer.”
After graduating from Queensland Conservatorium in 2016, Merrypor performed ensemble roles in American Idiot and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and most recently appeared in a touring production of Tony Briggs’ The Sapphires. Throughout 2020 and 2021 she dedicated her time to running workshops for aspiring young performers in remote communities across regional Queensland.
The full cast of & JULIET will be announced on Wednesday 30 November.
With a book by Emmy® Award-winning Schitt’s Creek writer David West Read and music from legendary five-time GRAMMY® Award-winning songwriter/producer Max Martin, & JULIET sees Shakespeare’s most famous love story remixed with some of the most iconic pop songs of the last three decades in an uplifting story of self-discovery, empowerment and love.
& JULIET first premiered on the West End in 2019 at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London, where it was nominated for nine and went on to win three Olivier Awards, as well as six WhatsOnStage Awards, the most of any production that year.
Last week & JULIET opened on Broadway to widespread acclaim, with Variety declaring it “a shot of pure gold.”
& JULIET will play exclusively at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre from next March, making it the third city in the world to host the critically acclaimed West End hit after London and New York.
Tickets are currently available for performances from 26 February 2023 to 9 April 2023, exclusively through ticketek.com.au.
“The apotheosis of the jukebox musical”
The Stage ★★★★★
“If music be the food of love, then & JULIET serves up an all-you-can-eat buffet of the highest standard.”
The Independent ★★★★
“This glittery fever dream of a musical shines”
Evening Standard ★★★★
What if the ending we all know so well was just the beginning? What if Juliet chose her own fate?
& JULIET flips the script on the greatest love story ever told, imagining what would happen if Juliet hadn’t ended it all for Romeo and got a second chance at life and love – on her terms.
Juliet’s new story bursts to life through an addictive playlist of pop anthems by legendary scribe Max Martin and his collaborators including Since U Been Gone, Roar, Baby One More Time, Larger Than Life, That’s The Way It Is, Can’t Stop the Feeling, plus a brand-new song written especially for the show by Martin.
The original creative team reunites for the Australian production and includes David West Read (Book), Max Martin (Music & Lyrics), Luke Sheppard (Direction), Jennifer Weber (Choreography), Soutra Gilmour (Set Design), Paloma Young (Costume Design), Bill Sherman (Musical Supervision, Orchestrations and Arrangements), Howard Hudson (Lighting Design), Gareth Owen (Sound Design) and Andrzej Goulding (Video & Projection Design).
& JULIET is produced by Michael Cassel Group in association with MTM/LeyLine.
& JULIET is supported by the Victorian Government’s annual Major Events Fund, through Visit Victoria.