Photo credit: Josh Bird for Global Musicals

42 Balloons to play at The Lowry in 2024 

Award winning producers Andy and Wendy Barnes from Global Musicals (SIX, The Choir of Man, Pieces of String, LIFT) and Kevin McCollum from Alchemation (In The Heights, Avenue Q, Rent, Mrs Doubtfire) are delighted to announce that tickets are now on sale for the first full production of new musical 42 Balloons playing at The Lowry, Salford from 18 April – 19 May 2024.

2nd of July 1982.

Using a lawn chair and approximately 42 helium-filled weather balloons, truck driver Larry Walters defied all the odds (and FAA airspace regulations!) to make his lifelong dream a reality and fly sixteen thousand feet above Los Angeles.

No, seriously.    In a chair.

42 BALLOONS is an uplifting musical inspired by the highly improbable true story of how Larry, and his partner Carol Van Deusen, convinced their friends and family to help Larry achieve his dream of flying.

Featuring an irresistible, 80s pop-inspired score, 42 BALLOONS questions how far you would go to make your dreams come true. Is the sky actually the limit, and what happens if it doesn’t all go to plan?

42 Balloons will star Charlie McCullagh (Bonnie & Clyde, Dr.Zhivago) and Evelyn Hoskins (Waitress, Gypsy, Spring Awakening) reprising their roles as ‘Larry’ and ‘Carol’ from the 2022 staged concert performances in the West End. Further casting will be announced later in the year.

42 Balloons has been in development since 2020 with Perfect Pitch - an entity dedicated exclusively to creating, developing and promoting new contemporary British musicals. The song 42 Balloons and a Lawnchair was released in 2021 on Perfect Pitch’s Rise:Up YouTube channel and in November 2022, the producers presented four semi-staged concert performances, which received hugely positive feedback from public and theatre commentators alike.

42 Balloons has book, music and lyrics by Jack Godfrey whose other works include This is a Love Story (Dundee Rep) and Babies (YMT:UK).

Jack Godfrey said, “After five years of writing and a journey that has at times seemed as unlikely as Larry’s flight, it feels incredibly surreal that we now get to present the full production of 42 BALLOONS next year. I’m extremely proud of our team, I’m hugely grateful to everyone who has helped us to get to this point and I can’t wait to share this show with everyone.”

Wendy Barnes said, “In 42 Balloons, Jack Godfrey gives us a contemporary, original musical score rather uniquely fused with 80s inspired familiarity and nostalgia in equal measure. I was introduced to the show as a first draft of act one through our open submissions process and after a quick google of the real-life Larry Walters and hearing Jack’s impressive score and witty lyrics, I was hooked by the end of the Prologue! Andy and I are dedicated to supporting the work of lesser-known, emerging British artists and we’re incredibly excited to collaborate with Jack, The Lowry and the wider creative team to bring this fantastic new musical to audiences.”

Steve Cowton and Matthew Eames, co-Heads of Theatre at The Lowry: “‘We have invested a lot in new musicals in recent years – through Rewrites, Operation Mincemeat, Police Cops and our artist development programme – but it is important that this is backed up by bold programming. Supporting the premiere production of 42 Balloons felt like the natural next step. Jack is an incredibly exciting writer, and this is a fascinating story to tell. We think audiences will love it and we are delighted they can see it here first!”

Ellie Coote will direct the production with orchestrations & arrangements by Joe Beighton, choreography by Alexzandra Sarmiento, casting by Pearson Casting CDG and music direction by Flynn Sturgeon.

42 Balloons is produced by Andy & Wendy Barnes for Global Musicals & Kevin McCollum in association with The Lowry, Debbie Hicks, Sam Levy, S&Co and Kenny Wax.

Additional creative team and casting will be announced in due course.


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