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New musical, Breakfast on Pluto, to have London run at the Donmar Warehouse

Breakfast on Pluto

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ON March 9, 2020, producers Anne Clarke (Landmark Productions) and Paul Fahy (Galway International Arts Festival) officially announced details of the World Premiere production of Breakfast on Pluto, A New Irish Musical.

The rural Irish border town of Tyreelin at the height of the Troubles is no place for a wonderfully unpredictable child like Patrick/Pussy Braden, illegitimate offspring of an errant priest and a long-gone local girl.

Dismayed by small-town bigotry, religious repression and the IRA’s lack of fashion sense, Pussy ditches watchtowers and checkpoints for the faraway galaxy of 1970s London in search of a long-lost mother and a technicolour new life.

Ever since a small audience got a glimpse of a work-in-progress showing last summer in Galway, excitement has been building around this brand new musical, which will play 120 performances in four cities, in two countries over five months.

Written by Bob Kelly (Tintown), with a musical score composed by renowned songwriter and performer Duke Special, this eagerly-anticipated new production will be directed by Des Kennedy (Good Vibrations/International Associate Director, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child).

The creative team also includes Musical Director, Arranger, Orchestrator Jennifer Whyte, Choreographer Jennifer Rooney, Set and Costume Designer Katie Davenport and Lighting Designer Sinéad McKenna.

The role of Patrick/Pussy will be played by Fra Fee (Translations, National Theatre, The Ferryman, Royal Court Theatre, West End and Broadway, and the film version of Les Misérables) in this dazzling musical of self-discovery.

He will be joined by Niamh Perry (Good Vibrations, Lyric; Mamma Mia! and Love Never Dies, West End), David Ganly (On Blueberry Hill, Girl from the North Country, West End), Kate Gilmore (Town is Dead, Abbey Theatre, Fair City, RTÉ) and Rickie O’Neill (Once, Olympia; The Saw Doctors), with further casting to be announced.

MD Jennifer Whyte leads a crack band of four multi-instrumentalists, who will play live on stage.

Producer Anne Clarke (Landmark Productions) said: “It’s been three years in the making, and today we are thrilled to announce the world premiere of a brilliant new Irish musical. We are grateful to Patrick McCabe for embracing the possibility of making a musical from his groundbreaking novel, with its unique and inspirational protagonist, and thrilled to be working with such phenomenal artists as Bob Kelly, Duke Special and Des Kennedy to tell this very Irish, but deeply universal, story.

“We are grateful to the Arts Council for supporting the development and production of the work; to our regular co-producing partners Galway International Arts Festival, where the world premiere performance will take place; to our new co-producing partners Birmingham Repertory Theatre, who today announce a wide-ranging season of work as part of Sean Foley’s first full season as artistic director; to our London partners the Donmar Warehouse; and to our presenting partners in the Olympia Theatre.

“It’s a pretty extraordinary road ahead for a new musical, even before the first note is sung. What a journey it promises to be.”

Breakfast on Pluto will premiere as part of Galway International Arts Festival 2020 (previewing July 9-12) officially opening July 13 in the Black Box Theatre for a two week run. The production will then transfer to Dublin’s Olympia Theatre, running from July 30 to August 15. Breakfast on Pluto will then head to the UK, running at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre from September 3 – 26 before transferring to the Donmar Warehouse for a seven-week run from October 2 to November 21.

Alongside the production, the Donmar will be hosting an actor showcase for trans performers in collaboration with Gendered Intelligence, hosted by both the Donmar Warehouse and Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Tickets for performances of Breakfast on Pluto at the Donmar Warehouse will go on sale soon. Sign up to the Donmar’s newsletter to be the first to know when tickets are available. www.donmarwarehouse.com/.