Identical, a brand new musical based on the novel The Parent Trap by Erich Kästner, is heading to The Lowry this month.
The book inspired the hugely successful Disney films featuring Hayley Mills in 1961 and Lindsay Lohan in 1998, which have become much-loved classics for families around the world.
Now the story has been turned into a stage musical full of “charm, sincerity, humour, and plenty of catchy songs” (What’s On Stage) – and there’s an exclusive I Love MCR ticket offer, too (see below).
Identical is directed by Olivier and Tony award-winning theatre legend Trevor Nunn (Les Miserables, Starlight Express, Cats and Sunset Boulevard) and produced by Kenny Wax, who was President of the Society of London Theatre during the pandemic (now Vice President) and is regularly featured in The Stage newspaper’s 100 most influential industry members.
Kenny, who was born in Bowdon and lived in Hale growing up, has been in the theatre industry for around 35 years, starting out as an usher and then working up to producing his own small shows.
“In one of my very early jobs, back in 1989, I was pestering Cameron Mackintosh, who was producing Miss Saigon at the time, to give me a job as a runner on a new musical he was producing at the Tricycle theatre in Kilburn, London,” recalls Kenny.
“The musical was Rudyard Kipling’s Just So stories.
“That was where I met George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, who have ended up being really good friends of mine – and also they’re the people I commissioned as songwriters to write the music and lyrics for Identical.
“It’s so nice to be still working together after over 30 years.”
Identical, which has been described by The Daily Telegraph as “ingenious to the point of genius” in a 5-star review, tells the story of Lottie and Lisa, twin girls separated at birth, reunited by chance at a summer camp 10 years later.
In an attempt to get to know their other parent, they decide to swap identities.
Three sets of identical twins are sharing the central roles of Lottie and Lisa in the play, following a five-year casting search and multiple auditions across the UK.
And the show also introduces two new canine stars, Cairn Terrier Ness, and West Highland Terrier Louby, who will share the role of Pepi.
“They say in theatre never to work with children or animals – and we’ve got both,” laughs Kenny.
“But it’s a gorgeous story. It’s very moving.”
Kenny, who has family in Greater Manchester and is a huge Man City fan, has been putting on shows in The Lowry since the Salford Quays venue opened with his company, Kenny Wax Ltd.
His shows include SIX the musical (which is currently at The Lowry until 14th August 2022) and The Play That Goes Wrong.
“Identical felt like a good one to bring to my hometown,” he says.
The show, whose “sparkling performances, especially from the twins, will charm audiences of all ages” (Broadway World), is destined for the West End; “probably next summer,” says Kenny – but you can catch it first at The Lowry.
Identical is at The Lowry from Tuesday 19th August to Saturday 3rd September 2022. Exclusive I Love MCR ticket offer – £10 off all tickets from 19th – 27th August excluding Saturday matinees, follow this link to redeem the offer.