'Bend It Like Beckham' Musical, Based on Hit Film with Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley, Headed for London Stage

By Jon Sobel on Nov 10, 2014 12:07 PM EST

A new musical based Bend It Like Beckham, the hit 2002 film by Gurinder Chadha that helped launch Keira Knightley's movie career and the TV stardom of E.R.'s Parminder Nagra, will open at the Phoenix Theatre in London in May 2015.

Chadha co-wrote the book with Paul Mayeda Berges and will be on hand to direct the musical, which has music and lyrics by Howard Goodall (A Winter's Tale, The Hired Man) and Charles Hart (The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies). Aletta Collins will handle the choreography and musical staging.

Casting will be announced shortly. Samantha Barks (Oliver!, City of Angels at Donmar Warehouse, "éponine" in the 2012 film adaptation of Les Misérables) took part in a development workshop in 2013 and has been rumored among the cast.

The comedy-drama focusses on Jess, an 18-year-old Punjabi Sikh girl (Nagra) passionate about soccer but forced to hide her athletic activities from her tradition-minded parents. The film and the director won a number of awards, and Keira Knightley, who plays Jess's friend and teammate Jules, won the 2002 London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Newcomer. Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) and Jonathan Rhys Meyers co-starred as well.

Said Chadha, "It was always my intention to build on the film and to present its themes and storylines to live audiences in an exciting new dynamic way. I have been inspired by musicals ever since I was a little girl [and] now with Bend It Like Beckham, such a familiar story to so many, I believe we are presenting a totally new kind of musical--part West End, part London Punjabi, but wholeheartedly British."

The musical will begin previews May 15, 2015 and open June 24, 2015.

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TagsKeira Knightley, Bend It Like Beckham, Parminder Nagra, Samantha Barks, West End, London, Musical, musical theater, Gurinder Chadha, Archie Panjabi

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