The BFI’s latest season will celebrate the film musical, celebrating the stars and directors who influenced this genre of film.

An American in Paris

The full programme of this new season was announced at an event which took place at the BFII Southbank this evening, with special guests in attendance including Petula Clark and Clarke Peters and Patricia Ward Kelly, wife and biographer of Hollywood legend Gene Kelly. 

BFI Musicals! The Greatest Show on Screen will celebrate the work of actors such as Gene Kelly, Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland and Doris Day as well as directors and composers whose creativity was the driving force behind countless beloved musicals; from the virtuoso choreographer and director Bob Fosse (CabaretSweet Charity)to the late great composer Michel Legrand (Yentl,Les demoiselles de Rochefort).

Funny Face.

Meanwhile, the newly announced programme will also examine the musicals which engage with socio-political themes, such as racism or the horrors of the Depression, as well as celebrate the films which provide audiences with escapism from political uncertainty and troubled times; from the Golden Age of Hollywood’s box office boom during WW2 and in the post-war years, to the phenomenal successes of the latest musical films like The Lion King released this year.

The programme will also span the length and breadth of the UK, with nationwide re-releases of Ken Russell’s rock opera Tommy  and of Jacques Demy’s Palme d’Or-winning The Umbrellas of Cherbourg  alongside the previously announced BFI re-release of Singin’ in the Rain. Each of these releases will be screened at cinemas across the country , alongside a touring programme of 12 musicals presented by the ICO and a major series of special events programmed in partnership with the BFI Film Audience Network. Highlights of the UK-wide BFI FAN programme will include the Wizard of Oz in Belfast Cathedral; an immersive screening of Brigadoon  in Edinburgh; Reframing Streisand, a UK-wide film tour celebrating the iconic star; a series of aquatic themed musicals in and around Belfast harbour; and a Russian musicals season in London, Bristol and Nottingham. The full UK-wide programme will be revealed soon.

There will also be a range of other events in the season which sees special guests taking part including: Imelda Staunton (Theatre: GypsyFollies,Sweeney Todd, The Wizard of Oz), Patricia Ward Kelly (Wife and biographer of Hollywood star Gene Kelly), Clarke Peters ( Five Guys Named MoeGuys and Dolls ), Kerry Ellis (WickedWe Will Rock You) and Howard Schuman.

The season will also be a chance to explore why movie musicals are proving popular again, with the release of La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016), The Greatest Showman (Michael Gracey, 2017) and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again as well upcoming releases of Judy starring Renée Zellweger as Judy Garland, Cats and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

Talking about the season, Robin Baker, Head Curator, BFI National Archive and BFI Musicals Programmer said:“Welcome to the new golden age of the movie musical. Audiences flock to musicals in troubled times – from Busby Berkeley’s spectacular routines during the Depression to the masterpieces of MGM’s Freed Unit during WW2 – so it’s no surprise that the big screen musical is currently enjoying a major revival. We’re delighted to be bringing both classic musicals and rarities to cinemas across the UK in Britain’s biggest ever celebration of the musical. So, time to leave your woes behind and immerse yourself in the emotional, hairs-on-the-back-of-your-arms-raising joy brought to you on the big screen by Barbra Streisand, Gene Kelly, Doris Day, Bob Fosse, Judy Garland, Beyoncé and an all-singing, all-dancing cast of thousands.”

Taking place in cinemas and venues across the UK from October until January 2020, events that visitors and audiences can expect include: immersive venue takeovers, a pop-up piano musicals bar, quiz nights, screenings and events at venues across the UK programmed in partnership with the BFI Film Audience Network, major musical collection on the BFI’s VOD service BFI Player and 100 newly digitised musicals-themed TV programmes available to watch for free in the BFI Mediatheque at BFI Southbank.

For more information about the season visit: https://www.bfi.org.uk/musicals

 

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