12th September 2019 4 Minute Read

Season includes BFI UK-wide re-releases of Tommy, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Singing in the Rain across the UK from Oct 19 to Jan 20

BFI revealed the programme for the UK’s greatest ever season celebrating the film musical, at an all-singing, all-dancing event at BFI Southbank with special guests including actors Petula Clark and Clarke Peters and Patricia Ward Kelly, wife and biographer of Hollywood legend Gene Kelly. BFI Musicals will celebrate the greatest stars including Gene Kelly, Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland and Doris Day, and spotlight the directors and composers whose creativity was the driving force behind countless beloved musicals; from the virtuoso choreographer and director Bob Fosse (Cabaret, Sweet Charity) to the late great composer Michel Legrand (Yentl, Les demoiselles de Rochefort).

The programme will also shine a light on 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 (Jon Favreau, 2019), which has already surpassed $1.5 billion globally.

From singalong screenings to Q&A’s and immersive events for the whole family, BFI Musicals is guaranteed to have the UK singing and dancing in the aisles this autumn.

Head Curator of the BFI National Archive, and BFI Musicals Programmer Robin Baker tonight revealed that the programme would span the length and breadth of the UK, with nationwide re-releases of Ken Russell’s rock opera Tommy (1975), starring Roger Daltrey, Ann-Margret, Elton John, Oliver Reed and Tina Turner, and of Jacques Demy’s Palme d’Or-winning The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) starring Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo. Alongside the previously announced BFI re-release of Singin’ in the Rain (Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen, 1952), these re-releases will screen at venues across the UK, alongside a touring programme of 12 musicals presented by the ICO (Independent Cinema Office) and a major series of special events programmed in partnership with the BFI Film Audience Network (BFI FAN).

Highlights of the UK-wide BFI FAN programme will include the Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939) in Belfast Cathedral; an immersive screening of Brigadoon (Vincente Minnelli, 1954) in Edinburgh; Reframing Streisand, a UKwide 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.

Special guests from the world of film, TV and musical theatre will take part in events throughout the season, with full line-ups being announced by individual cinemas soon.

BFI Musicals will explore the reasons for the current success of the movie musical, including the notion that it is the best form of escapism from the troubled times we are living in. The season will celebrate the greatest stars, directors, composers and choreographers, and look at the stories of the Hollywood, British and international musical. The season will also look to confirm the musical as a genre which, hidden beneath the glitz and glamour, speaks to audiences about profoundly serious subjects, from the hardship of the Depression and the insidiousness of racism to the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.

 BFI MUSICALS THE GREATEST SHOW ON SCREEN will be in cinemas and venues across the UK from October 2019 to January 2020 and will celebrate the joyful, emotional, shared experience of watching film musicals; with the biggest stars, the most iconic scenes and the best-loved song and dance numbers on the big screen where they belong.


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