BREAKING NEWS: Strictly Ballroom has found its ‘Fran’

After months and months of auditions and hundreds of girls trying out for the lead role of Fran in the new Australian production of Strictly Ballroom, the search is finally over.

Strictly Ballroom Logo

The triple threat ‘role of a lifetime’ has been given to Newtown School of Performing Arts graduate Phoebe Panaretos who topped the state in Drama when she graduated in 2008.  Phoebe will be joined on stage by 20 year old Thomas Lacey, whom Baz Luhrmann announced three weeks ago, to play the pivotal role of Scott Hastings.

Thomas Lacey & Phoebe Panaretos C Baz LuhrmannOn casting Phoebe Panaretos Baz Luhrmann said “The role of Fran requires an actor to transform from within, expressing that transformation in terms of character, voice, and dance.  Any wonder why the search for Fran went so far and wide.  Phoebe weathered so many tests and hurdles, as Fran the character has to in the story of Strictly Ballroom, to reveal the true star that she is.  So I am thrilled to be announcing her in this role, celebrating how resilient and strong she was through the grueling process of proving she had all that it takes, which she certainly does.”

An outstanding cast of Australian actors has been assembled to play the iconic roles in this much loved story, including Bob Baines as Les Kendall, Drew Forsythe as Doug Hastings, Natalie Gamsu as Ya Ya, Robert Grubb as Barry Fife, Fernando Mira as Rico, Heather Mitchell as Shirley Hastings and Mark Owen-Taylor as JJ Silvers.

Carmen Pavlovic, CEO of Global Creatures and Producer said “We are thrilled to make the much anticipated announcement of the cast for the new musical production of STRICTLY BALLROOM.  The film introduced iconic characters into the cultural landscape of Australia and we now have an amazing home grown cast to bring these very characters to life again.  A delightful mixture of veteran performers and newcomers will helm Baz’s all-singing, all-dancing production.  The audition process was extensive and, at the same time, a privileged chance for performers around the country to work with Baz and learn from his unique method. Baz has such respect and affection for actors that he invested heavily in the audition process and the performances we saw him draw out of the candidates was inspiring.  The wonderful company of actors that resulted will make STRICTLY BALLROOM THE MUSICAL one of next year’s most eagerly-awaited events.”

This new Australian production dances its way into Sydney’s Lyric Theatre on March 25, 2014.For more information and to book tickets visit: