Home Ground: The State of Origin Musical will celebrate the story of Australia’s greatest game.
It’s the musical Queenslanders never knew they always wanted.
Conceived by Queensland journalist and author Hugh Lunn, Home Ground is billed as a celebration of what it means to be a Queenslander.
While Queensland has long established its dominance over New South Wales in Origin, this wasn’t always the case. For 21 long years, Queensland lost the Interstate Series, because the Blues were stacked with Queensland’s best players.
Now, Lunn and theatrical polymath John Senczuk will bring the story of the men and women behind State of Origin to the stage, and show how they transformed Queensland from a butt of jokes into a rugby league powerhouse.
Featuring the original anthem, We Bleed Maroon, the show will make its world premiere on Friday 23 June at the 1,500-seat Edmund Rice Performing Arts Centre (ERPAC) in South Brisbane.
The cast is led by veteran actor Peter Cousens, best known for his time as part of the Phantom of the Opera cast in London’s West End. He’ll play Kevin Humphries, the notorious NSWRL president.
Cousens will be surrounded by an all-Queensland cast, including Chris White as King Wally Lewis, Matthew Dear as Kerry Boustead, Jackson McGovern as Brad Backer and Lachlan Hewson as Chris Close. Stephanie Lang, Penny Farrow and Hannah Grondin will play supporting roles, while the key roles of Artie Beetson, Ron McAuliffe, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Don ‘Doc’ Alroe, Mal Meninga and Jock Ryan have yet to be cast.
With music from award-winning Brisbane composer Bradley McCaw, Lunn hopes Home Ground will resonate with audiences across Queensland.
“This is just for us,” he says, “because the only thing that reaches from Queen Street all the way out to the loneliest cattle yard is State of Origin.”
Past and present stars of State of Origin are already lining up to praise the production, including Wally Lewis himself.
“Hugh Lunn is a guy that’s been there since the creation of State of Origin footy, so he’s certainly very well educated on the subject,” says Lewis. “It will be entertaining, there’s no doubt about that.”
Johnathan Thurston is all in as well.
“I love the idea,” he says. “That would be very funny to see. For people who don’t follow rugby league, it may bring more fans on board.”
Current Origin great Sam Thaiday is even putting his hand up to appear in the show.
“I want to play the Big Fella [Artie Beetson],” he says. “I could, y’know. I could!”
Home Ground: The State of Origin Musical will kick off at ERPAC (adjacent to South Bank, beside the Lady Cilento car park) on Friday 23 June. For more information and tickets, visit homegroundthestateoforiginmusical.com.au.