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42 balloons artwork

42 Balloons is a new musical written by Jack Godfrey that will be having its world premiere at the Lowry in Salford from 18th April - 19th May 2024. The show has a fantastic 80's inspired pop score and is based on the true story of Larry Walters a truck driver from California who on the 2nd of July 1982 made a 45-minute flight in a homemade aerostat. Larry actually managed to fulfil his lifelong dream to fly and flew 16 thousand feet above Los Angeles in his homemade aerostat made from a Lawn chair and approximately 42 helium filled weather balloons.

me outside the Lowry on the press launch

The musical has been in development since 2020 with Pitch Perfect an entity dedicated exclusively to creating, developing and promoting new contemporary British musicals. In 2021 "42 Balloons and A Lawn Chair" was released on perfect Pitch's Rise Up YouTube Channel. In November 2022 four semi-staged concert performances took place at the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End, these received fantastically positive feedback from both the public and theatre commentators.

cast of 42 balloons performing "42 balloons and a Lawn Chair"

The press launch took place on Wednesday 24th January at ~2pm, we were invited to get drinks before we entered the Pier 8 room where the launch was taking place. As we entered the room, we were greeted by several large round tables and at each place around the table sat a 42-balloon themed cupcake and a pin badge. There were several cupcake flavours available I got a chocolate one and my mum got a red velvet one and they were both delicious.

42 balloons cupcake and pin

Once everyone was seated and settled Mathew Emes the Lowry's head of theatres (contemporary & commissioning) welcomed us all and introduced us to the cast which had just been announced in full that morning. The cast includes Charlie McCullagh as Larry, Evelyn Hoskins as Carol, Gillian Hardie as Carol's Mom, Lejanun Sheppard as Ron, Simon Anthony as Letterman, Maddison Bulleyment as the Kid, Jordan Broaton Ensemble, Athena Collins Ensemble, Morgan Gregory Ensemble, Luke Latchman Ensemble, Laura Dawn Pyatt Ensemble, Tinovimbanashe Sibanda Ensemble, Natasha Wilde Swing, Matt Jones Swing, Rebeka Lawings as cover Carol and Jamie Pritchard as cover Larry.

42 balloons cast

The cast then treated us to a performance of "42 Balloons and a Lawn Chair" which was fantastic and such an earworm. Matthew Eames then headed a panel discussion with Jack Godfrey (writer) Andy Barnes (one of the producers) Charlie McCullagh (Larry) and Evelyn Hoskins (Carol). During the discussion I learned a lot about the musical and I am now super excited to see the show when it opens at the Lowry in April. After the panel discussion the floor was opened up for questions, one question was more of a request as they asked if they would consider raising money for a mental health charity possibly via bucket collections at the shows. The reason for the request being that Larry had suffered from depression and in 1993 committed suicide, Andy Barnes said that he thought that this was a great idea. Another question put to the panel was if they were to take Larry's flight what they would take up with them. We know that Larry took sandwiches, beer, a CB radio, a pellet gun and a camera. Andy Barnes said he would take the 42 Balloons EP up with him and let us know that it would be released in March. Jack Godfrey said he would take his guitar and write some new songs for the show. Evelyn Hoskins said she would take up a camera and take some selfies and Charlie McCullagh said he wouldn't want to take up anything that would distract him from the view so he would probably just take a sandwich.

42 balloons cast

The event was concluded with a fantastic performance of "Lawn Chair Larry" which had been released as a single that day along with a music video. As such we were asked not to film the performance, but I will put the music video down below for you to watch if you would like. We were also told that an EP will be released on Friday 8th March so look out for that.

42 Balloons will be running at the Lowry from 18th April - 19th May 2024.

You can click on the button below to purchase tickets for these performances.

If you click the button below you will find 42 Balloons official website site where you can find out more about the show.


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