LITTLE Miss Sunshine, the quirky off-Broadway musical comedy, will play the Grand Opera House, York, next month on its European premiere tour.

Based on Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton 2006 Oscar-winning film, scripted by Michael Arndt, the show is enjoying a seven-week London run at the Arcola Theatre before touring from May 16 to October 12.

The show has been created by the Tony Award-winning team of James Lapine and William Finn. Lapine collaborated with Stephen Sondheim on Into the Woods and Sunday In The Park With George; Finn's credits include 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Falsettos.

Should you not recall the film from 13 years ago, The Hoover family has more than a few troubles, but young Olive has her heart set on winning the Little Miss Sunshine beauty contest.

When an invitation to compete comes out of the blue, the Hoovers must pile into their rickety, yellow VW camper van. Can it survive the 800-mile trip from New Mexico to California and, more importantly, can the family?

This inventive, uplifting musical celebrates the quirks of every family, the potholes in every road, and the power of overcoming our differences, in a new production directed by Arcola’s artistic director Mehmet Ergen, with design by David Woodhead, choreography by Anthony Whiteman and musical supervision by Mark Crossland.

Ergen says: "In uncertain times, we all need a little bit of Sunshine. This is the story of a family coming together to celebrate their differences – and that speaks to the heart of Arcola Theatre’s ethos.

"We’re delighted that thousands more people outside London will get to experience Little Miss Sunshine through our first major co-production with Selladoor Worldwide."

The touring company will see two changes from the London premiere. Out go Laura Pitt-Pulford and Gary Wilmot; in come Lucy O’Byrne and Mark Monaghan. Irish actress and singer O’Byrne, runner-up in the 2015 series of The Voice, will star as Sheryl, the matriarch of the eccentric Hoover family; Moraghan will play Grandpa, the role that won Alan Arkin an Academy Award.

Lucy has appeared as Eva Peron in the British, Irish and German tour of Evita; Fantine in Les Misérables in the West End at the Queen’s Theatre and Maria in The Sound Of Music on tour.

Moraghan latterly has played Tim Richards in Emmerdale, having appeared previously as Adrian Mortimer in Coronation Street, Owen Davis in Holby City, Ray Wyatt in Dream Team, Greg Shadwick in Brookside and Eddie Quinn in London’s Burning.

He has followed fellow Liverpudlians Ringo Starr and Michael Angelis as the narrator of the children's television show show Thomas The Tank Engine in all English-language territories including the United States.

The rest of the Hoover family will remain unchanged from the Arcola Theatre run: Gabriel Vick as Sheryl’s husband Richard; Paul Keating as Sheryl’s brother Frank and Sev Keoshgerian as Sheryl’s son Dwayne. The role of Olive again will be shared by Evie Gibson, Sophie Hartley Booth and Lily Mae Denman.

Tickets for the York shows are on sale on 0844 871 3024, at or in person from the Cumberland Street theatre's box office.

Charles Hutchinson