2016-2017 Season,  Chariots of Fire

An American Premiere

By Shelley Graham, dramaturg


There were have been several wonderful coincidences and years of hard work that made the American Premiere of Chariots of Fire a possibility at BYU. You may be familiar with the 1981 film that was the surprise Oscar winner for Best Picture. In fact most people, whether they have seen the film or not, can hum the famous opening theme by Vangelis Papathanassiou. Here is one artist’s take on the popularity of that opening number:

Mr Bean and the Chariots of Fire Theme

Hugh Hudson, who directed the film, was inspired to create a stage adaptation for the coming of the Summer Olympics to London in 2012.  He worked with Vangelis to use the music from the score and also to write new music for the stage adaptation. We are thrilled at BYU to have also received the rights to use the Vangelis score for our production, and happy to work with a student composer on additional music. (More on that in a later post!)


The show was a hit in London, running to great reviews. BYU director Tim Threlfall saw that production, and has been working ever since to get it on the BYU stage. He and BYU Arts producer Jeff Martin had to work hard to get the rights to the still unpublished script. Thanks to their work and the help of many others in the industry, we are happy to be producing the American Premiere of Chariots of Fire.