The new show, which has a book by Philip Norman, premiered on 4 March 2010 at Bromley’s Churchill Theatre, and arrives in Manchester next month.
With a career spanning six decades and including nine hit singles, Neil Sedaka has been inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, had a street named after him in his hometown of Brooklyn, and was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has written and performed pop songs including “Oh, Carol”, “Breaking up Is Hard to Do”, “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen”, “Hey Little Devil”, “Laughter in the Rain” and “Amarillo”, which gained new popularity when it was re-released by in a version by British comedian Peter Kay for Comic Relief in 2005.
Born in 1936 in Brooklyn, the son of a taxi-driver, Neil Sedaka started songwriting at Broadway's Brill Building, penning his first hit, “Oh Carol”, for his then girlfriend, Carole King. He went on to become a teenage idol to rival Elvis, but in 1964 his career collapsed as America embraced the Beatles and other bands of the 'British Invasion'. For almost a decade, he struggled to support his wife Leba and their two children but found salvation in moving to Britain, where he signed to Elton John's Rocket Records label, and returned to the top of the US charts in 1974 with “Laughter in the Rain”.
Laughter in the Rain is produced by Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield, who are also behind the compilation hit Dreamboats and Petticoats, which is currently at the West End’s Playhouse Theatre and on a UK tour and which features hit-makers from the 1950s and 1960s, including Sedaka. Kenwright and Mansfield have also had touring successes with bio-musicals about Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley.
Laughter In The Rain is at the Manchester Opera House from 17 - 22 May.