West End Musical Celebrates Ray Charles???
Date: 5 May 2005
Following the success of the Hollywood film Ray, for which Jamie Foxx won a Best Actor Oscar in the title role, a new West End musical may soon be capitalising on interest in the musical legacy of the late Ray Charles. Despite being blinded at the age of six and orphaned at the age of 15, the black American singer, pianist and composer became one of the major influences on both black and white popular music in the 20th century. Although he’s probably best remembered for his blues, gospel and jazz albums, through a long and varied career, Charles covered everything from pop hits to Broadway standards and country and western as well and continued to perform until the last years of his life. After he died - of acute liver disease at the age of 73 in 2004 - his last album Genius Loves Company was posthumously released and went on to win numerous Grammy Awards. Casting is now underway for the new stage show which will be a musical revue of some of Charles’ greatest hits. Although dates and a venue have not yet been confirmed, it’s being tipped for an eight-week season starting in June 2005 at the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket. That would certainly fit into the theatre’s summer schedule, nicely sandwiched between the end of the run for Victoria Wood musical Acorn Antiques on 21 May and the start of Aaron Sorkin’s play A Few Good Men, in which Hollywood’s Rob Lowe will make his West End debut, on 18 August (See News, 25 Apr 2005).
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