Susan Boyle's Life Becomes 2012 Dream MusicalDate: 17 June 2011
Britain’s Got Talent contestant turned international singing sensation Susan Boyle’s life is being turned into a stage musical. I Dreamed a Dream, which takes its title from the Les Miserables standard that shot Boyle to fame on the 2009 UK television competition, receives its world premiere next spring at the Theatre Royal Newcastle, where it runs from 23 to 31 March 2012.
Following Newcastle, I Dreamed a Dream will embark on a 22-week UK tour – including Aberdeen and Glasgow in Boyle’s native Scotland, as well as Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Belfast. Simultaneous productions will then launch extensive tours in the US and Australia, where Boyle has attracted widespread followings, in spring 2013.
In the musical, Boyle will be played by Scottish actress Elaine C Smith, who has contributed to the book written by Scottish dramatist Alan McHugh in collaboration with Boyle herself. Boyle has long been a fan of Smith, most famous in Scotland from TV’s Rab C Nesbitt.
Susan Boyle with Elaine C Smith, who will play her in I Dreamed a Dream
I Dreamed a Dream came about following an interview in which Boyle said, if there was a film of her life, she’d like Smith to play her. After reading the interview, producer Michael Harrison, who has worked closely with Smith on various stage productions including The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, approached the actress and Boyle with the idea for the musical.
Harrison commented that Boyle “is an inspiring woman and her story is an excellent one to tell - someone with a raw talent who surprises the world and overturns all the odds to make a new life for herself. It's got all the qualities of a fairytale, but with the added bonus of being absolutely true.”
Possible cameo surprise
Born in West Lothian, Scotland in 1961, Susan Boyle is the youngest of nine children. As a child, she was diagnosed with learning difficulties, a doctor warning her working-class parents that she would never amount to anything. She was still living in the family’s council house, after the death of her parents, when she competed in Britain’s Got Talent in 2009.
Famously, her plain appearance confounded the judges, including Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden, and the audience, who were then blown away by her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream”, a performance that has since been viewed by more than 300 million people on YouTube. She went on to finish second in the contest, losing to dance group Diversity, but has become internationally famous and released two record-breaking albums - I Dreamed a Dream and the Christmas collection The Gift - that have sold more 14 million copies, with a third due out later this year.
Susan Boyle competing on Britain's Got Talent
Commenting on the musical, Susan Boyle herself said: “I never thought my life story would end up on the stage but a lot has happened in two years and it is a very exciting prospect. I hope everyone enjoys the show and I promise there will be a few surprises along the way."
Speaking to Whatsonstage.com, Harrison revealed that such surprises may include a cameo appearance by Boyle in the show but that it wouldn't include a recreation of her breakthrough moment. He explained: “We all know what happened on Britain’s Got Talent. The musical will probe more into Susan’s early life and some of what’s happened to her since she found fame. There’s no need to replicate that famous moment we’ve all seen on YouTube.”
“I Dreamed a Dream” will, however, be included in the show, as well as other numbers from Boyle’s albums and songs that have influence her life. Harrison told Whatsonstage.com: “This isn’t a spoof - it’s a proper book musical. And Susan couldn’t be more involved.”
Dates for stage & screen
News of the musical comes on the heels of rumours that a film of the Boyle’s life is planned, with Hollywood’s Glenn Close tipped to play the singer. There is no connection between the two projects.
I Dreamed a Dream will have receive a reading in London this summer and a full workshop in the autumn, with rehearsals commencing in February 2012 ahead of the March premiere. The UK tour schedule and further cast and creative details are due to be announced in the coming weeks. There are currently no plans for a West End transfer.