Marc Bolan Musical Premieres in Sep, Aims for West End
Date: 21 July 2011
The life and music of T Rex frontman Marc Bolan will be celebrated in new musical 20th Century Boy, which is supported by his son Rolan Bolan and directed by Gary Lloyd. It premieres at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich from 13 September to 1 October 2011 (previews from 8 September), ahead of a hoped-for West End transfer.
Bolan, one of the earliest glam rockers, was an icon of the 1970s, famed for his appearances dressed in feather boas and top hats with drops of glitter on each cheek. 20th Century Boy, written by New Wolsey artistic director Peter Rowe with Lloyd, features 27 songs from Bolan's back catalogue, which includes hits like "Bang a Gong (Get It On)", "Children of the Revolution", "Hot Love", "Ride a White Swan" and "Metal Guru", as well as the show's title song.
George Maguire leads an 11-strong cast as Bolan. Maguire's previous stage credits include Fame at the Shaftesbury Theatre, Bank at the King’s Head, Rent on European tour, Tonight’s the Night, The Gate Escape and Sixteen on tour, Quadrophenia at the Nuffield Theatre and Oliver at the London Palladium.
20th Century Boy tells the story of the rock star's life from the perspective of the son seeking answers about his famous and short-lived father. Bolan died when the car driven by his girlfriend crashed into a tree, just weeks short of his 30th birthday in 1977.
Speaking to Whatsonstage.com, Gary Lloyd said he had been fascinated by Bolan's "rags to riches, ambition-driven story, which includes a huge fall from grace and has a tragic ending".
Lloyd, whose extensive credits include Michael Jackson tribute Thriller Live!, said he hoped the musical would have the same West End appeal as Jersey Boys or Buddy, telling the story of the artist and widening interest beyond established Bolan fans.
Hopeful that the show will tour ahead of a possible London transfer, Lloyd praised the New Wolsey for "embracing the project", saying the creative team were excited about "getting the musical right" during its Ipswich outing before "using it as a springboard to take the show around the country and into the West End".
20th Century Boy follows the Ian Dury-inspired Reasons to Be Cheerful, a co-production between the New Wolsey, Graeae and Theatre Royal Stratford East, which is set to tour again in 2012.
The new musical is based on an idea by Brian Dunham, Colin Giffin and Nicky Graham and has music and lyrics by Marc Bolan. Also in the cast are Jenna Lee James, Donna Hines (Gloria), Craig Storrod (Rolan Bolan), Greg Barnett (Tony Visconti), Katie Bernstein (Helen Shapiro), Peter Manchester (Simon Napier-Bell) and Matthew Ashcroft (Steve Took).
- by Andrew Girvan
|Saw this twice at Belgrade in Coventry last year. Brilliant! Keep searching for more dates in 2013 please. Would travel anywhere in the UK. - Neal O||20 Jan 13|
|I saw this show three times in Ipswich and again in September 2012 in Birmingham.Some changes have been made to the show but it's still moving, funny and boy you just want to dance.I highly reccommend it. - Salamanda||08 Dec 12|
|I would just like to say that having seen this show @ the belgrade theatre in coventry i would have paid double the price of the ticket ! ! ,fabulous show,top class,well done to all the cast. - bob,coventry||04 Nov 12|
|I saw the premiere in Ipswich at the Wolsey Theatre, just brilliant and amazing! My son who is a drama student also thought the same, would see it again and again and again, just fantastic!! - sue||20 Jul 12|
|I have seen the show, and thought it was excellent. Marc Bolan is iconic and the instigator of glam rock. Just look at the artists who took inspiration from him, oasis, keane and even lady gaga.
They deserve the west end stage, the audience were rocked with Bolan fever. - jennifer||01 Oct 11|
|Having travelled up from Lodnon to see this in Ipswich, I can't see it making the journey the other way into the West End (or hard to believe the Box office manager telling people pre show it is going to Broadway and Tokyo!)
There's potential here but in current form the book is a mess, dialogue poor, characters badly drawn and its overlong and overblown.
The cast are impressive but there are equally impressive tribute bands out there and at the moment this show doesn't add anything to that tribute band experience. - Phil||29 Sep 11|
|John ono lennon, i take it you are a lennon fan, the guy who wrote about peace in one song and praised the ira in another. Bolan's range from Tyrannasaurus Rex, to Dandy in the Underworld is fantasic. Bands to-day are not fit to lick his boots. I have been to see the musical it is brilliant. Marc maybe wsnt liked by the suits cos he wanted gig tickets sold cheap and gave value for money on his singles.As he always said he was a Fan as well and had to skimp and scrape to buy records. Not to many care about Lennon these days he was a waste off space. - Tanx jeepster||28 Sep 11|
|I hope that many young people will go and see this and hear the music of T.Rex. They were and always will be an iconic band. Marc Bolan's songs are still alive today and important. Keep a little Marc in your heart! To the cast-break a leg and hope this makes it to the West End. Rock On! from a fan Indonesia - Maria Gilbert||13 Aug 11|
|Marc Bolan, like Lennon, like Mercury, Like Hendrix, is and will remain an iconic figure within the histrionics of popular music for ever, whether the critics agree or not. The musical is yet another strand to Marc's legacy and I wish it well. I have been touring my band T-Rextasy for nearly 20 years and in that time our popularity has grown and grown, so there is an actual market place for Bolan's music, whether it be in playing it live (as I do) or in a musical-play situation. Just one thing...Oasis (great), the Chillies (great), but I wish people would stop mentioning Marc in the same breath as Lady Gaga - someone who has no substance in her music at all but has achieved status by purely image alone! - T.Rextasy)||02 Aug 11|
|You could try spelling his name correctly for a start - Marc (not Mark) - Zahir Jaffer||27 Jul 11|
|PLEASE - Do not bring this tour to the U.S. - Execelsior||27 Jul 11|
|Bring this tour to the US please. :D - Allison||26 Jul 11|
|Try telling that to the thousands that turned up in London's Sheppard’s bush empire for Bolans 30th anniversary concert a few of years back or those that made born to boogie the best selling music video of 2005.
also the list of top artists over the past 20-30 years who claim to have been influenced by Bolan’s music and image runs into hundreds, from GaGa,Bono to The Red Hot Chillies, so you were either born yesterday or are have extremely limited musical knowledge my friend.
- Elton||23 Jul 11|
|to say that no one cares about Marc Bolan or to funnel him into one single strand of music is both wide of the marc(excuse the pun) & downright uneducated(in a musical sense), Bolan gave so much to the industry,you only have to listen to the likes of Keane, Oasis, U2, Lady GaGa but to name a few to hear the influence he still has of todays music,his own music has stood the test of time while others from the same period sound so dated now,so yeah its fab that this project is going ahead,in fact its a dis-sevice to his memory that this hasnt been done long before now, i truly hope the proposed movie of his life too sees the light of day,the very best of luck with this show,i know the tickets are selling like hot cakes & demand is high,i cant wait to see this show myself - Col||22 Jul 11|
|Much though I wish this show well, I have to admit I share some of the misgivings about a show based on a strand of music which doesn't really have a particularly broad appeal. Still best of luck with it. - Richard Voyce||21 Jul 11|
|This won't make it into the West End. No one cares about Marc Bolan and jukebox musicals are just dire. - John Ono Lennon||21 Jul 11|
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