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Willy Russell quashes West End talk

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Playwright Willy Russell has dismissed talk of taking his new full scale musical version of Our Day Out on tour or to the West End.

The musical play heads into its final week at the Royal Court Liverpool and Russell has mentioned he would like the show to return to the region next year.

He said: “Now that it’s been on here once I’d like to see it come back next year for a longer run. We’ve never intended to aim for the West End anyway. When I began writing, getting a show put on in London was the big aim, not least because of the financial and every other implication that getting on there brings. Nowadays, after a few successes over the years, we’re fortunate enough to be in a position not to have to worry about that.”

Nearly 30,000 people have seen Our Day Out – The Musical already and the show is breaking box office sales at the Royal Court Liverpool.

Iain Christie, marketing manager for the Royal Court, said: “This show is breaking all of our sales records. Our Day Out can now lay claim to three of the top five sales days at Royal Court Liverpool, including our best ever day, and we are expecting more of the same as we head into the final week. People are really keen to see the show before the run finishes and we are looking forward to the sold out signs going up for the last few shows.”

Once the production has finished its stint at Royal Court Liverpool, the 62-year-old author and musician has said he would like to see his latest project evolve into an educational piece where it can be taken around schools. Russell adds: “What I would like, however, is to make this full scale musical version available to schools and youth theatre groups and see it widely produced, now that would be rewarding.”

One of Russell’s musicals still appearing in the West End, however, is Blood Brothers which arrives to the Manchester Opera House next week as part of UK tour.

New Seekers' star Lyn Paul returns to the role of Mrs Johnstone - the poor mother who's forced to give up one of her twin sons at birth, with dire consequences later in life - for the Manchester dates.

Paul has previously played Mrs Johnstone to great acclaim in both the West End and on previous UK tours of the show.

Blood Brothers became the first West End revival to be nominated for the Best Musical Revival Olivier Award within two years of winning the Original Best Musical production. The Broadway production received seven Tony nominations and ran for nearly three years. The show also toured across America, and has been seen all over the world, in addition to regular UK-wide tours.

The book, music and lyrics are by Russell for which he received Olivier, Plays and Players, Ivor Novello and Drama Magazine Awards.

Blood Brothers, produced by Bill Kenwright by arrangement with Bob Swash, will visit the region again in 2010 when it appears at the Liverpool Empire for a two-week run as part of this latest tour on 11-24 April.

Blood Brothers will open at the Manchester Opera House on Monday, 12 October and run until Saturday 24 October 2009. To read an interview with Lyn Paul, playing Mrs Johnstone for the Manchester dates, click here

Our Day Out – The Musical will appear at the Royal Court Liverpool until Saturday 17 October 2009. To read the Whatsonstage.com review of the production, click here

*Photograph taken by Dave Evans


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