Islam’s Moonshadow Heads Straight to West End???

Moonshadow, the new Cat Stevens musical which was showcased at the Whatsonstage.com Awards Concert in February (See News, 9 Mar 2009), is aiming to open straight into the West End later this year. It was originally due to have a tryout at the Northampton Royal and Derngate in July followed by an immediate transfer. But no suitable London theatre was available to abut the Northampton run, so producers have decided to forego the out-of-town dates and concentrate on getting the show ready for a world premiere in the West End.

A spokesperson told Whatsonstage.com, “It didn’t make sense to mount a full production for one theatre and have an unknown gap before having to remount it for another theatre.” The aim now is open in the West End this autumn, securing the right small to mid-sized venue this summer as the schedule for late 2009 starts to “shake out”.

The new musical is written by Yusuf Islam and features over 30 Cat Stevens’ hits from the 1960s and 70s such as “Morning Has Broken”, “Peace Train”, “Father and Son”, “Oh Very Young” and the song from which the show takes its title (See The Goss, 19 Jul 2006), as well as four songs from his latest album, Road Singer, which will be re-released to coincide with the stage show.

Moonshadows’s character-driven fable plot, written by Islam and Rachel Wagstaff, concerns a young boy named Stormy who leaves home in search of himself only to eventually find his way home again after a journey through many temptations. No casting has yet been confirmed for the 18-strong ensemble company.

The musical is co-directed by Nicola Traherne and Swede Anders Albien, who has been involved in its development for many years, and designed by Andrew Edwards, with musical supervision by Christopher Nightingale. It’s produced by Robert Mackintosh, Yusuf Islam and David Gordon, Islam’s brother and former manager.