Stage set for Coronation St musical Street Of Dreams
Published: 2nd May 2012 05:20:22
Stars of Coronation Street past and present will be joined by a 38-strong West End-style chorus and a 25-piece orchestra as the TV soap is transformed into an all-singing, all-dancing arena musical.
Five times a week, millions of people settle down to get the latest dose of death, family strife, cobble-based conflict, comedy and everything else that goes into Coronation Street's exaggerated reflection of reality.
So it seems an unlikely step for ITV to call in the dancing girls and turn the soap into a stage spectacle that its creator says has comparisons with Moulin Rouge.
But they have, and Street of Dreams is due to open at Manchester Arena on 9 May, complete with an 84ft (26m) set recreating the famous terrace street, plus flamboyant frocks and rousing musical numbers with titles like Eh Chuck and Nowt A Bit Of Lippy Couldn't Solve.
The live show will feature such Street stalwarts as William Roache (who plays Ken Barlow), Julie Goodyear (Bet Lynch) and Kevin Kennedy (Curly Watts) and has taken inspiration from some of the most famous scenes in the soap's 51-year history.
The plan was first dreamt up four years ago, when The Sun newspaper ran a story suggesting that a Coronation Street musical was in the pipeline.
It was not - it was just a speculative headline after then-ITV chief executive Dawn Airey said the broadcaster wanted to increase its revenue from other sources, such as live shows.
But it did put the idea into composer Trisha Ward's head. "At first, I read it and thought, oh you couldn't do that," she says of the concept of creating a Coronation Street musical.
"I thought about it and I thought about it, because I know Coronation Street very well, and I thought, oh my God, that would be absolutely brilliant.
"And then I started to write songs and as soon as I started to write the songs I knew it was going to work because the source material was so brilliant."
After deciding the soap could make the leap into the larger-than-life world of song and dance, she sent an email to Airey.
The ITV boss replied, saying the Coronation Street musical idea was a joke. But Ward persisted.
"Again, she said, 'I was kidding'," Ward recalls. "And then eventually we got the meeting, and so it began."
Hopefully, it will also work commercially and provide an interesting new revenue stream for ITV”
"If I'm being honest, I was quite sceptical," admits Coronation Street executive producer Kieran Roberts, who was given the task by Airey of handling that first meeting with Ward.
"I went to the meeting thinking, I'll fob them off. I'll send them packing.
"But I heard a couple of the songs that she'd written, I got a sense of Trisha's genuine passion for Coronation Street, and two minutes into that meeting I was thinking, you know what, this really could be good."
Roberts is hoping the idea will appeal to soap addicts in sufficient numbers to fill arenas in Manchester, Dublin, Belfast and Newcastle, where the show will be seen in May. It could then stay on the road if it goes down well.
"We need to look for different revenue streams," Roberts says. "ITV makes a lot of money from advertising and traditional forms of revenue, but as we move forward we have to find different forms of revenue.
"So the idea of doing something where people would actually come and buy a ticket is very interesting commercially."
He is careful to stress that they have put the creation of an "amazing" show before the bottom line.
"We've had to be very careful and not get caught up in a purely commercial argument because there's a danger that the show wouldn't work," he says.
"Hopefully, when this show's established, it will also [work] commercially and provide an interesting new revenue stream for ITV."
It is the latest theatre show to take inspiration from the soap. Last year, Corrie! crammed the show's five decades into two hours and proved that the ups and downs of life in Weatherfield could succeed on stage.
And a play entitled The Queen of the North, about Elsie Tanner actress Pat Phoenix, gets its premiere at the Bolton Octagon on Thursday.
In Street Of Dreams, many of the songs have been taken from an album written by Ward for the soap's 50th anniversary in 2010.
They include numbers about Stan and Hilda Ogden's second honeymoon at the Savoy Hotel (called Woman Stanley Woman), killer Richard Hillman's confession (Norman Bates With A Briefcase) and Curly naming a star after Racquel (Your Star Shines So Bright).
Street of Dreams will feature Paul O'Grady as the narrator plus Street stars Kym Marsh, Katy Cavanagh and Brian Capron as well as Jodie Prenger, winner of TV talent show I'd Do Anything.
Roberts believes the soap lends itself to the stage because the language and feel of Coronation Street over the years has been "very theatrical and also quite musical".
"I think if you go back to the very early episodes that [creator] Tony Warren wrote, there is music, I think, in the language," Roberts says.
"So I think the transition from the screen to stage in the form of a musical is maybe not such a strange leap."
At 09:00:13 in Northern IrelandHomeless families in Northern Ireland are being denied a place to live because of benefit cheats, a BBC Spotlight investigation has discovered.
At 08:56:15 in WalesFire crews across Wales have been tackling a spate of grass fires following several days of dry weather.
At 08:34:40 in SportCharlton have sacked manager Chris Powell with the club bottom of the Championship table.
At 08:30:05 in ScotlandA new study suggests obesity in adolescent girls is associated with lower academic results during their teenage years.
At 08:24:44 in HeadlinesMaoist rebels have killed at least 16 policemen in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, police say.
At 08:24:05 in HeadlinesOscar Pistorius' defence team has questioned a pathologist's finding that his girlfriend had eaten less than two hours before he killed her.
At 08:19:18 in PoliticsChanges to council tax benefit have weakened work incentives for "up to 225,000 people" in England, a committee of MPs has said.
At 08:18:31 in WalesAs councils finalise their budgets, it is clear that many services will be squeezed.
At 08:14:04 in EnglandA search for two people feared missing after a speed boat capsized off the Norfolk and Suffolk coast has been called off.
At 08:05:28 in WalesA grandmother's fight to save her home from demolition to make way for two superstores in Aberystwyth continues at a public hearing into the plans later.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Stage set for Coronation St musical Street Of Dreams [Online] (Updated 2nd May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1425931/Stage-set-for-Coronation-St-musical-Street-Of-Dreams [Accessed 11th Mar 2014]
News In Other Categories
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
Even moderate drinking during the earliest months of pregnancy may be damaging, say researchers in Leeds.
Fire crews across Wales have been tackling a spate of grass fires following several days of dry weather.
Troubled Japanese bitcoin exchange Mt Gox has won temporary bankruptcy protection in the US.
Changes to council tax benefit have weakened work incentives for "up to 225,000 people" in England, a committee of MPs has said.
Cheryl Cole has confirmed she is to rejoin the X Factor, along with Simon Cowell, for the show's 12th series.