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Carnaby Street - New Wimbledon Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING a successful spring tour, autumn dates have been announced for the musical, Carnaby Street, and it will visit New Wimbledon Theatre from September 23 to September 28, 2013.

Set against the evocative backdrop of London’s West End in the Sixties with its famous clubs, trend setting fashions and host of hippies and hipsters, Carnaby Street relives a time when the world was changing, London was its centre and for a new generation – anything was possible.

Inhabiting this world of mods, mini-skirts and mopeds is Jude, a working class boy from Liverpool who, new to town, is armed with nothing but his guitar and his dreams of fame and fortune. Carnaby Street follows the highs and lows, the passion and heartbreak of his journey in pursuit of stardom.

Carnaby Street features over 30 solid gold hits including Shout, My Generation, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, Sweets For My Sweet, Roll Over Beethoven, Go Now, Keep On Running, Do Wah Diddy Diddy, Twist And Shout, 54321, We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place, Do You Love Me? and many more.

Carnaby Street has a book inspired by the real life experiences of writer, producer and music industry legend Carl Leighton Pope, who said:

“In 1964 I was 18 years old. My father had a pub in Dean Street, Soho called The Crown and Two Chairman and I was an out of work actor. I worked five nights a week in the now iconic venue – The Marquee Club – the hottest club in London for new bands. The Who, The Yardbirds, Rod Stewart, Moody Blues and many more started their careers there in 1964.

“Being a mod meant I rode a Vespa scooter, bought my clothes in Carnaby Street and followed the cool bands of the time. The Who led the way. We fought on the beaches and lived for the weekends. Our whole lives were based around music. It told us who we were, who we hung around with, what girls we knew. What dances we did – in fact – our entire lifestyle. Soho was called the Square Mile, and that’s where the 60’s really began.

“My 40 years in the music business has given me many road stories, all of which, told with a drink are entertaining. There have been many suggestions about ‘the book’, but my intention was never to write one. The musical is my document, it is mildly autobiographical in that all the characters were real people that I met during that time.

The songs are classic 60’s hits and the fashion and the colour gave me my story. I didn’t want it to be a song-led concert style musical, so the book, together with the music is the story I wanted to tell. It took 16 years to write. It was a real labour of love. Please enjoy it as much as I do.”

Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street is directed by Bob Tomson, whose West End credits include Blood Brothers and Dreamcoats and Petticoats, and designed by Matthew Wright (La Cage aux Folles, Evita), with choreography by Carole Todd (Dreamboats and Petticoats, Soul Sister), lighting by Nick Richings and sound by Ben Harrison. Music Supervisor is Colin Cattle.

EastEnders‘ Aaron Sidwell (Loserville, Children of Eden) re-joins the cast as Jack alongside Tricia Adele Turner (Legally Blonde, Blood Brothers) as Jane, Jonny Bower as Jack and Aimie Atkinson (Cannibal! The Musical, Dirty Dancing) as Penny.

They are joined by Paul Hazel (Lily), Mark Pearce (Wild Thing), Hugo Harold-Harrison (Arnold), Greg Clarke (Al), Dan Smith (Tommy/MD), Mike Slader (Dave/Bass), Jake Buckley (Vic/Drums), Sandy Grigelis (Chris/Guitar), Katia Sartini (Phoebe), Jill Cardo (Alicia), Rachel Nottingham (Debs), Craig Anderson (Keith), James Winter (Mike/Sidney) and Claude Pelletier (Stuart).

A companion CD, Carnaby Street, featuring 50 swinging sixties songs from the musical is available now on Universal.

The autumn tour opens in Milton Keynes (September 3 – 7) before continuing to Woking (September 9 – 14), Southampton (September 17 – 21), Wimbledon (September 23 – 28), Torquay (September 30 – October 5), Stoke-on-Trent (October 7 – 12), Brighton (October 14 – 19), Scarborough (October 21 – 26), Bradford (October 29 – November 2), Glasgow (November 4 – 9), Sunderland (November 11 – 16) and Malvern (November 18 – 23).