Brace yourself for Booze, Birds and Blackpool Rock........
No, it’s not a new tourism promotion, it’s a new musical theatre show which its producer hopes will attract locals and visitors when it opens at the Pleasure Beach Paradise Room at the end of this month.
Described by its producer and co-creator Anna-Lisa Maree as “a sort of 18 certificate Men Behaving Badly with froth and bubble but depth as well” the show is taking place between July 29 and September 3.
Set in 1997 the show features the antics of the dysfunctional Tate Family and stars former Coronation Street stripper Scott Wright as Danny Tate along with Andrew Irvine (who has written most of the music), Adam Borzone, Carol Holt and Levi Tate.
Having trained as an actress Anna-Lisa moved into stage management and then wardrobe work both in the West End and on tour and dubs Blackpool her “spiritual home” because of the good times she has had here.
“I wanted to give something back to a town that has given so much to me – and because of its storyline this was the obvious place to stage the premiere,” she said.
Although the action opens in the present day it quickly flashes back to 1997 when the Battersby family first graced Coronation street’s cobbles, Brit Pop was hot and Britannia was cool, the spice Girls were preaching girl power and Manchester singer Kavana – now known as Anthony Kavanagh and promising to make a guest appearance in the show – was a smash hit.
“It’s also the time that Funny Girls was still a bar at the bottom of Queen Street – and that’s important to the story too because Danny’s brother is one of the cast there and I’ve written the song A Very Funny Girl about it,” says Anna-Lisa, “All the characters and the music is very identifiable with Blackpool – everyone will recognise someone or something they are familiar with.”
Originally created a studio revue the show grew as it went along she added and has now been dedicated to Jon Curry – “a fellow theatre professional who was a man of many talents and one of the most respected flymen in the country who taught me never to be afraid to fly the ‘Be Yourself Banner’ and I blame him totally for my little show becoming the rock and rollercoaster musical it has.”
Apart from its subject matter (“Blackpool is every writer’s dream”) she says she chose the town for the premiere because “it’s somewhere that you can be yourself - audiences are a lot more varied and people are not as judgemental.”
Landing the Paradise Room was a dream come true she says.
“It’s been a roller coast ride trying to find somewhere and I never thought I would find somewhere like the Paradise Room.
“But I don’t work small, I go straight to the top, I’m a positive thinker and believe that going in at the deep end teaches you to swim better.”
As for what happens after Blackpool she says she is waiting to see.
“If it does well and people think it’s good then that’s a bonus,” she says. “I’m a big believer in the idea that if you’ve got a goal then go for it. If you believe something is right then follow your dreams. This is my dream.”