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The swinging sounds of sixties Carnaby Street

The swinging sounds of sixties Carnaby Street will be ringing out from the Sunderland Empire later this year

Carnaby Street Promotions Ltd and The Hackney Empire

Fresh from a successful spring tour of the UK, the popular musical will twist its way onto Wearside from November 11 to 16.

Set against the evocative backdrop of London’s West End during the iconic decade and featuring its famous clubs, trend setting fashions and host of hippies and hipsters, Carnaby Street promises to take audiences back to a time when the world was changing, London was its centre and for a new generation – anything was possible.

Jude is at the centre of proceedings - a working-class boy from Liverpool (where else?) who is new to town and armed with nothing but his guitar and Dick Whittington-style dreams of fame and fortune.

Boasting a soundtrack which defines the era and celebrates the 20th Century’s most vibrant decade, the musical is packed with more than 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 and Do You Love Me?

The show’s book was inspired by the real life experiences of writer, producer and music industry legend Carl Leighton Pope.

He says: “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 that 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.”

Directed by Bob Tomson, whose West End credits include Blood Brothers and Dreamcoats and Petticoats; designed by Matthew Wright (La Cage aux Folles, Evita); and choreographed by Carole Todd (Dreamboats and Petticoats, Soul Sister) Carnaby Street the Musical has a behind the scenes pedigree to boast about.

Meanwhile out front, audiences will find Eastenders’ favourite Aaron Sidwell; and Tricia Adele Turner (Legally Blonde, Blood Brothers) leading the cast.

 

Tickets priced £10-£29.50 are available from the Empire box office on 0844 871 3022 and online at www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland

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