The Glenn Miller Story to play Sunderland Empire

The Glenn Miller Story to play Sunderland Empire

The story of one of the most iconic musical figures of the 20th Century will be told at Sunderland Empire from 1 to 5 November 2016 in a stage show featuring the legendary Tommy Steele... exactly 60 years to the date of his first stage perfomance, at the same theatre.

Following two triumphant outings, The Glenn Miller Story starring Tommy Steele embarks on its third spectacular journey calling at Sunderland Empire for one week only from 1-5 November 2016.  

It’s been seventy years since Glenn Miller vanished over the English Channel as he flew to Paris to entertain the troops during the Second World War. Did he crash? Was he shot down? Will the mystery ever be solved? Featuring a 16 piece orchestra, a full supporting company of performers and dazzling choreography, the story of one of the most iconic musical figures of the 20th century will be told as never before.

Over the past 15 years Bill Kenwright and Tommy Steele have regularly got together to talk about the past, present and future. One evening, Bill discovered that his all-encompassing love for Elvis was equal only to Tommy’s adoration for Glenn Miller and his Orchestra. Bill learned that Tommy is a true devotee; travelling all over the world to hear what remains of the original Orchestral Sounds, and is steeped in the knowledge and the glory of what Glenn Miller did for popular music. Tommy enthused that Glenn changed the face of music from 1939 – 1943 when he was the most popular recording artist in the world.

It was three years later at a dinner party, celebrating Tommy’s award as the Most Popular Entertainer of All Time at the London Palladium that they came up with The Glenn Miller Story!

Tommy Steele was Britain’s first rock ‘n’ roll star.  Dubbed the UK’s answer to Elvis Presley, he landed his first UK No.1 with Singing the Blues in January 1957, reaching the top spot before Elvis, who didn’t land his until the June that year. The big screen soon beckoned for Tommy, and that same year he filmed The Tommy Steele Story, one of Britain’s great rock ‘n’ roll movies. A soundtrack was released to coincide with the film’s opening and became the first album to reach No.1.

Tommy Steele made his first stage appearance at Sunderland Empire on 5 November 1956, heading the bill in a variety show, 60 years ago exactly when he returns to the stage with The Glenn Miller Story. Tommy has returned to the theatre over the years with productions of Dr Doolittle and Scrooge and on returning to the Sunderland Empire Tommy Steele said:

“I'm absolutely thrilled to return to the Sunderland Empire with ‘The Glenn Miller Story’ exactly 60 years to the day that I made my very first stage appearance. Who says there's no such thing as happenstance!!! As always with the Empire, it will be like coming home. Here's to the next 60!?" 

His legendary career includes over twenty hit singles, twelve hit movies and countless award winning stage musicals such as Half a Sixpence, Hans Andersen and Singin’ in the Rain. In recent years, Steele has starred as Christmas miser Scrooge in Bill Kenwright’s spectacular production of the festive musical, which enjoyed two successful runs at the world-famous London Palladium. It was a role that also made Steele the theatre’s all-time record breaking performer, having headlined more performances than any other star in the history of the Palladium.

Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright have teamed up again to direct the show, having been at the helm of several award-winning musicals including Blood Brothers, Evita, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Choreography is by Olivier Award winner Bill Deamer (Top Hat, Evita, Save The Last Dance For Me).

The cast for The Glenn Miller Story includes Ashley Knight as Chummy MacGregor, Abigail Jaye as Helen Burger, Zoe Nicole Adkin, Michael Antony, Chris Bone, Siobhan Diffin, Jessica Ellen, Mike Lloyd, Jordan Oliver, Harry Myers, Robert Pearce and Alex Tranter.

The Glenn Miller Story promises to transport audiences young and old back to the days of the big band, and have them up on their feet jiving.

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Did you know?

L.S. Lowry spent his holidays in Sunderland at Seaburn, painting scenes of the coast, port and coal mines. The city is the home to one of the best collections of L.S. Lowry paintings in England.

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