His name may not be recognisable to the new generation of One Direction enthusiasts – but hum the first few notes of Pennsylvania 6-5000 and you’re greeted by a sudden gush of ’Yes’ and ‘Of course I know that one’ His music is known by all – his story isn’t.
For eleven weeks only The Glenn Miller Story will tour the UK, featuring a live sixteen piece authentic Glenn Miller orchestra as well as a company of singers, dancers and actors telling the life story of one of the 20th century’s most iconic musicians.
To boot – Tommy Steele takes on the role of Glenn Miller, a legend of the musical world himself but an unusual casting choice as the actor is now almost double the age of Miller when he died.
The production is as lively as you would imagine, as polished as you would imagine; thrilling and stirring too.
Glenn Miller’s life story, his mysterious disappearance and his relationship with music all make for a sensational trip back in time – if only it had transferred Steele there too.
You suddenly find yourself questioning your own sense of reason, as you slowly shuffle your way through the toilet queue in the interval, having passively accepted a seventy -something year old Miller making eyes at a twenty-something soon to be Mrs Miller.
What came first, the desperation to fill seats or the audience’s acceptance of the wrong actor playing the lead role?
Casting may have not been all that great but it doesn’t take away from the fact that at seventy- something Tommy Steele’s voice is still as immaculate as it was in Half a Sixpence, as is his presence and renowned charm. It’s undeniably a great chance to see Steele perform; it’s just a pity that the curious casting choice did neither musical legends any favours.
For the Glenn Miller enthusiast it’s a great opportunity to experience Miller’s music live. Unlike the film version this story is inundated with musical interludes and sometimes pivotal moments in the storyline are lost in the glitz and glamour of the production.
For a first time Miller audience member - give him a google before or after, it’ll help with context. Miller wasn’t the Hugh Hefner of the 1930’s – he was a young man who revolutionised music before tragically disappearing in the war.