Jerusalem – The Musical!?

Thursday 1 April 2010

The Whingers hear lots of idle tittle tattle but they rarely bother to write about it either for complex legal reasons or more often through laziness. For the price of a drink they will usually end up passing on such titbits by oral means to anyone who will listen with the pre-amble “We didn’t tell you this but..”.

However some news is just too darn extraordinary not to broadcast and our extremely reliable showbiz mole (no, not Baz B.) has furnished us with something of an exclusive – just remember that you heard it here first.

Apparently producer Sonia Friedman, buoyed up by the successes of Legally Blonde and Jerusalem, is planning to stage a musical version of Jez Butterworth‘s multi-award-winning smash-hit play.

Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? That’s what we thought. But to be fair that’s what people said when Andrew Lloyd Webber first mooted a musical based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. The idea of Jerry Springer the Opera was greeted with equal scorn, and who would argue that Too Close To The Sun based on the last 24 hours in the life of Ernest Hemmingway was anything less than memorable?

With Michael Ball unavailable due to his Sweeney Todd commitment at Chichester (hopefully with Imelda Staunton!) SFP have apparently set their sights on Brian Conley who is said to be on the verge of signing up to play the lead role of Johnny “Rooster” Byron.

But you ain’t heard nothing yet.

The most bizarre aspect is that this will be a musical sequel to Jerusalem and rather than being set in England’s green and pleasant lands the action will mostly take place in Wales!

Four authors are said to be adding the finishing touches to the story in which Rooster is finally evicted from his caravan after it catches fire in a Calor Gas accident leaving him horribly disfigured. Escaping with other characters from the original play they relocate in a caravan park in Barry Island where Rooster makes a lair for himself on top of the Helter Skelter. Desperate to see his son, he dupes his ex-girlfriend to bring him to come and live with him. Someone dies at the end.

Intriguingly the show will open with a big choreographed Morris Dance number set to a disco adaptation of the William’s Blake’s “Jerusalem”. There is a ballad which Rooster croons from his aerie – “Barry Ha’i” – and the celebratory show-stopper “I’m Just Wild About Barry”.

Other numbers refer wistfully back to Rooster’s days in Wiltshire and include “Oh! What a Lovely Warminster!”, “Trowbridge Over Troubled Water” and “Go Westbury”. There is an obligatory comedy number about  the tribulations of doing one’s laundry in a caravan park called “Pants Never Dry”.

Both music and lyrics are being penned by US alternative rock band They Might Be Giants.

In other news, we are still unable to confirm the rumour that Nicholas Hytner is desperately trying to revive Mike Bartlett’s Cock.

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14 Responses to “Jerusalem – The Musical!?”

  1. PhilK Says:

    Is it really stranger than Silence of the Lambs: The Musical?

  2. Sir Andrew Lloyds Credit Crunch Says:

    Brian Conley’s been under the sun lamp a bit too long, hasn’t he?

  3. betsy Says:

    News? Fluff!

  4. Erik G Says:

    And the dateline is…?.. :-)

    Erik G

  5. The Lady Says:

    oh you boys, such ones for tradition.
    will there be a spaghetti tree in the barry island caravan park?

  6. Gareth James Says:

    As an ‘insider’ I am shocked at how you have managed to get hold of much that is supposed to be ‘under wraps’ though pleased that you didn’t pick up that I have agreed to take one of the new roles as Fat Gaz from the valleys who’s big number is ‘The big cheese from Caerphilly’. Oops………

    • bebop Says:

      i will not cease from mental flight,
      nor shall my spraygun sleep in my hand,
      till we have built jerusalem,
      in Englands not so green or pleasant land.

      but you may have to hold back on the dragon, Gareth

  7. TooCloseToTheTable Says:

    Quite frankly, I am sick of all this 2C2TS bashing.

  8. Leonard Birde Says:

    that’s really clever, really good actually. smart. that’s what it is, very smart. just sharp i suppose, shiny and smart.
    incidentally have you seen the new labour campaign by the way:
    “step outside posh boy…vote labour or else”.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/apr/01/labour-gordon-brown-hard-man


  9. Frighteningly plausible!

    (Not really.)

  10. jmc Says:

    I’m holding out for Mark Rylance starring in Ken Dodd – A Musical Life.

  11. Hh Says:

    Please tell me this is wind up. Let’s just say if it isn’t it should be . Brian conley ? Really we are not that gullable.

  12. lapponia Says:

    Brilliant spoof (reminded me of Little Britain’s idea of Bergerac – The Musical or Elephant! form the film The Tall Guy. The slightly worrying thing is how convincing it all nearly is: many musicals have seen the light of day which are only slightly less jaw-droppingly ridiculous than these.


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