If ever I had hoped that Belle Otero would be produced in London it’s a case of abandon hope all ye who enter here as it is never likely to happen. Friend Ray Peters in London who is in the habit of sending us newspapers articles he feels would be of interest has come up with this one. I don’t know what journal it’s from but the writer is one, Nick Curtis. By the way, Ray keeps telling us he won’t be sending any more as the postage is becoming far too expensive and I believe him. Recently we sent some small playscripts to the states and the postage on each was over five euro! Back to the subject in hand – Big headlines – COMING SOON TO AS STAGE NEAR YOU followed by “With Hollywood’s movie business in crisis, film producers are transforming their greatest hits into musicals in the hope of making it big in the West End.” And there, revivals apart of which there seem to be many, you have it in a nutshell. In a way I don’t suppose this is an entirely new phenomenon. Chris for example was in the Drury Lane production of ‘Gone With The Wind’ way back in 1972-3. The modern trend according to Mister Curtis could possibly be laid at the door of Elton John for his reaction to the film ‘Billy Elliot’ which, transferred to the stage has made mega-bucks and started the new ball rolling. Lloyd Webber’s and Steven Sondheim musicals don’t need the backing of being offshoots of successful movies but they are in a category all their own. Still we have ‘Aladdin,’ ‘The Producers,’ ‘Sunset Boulevard,’ ‘Little Ship of Horrors, ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘Ghosts the Musical,’ ‘Spiderman,’ ‘The Lion King,’ ‘All About Eve,’ ‘Dirty Dancing,’ ‘Hairspray,’ Shrek’ ‘Spamalot,’ ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert,’ ‘42nd Street,’ ‘Betty Blue Eyes,’ and more. Now to add to the list, in preparation are ‘Finding Neverland,’ ‘Top Hat,’ ‘Bridget Jones,’ ‘Singing in the Rain,’ though that isn’t exactly new. Tommy Steele was doing it some time ago. Reading Mister Curtis’ article it is quite obvious why Hollywood moguls are eyeing the London theatre scene with much anticipation. Of course it takes a great deal of money to put on a musical – ‘Spiderman’ reputedly cost £48 million. Perceived wisdom is that four out of five shows fail but when one is a success – well, the figures speak for themselves. ‘Phantom of the Opera’ remains the biggest hit with worldwide sales of £3.5billion! The film of ‘Billy Elliot’ made £64 million on cinema sales and half again on DVD and TV but the musical to date has made £390million.
Many years ago we were offered shares in ‘Cats’ at fifty quid a pop. At the time we didn’t have fifty pence let alone fifty quid but looking back in hindsight we should, if possible, have borrowed the money. In all these years what dividends would that fifty quid have produced? But I was never good with money anyway.