Sound of an era
One of the most legendary entertainers of a generation is to play the role of the much loved musician Glenn Miller in a musical all about his life.
Tommy Steele appears in The Glenn Miller story coming to Milton Keynes Theatre from Monday October 26 to Saturday October 31
In December 1944 a little single-engine aircraft carrying the world famous big band leader, Glenn Miller, vanished somewhere between North Bedfordshire and Paris.
Did the plane crash? Was it shot down? Will the mystery of its disappearance ever be solved?
While none of these mysteries will be solved in this musical, the musical aims to recreate Miller’s distinctive sound.
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Tommy said: “It was an idea which went back two years ago and Bill Kenwright said to me what did I think about doing a show about Glenn Miller.
“I said that one of the things you needed if you were going to do Glenn Miller is a 16 piece orchestra. You needed that to recreate the sound. That seemed to be the end of it.
“Later on Bill managed to get that all together and I thought this was something we could do and make really special.”
And while the 78-year-old’s spirit and energy is more than a match for a man half his age, it is something he will have to prove during the show.
“One of the things that we did have to solve is that Glenn Miller was 40 when he died. I am a little older but we have a way of explaining it in the show but you will have to come along and see it.
“His music is so absolutely superb and to see it with the show and the way it has been presented, it has been fantastic. If you listen to In the Mood and Moonlight Serenade, they are just great pieces of music.
“The show has been going really well, we are getting a lot of positive notices.”
Given that he spent seven decades in the entertainment industry, I ask him what inspired him to be an entertainer and his favourite roles.
Tommy said: “I was 15 years old and was in the navy and one day I saw this guy playing this instrument which later turned out to be the accordion and I had never heard anything like that before.
“I have worked with some great people and have been very pleased with everything I have done. There are too many things that I have done to mention things one by one. We will be here for far too long.”
One of the most legendary stories about Tommy is that he alledgedly showed Elvis Presley around London, in a visit to the capital. Even though the king only visited Britain once.
I sign off the interview by asking Tommy whether I’m allowed to ask about Elvis Presley.
“Not unless you wish me to stay silent,” he says laughing.
Tickets for the show cost from £17.50 and can be booked by calling the box office on 0844 871 7652 or visit www.atgtickets.co.uk/miltonkeynes