WRITER JEFF POPE hit the jackpot something when he came up with the television dramatisation of Cilla Black's life.
His 2015 TV miniseries, Cilla, starred Sheridan Smith who made the title role her own and the show attracted widespread critical acclaim, audiences of millions and a whole new legion of fans of the late Liverpool popstar.
The central theme of Cilla's life, was all about the songs, so perhaps the natural next step was to turn Pope's script into a stage musical.
Step forward big shot theatre impresario Bill Kenwright who has joined with Pope and the singer's own son, Robert Willis, to present Cilla - The Musical.
Set to receive its world premiere here in Liverpool this September Cilla - The Musical will then embark on a national tour.
The only thing missing is a star and national open auditions are to be held in the hunt to discover a new Cilla "in the same way the star herself was plucked from obscurity".
Pope's story follows the extraordinary life of the ordinary teenage girl from Liverpool, Priscilla White, and her rocky, yet incredible, rise to fame. Managed by Brian Epstein and produced by George Martin, by the age of just 25 she was recognised as international singing star Cilla Black. By the age of 30 she had become Britain’s favourite television entertainer and in the 1980s was headlining Blind Date, Surprise Surprise and many more.
The musical score will be the ultimate soundtrack to the 60s including Cilla’s greatest hits Anyone Who Had a Heart, Alfie and Something Tells Me, alongside a backdrop of the legendary “Liverpool Sound” including the Beatles’ Twist and Shout, and American influences like California Dreamin by The Mamas and The Papas and more.
Whatever you think of Cilla, she was certainly unique. Speaking her up and down Scotland Road vowels is one thing, capturing that unique and highly identifiable singing vocal is quite another and with the look and the personality to nail too, it will be quite the performer who lands the role.
A hard act to follow, indeed.
*Cilla The Musical, by Jeff Pope, produced and directed and produced by Bill Kenwright, gets its world premiere at the Liverpool Empire, Thursday 7th – Saturday 16th September 2017. Tickets from £12 (£13 online). Liverpool Empire Box Office: 0844 871 3017