It was on the decks of the Southampton based Cunard liners that Tommy Steele had his first taste of being a song and dance man. He used tips from his cabin boy wages to visit Broadway, dreaming that one day his name would be up in lights. We all know that dream came true. Not only was he Britain’s first rock ‘n roll star but he became one of the greatest song and dance performers of all time.
For me it was a chance to see one of my first “idols” whom I first saw many years ago singing “Little White Bull” on the same Regent stage. Now he is saluting another showbiz icon in The Glenn Miller Story, a musical portraying the extraordinary tale of the world’s most famous band leader.
It is 70 years ago that Miller vanished over the English Channel as he flew to Paris to entertain the troops during the Second World War but his music will never die. Miller changed the face of popular music between 1939 and 1943 to become the world’s number one recording artist.
It is good little musical and Steele himself could be great in it if he was allowed to stick to telling the story and singing the songs. However, the timeless Miller melodies are more than enough to carry this fast moving production with tunes from the 30s and 40s, including It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing, Moonlight Serenade, Chattanooga Choo Choo and Pennsylvania 6-5000.
Tommy skilfully demonstrates his song and dance credentials with Sing Sing Sing and there is strong performance from Sarah Soetaert who plays Miller’s wife Helen Burger.
There was a chance for the audience to join in a Glenn Miller sing along with Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree, I’ve Got a Gal From Kalamazoo and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.
All in all an enjoyable night and a trip down memory lane that is more than satisfying.
Tickets are now on sale and are available from The Regent Theatre Box Office, by calling 0844 871 7649 or visiting www.atgtickets.com/stoke