Tell Me It’s Not True! After 24 years of emotional finales Willy Russell’s modern classic Blood Brothers is to bow out of the West End this year.
The long-running show will have notched up over 10,000 performances in London by its close on 27 October 2012, making it the third longest-running musical in town after Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera.
The show started life at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1983 before opening at the Lyric Theatre in London for a criminally short run. Bill Kenwright then stepped in and revived the show at the Albery Theatre (now the Noel Coward Theatre) on 27 August 1988. It transferred to its current home at the Phoenix Theatre in 1991.
Blood Brothers has subsequently travelled the world and recently undertook a major tour of the UK. The show is set to continue to tour after its London run finishes this October.
Willy Russell’s musical is set in Liverpool and tells the tale of two twins who are separated at birth and later reunited by a twist of fate.
The current London cast includes Vivienne Carlyle as Mrs Johnstone, Philip Stewart as Narrator, Mark Rice Oxley as Mickey, Paul Christopher as Eddie, Abigail Jaye as Mrs Lyons and Louise Clayton as Linda.
The starring role of the mother, Mrs Johnstone, has been played by countless actresses over the last 24 years in the West End, including Barbara Dickson, Stephanie Lawrence, Clodagh Rodgers, Kiki Dee, Lyn Paul, Siobhan McCarthy, Katie Scott, four of the Nolan sisters (Linda, Bernie, Denise and Maureen), Spice Girl Melanie C and Niki Evans.
Blood Brothers has won many awards including an Olivier Award for Best Musical and a Best Actress in a Musical gong for the show’s star Barbara Dickson. Also Con O’Neill won Best Actor in a Musical in 1988 and Mel C was nominated this year for Best Actress in a Musical.