Daddy Cool is back with a £3m Boney M musical

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The Independent Culture

A £3m musical based on the music of Boney M looks likely to capitalise on the success of recent ground-breaking works which have brought new black audiences to London's West End.

The largely black cast of the show, named Daddy Cool after the band's first hit single, will open in April starring Harvey, formerly of the So Solid Crew collective, and former EastEnders star Michelle Collins.

With echoes of Romeo and Juliet, it tells the story of Sunny who is caught in rivalry between east and west London gangs when he falls in love with the daughter of a notorious club-owner.

Robert Mackintosh, the producer, said he hoped it would appeal to Boney M fans, younger music-lovers and some of the new black audience who had been attracted to other shows which have also told stories of black lives.

The Big Life, which was developed at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, last year became the first British black musical in the capital's theatrical heartland, and Kwame Kwei-Armah became the first British-born black writer to have a play in the West End with Elmina's Kitchen.

Mr Mackintosh, the brother of the millionaire impresario Cameron, said both shows were widely accepted to have developed new black audiences. "I do feel this is great because it's probably less of a battle for us to get across to these audiences. It's very positive."

Gurinder Chadha, whose previous works including the award-winning film Bend It Like Beckham have been set in the Asian community, is a creative consultant on the show which is directed by Andy Goldberg, an American.

Frank Farian, who put together the Boney M band in the mid-1970s and wrote many of their hits, has moved to London while the show goes into rehearsal.

In a 13-year career which ended in 1988, the group sold 800 million albums, enjoyed 15 number one singles in Germany and 22 top 10 hits in the UK.

Preview performances start at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 26 April with the official opening on 16 May.

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