Rock promoter Goldsmith invades the West End

Click to follow
The Independent Online
THE ROCK promoter Harvey Goldsmith is moving into the West End of London to try tomake theatre "more exciting and glamorous".

Goldsmith is being particularly bold with his first West End production. He is taking over one of Britain's biggest theatres, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and replacing Sir Cameron Mackintosh's long-running musical, Miss Saigon.

The man best known for putting on Live Aid and concerts by Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones will today announce a dance-based show with a narrative storyline called Dancing On Dangerous Ground. Based on an ancient Irish myth, it will star the award-winning Irish dancers Jean Butler and Colin Dunne, who starred in Riverdance. It will run from 30 November at Drury Lane before transferring to Broadway.

Goldsmith is bringing in the former Royal Shakespeare Company director Ian Judge,but the production supervisor will be Jake Berry, who had the same role with the latest Rolling Stones world tour. Goldsmith believes the fusion of rock concert razzmatazz and theatrical experience will bring a new dimension to the West End, particularly as it will be trading on the passion for Irish dance, which has so far been confined to arena venues.

He said yesterday: "When I put on arena operas everyone said, `How dare this rock guy get involved in the holy of holies of classical music?' But my production of Carmen is now the definitive production. We took opera into a new era. Now we will strip away the `holiness' of what one is allowed to do in the theatre.

"The really experienced people who are used to travelling on the road with rock shows will combine with people who have grown up in the theatre and now want to be more experimental. The excitement around dance, first with Riverdance and now with Latin dance, is an excitement we haven't seen since the early days of West Side Story."

Jean Butler, the female lead, said: "The development of popular Irish dance culture over the last four years has forced the style and content of this production into being. This is the first time Irish dance has been used to tell a simple, coherent story with rich characterisation, historical connotations and timeless themes."

Goldsmith's entrepreneurial approach to the production involved persuading Stoll Moss, the owner of the Theatre Royal, to agree to him putting on the show at his "favourite theatre" and also persuading Radio City Music Hall in New York to invest in the production.