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You'll Never believe Gary's latest show! ; MUSICAL: TAKE THAT STAR TO REWORK SONGS

June 28, 2013

YellowBrix

Musical extravaganza Finding Neverland, which premiered at Curve, is set to be revamped by Take That songwriter Gary Barlow.

The show was brought to Leicester in September 2012 by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, executive producer of films such as The King's Speech and Lord of the Rings trilogy. Now, the movie bigwig wants to open Finding Neverland in the West End.

However, Weinstein is looking to rework some of the songs which featured in the Curve original.

X-Factor judge Gary Barlow has been drafted in to rewrite the score with fellow composers Scott Frankell and Michael Koire, who worked on the Curve original.

Speaking about his appointment, Barlow said: This is something I've always wanted to do so it's a real privilege to be involved.

I'm really enjoying working with the team and I love the story; it's also great to be working with a legendary creative like Harvey Weinstein. But despite Barlow's enthusiasm, Mercury theatre critic Lizz Brain said the former boy band star faced a new style of songwriting and would have to alter his style.

She said: Gary Barlow is undoubtedly a songwriting genius but musical theatre is a very specific genre. The story shouldn't stop for a song, rather the songs should actually move the action along seamlessly, so he's got a tough job stepping into a show which has already been produced.

One of the reasons the show is being changed is the lessthan- complimentary reviews by many theatre critics.

Lizz said one of the main gripes was the production's lack of focus and direction.

[It] couldn't decide whether it was a serious musical, a glorified pantomime or a family show, she said.

Paul Kerryson, Curve's creative director, said the Leicester premiere was a hit in his eyes, but the Hollywood producer now wanted to make it even better.

Although the Leicester director was not involved in the musical, he did witness the show's production, from rehearsals to performance. He said: For us, Finding Neverland was a huge hit and did great business and went down really well.

But some of the reviews were mixed, so Harvey Weinstein did what he's entitled to do - the ball's in his court, I suppose - and changed a few things round.

I can't image many people would have disagreed with him. You have to go with what he says, you go into a kind of mode of agreeing - he's quite fierce. But then he spent a lot of money on the production and it's something he's incredibly proud of, so why shouldn't he have it how he wants? I hope it does well, it deserves another go. In September, the musical opened at Curve and attracted hundreds of families and theatre-lovers, including a couple of superstar visitors.

U2 frontman Bono and guitarist The Edge were invited by Weinstein to watch the world premiere of the show and meet the cast afterwards.

The film Finding Neverland was released in 2004 and starred Kate Winslet and Johnny Depp.

It was produced by Weinstein's company Miramax Films and made more than Pounds 30 million at the box office.

The story is about the author of Peter Pan, JM Barrie, and the circumstances surrounding his influences for the book.

FINDING NEVERLAND: CAN GARY BARLOW IMPROVE THE SHOW? Tell us: leicestermercury.co.uk

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