It looks like it’s going to songsheets at dawn, as both the BBC and ITV decide that they want in on the next phase of musical theatre based reality shows.
The BBC were first off the mark, slipping out a press release yesterday evening announcing Any Dream Will Do, a Saturday night spectacle reuniting Graham Norton and Andrew Lloyd Webber. As well as casting the male lead, they’ll be looking for a Pharaoh/Elvis impersonator, female lead (Pharaoh’s wife?) and a school choir. This will culminate in a production of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in the West End next year. Over at our companion blog, Mark Shenton wonders whether Joseph ought to be returning so soon. Myself, I wonder whether the hunt for so many stars is mainly to cover up the fact that, actually, Joseph isn’t really inspiring enough to concentrate on a solo quest.
Of course, the immediate successor to How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? was a sale of the format by BBC Worldwide to the US market, who are about to launch You’re The Ones That We Want with Maria judge David Ian on a quest to find the ideal Danny and Sandy for a Broadway production of Grease.
It’ll be interesting to see how Cowell adapts the format to avoid a difficult and potentially embarrassing lawsuit of the type that he settled with Simon Fuller over X Factor/Pop Idol similarities.
But potentially more interesting is another big clash in the offing. ALW’s fellow judge on Maria, theatrical impresario David Ian, is conspicuous by his absence from the BBC press release. Ian will be jetting off to America to help judge their Grease-based talent show — and, as The Stage can reveal, will be working on the UK show as well.
Of course, next week sees the pair face off anyway, as this year’s Stage 100 is announced. Our annual list of the most influential people in UK theatre saw Lord Lloyd-Webber toppled in 2006, falling to third place behind Cameron Mackintosh (2nd) and a silver-haired young upstart bounding straight in to the number 1 spot. His name? David Ian.
Who will win the coveted title this year? You’ll just have to wait until next week’s print edition of The Stage to find out…