Paul O’Grady to host Coronation Street musical “Street of Dreams”

by Lisa McGarry

“Street of Dreams”, a live musical show in celebration of Coronation Street will debut in Manchester next March starring faces from the street – past and present and hosted by Paul O’Grady.

After more than fifty years on air, Britain’s best-loved soap has a glorious heritage of unforgettable stories and iconic characters which have been handpicked and now carefully crafted into this brilliant musical event by award-winning musical writer, composer and lyricist, Trisha Ward.

BAFTA winning film and stage Director, John Stephenson OBE (“5 Children & IT” and “Animal Farm”), will direct the live musical tribute, which is to be staged on an ambitious scale with a spectacular set and special visual effects at Manchester’s M.E.N Arena. A 25 piece orchestra, a West End cast and choreography from Olivier award winning Stephen Mear will complete the dazzling production which has been co-scripted by Damon Rochefort (“Coronation Street” & “Birds of a Feather”). The show will be executive produced by Kieran Roberts for ITV Studios and John Ward for Reckless Entertainment.

Paul O’Grady will feature as the star host, guiding us through momentous events in Corrie’s history in his own inimitable style. He will bump into well-loved characters, old and new, with guest stars paying homage to famous roles, as he leads the show to a dramatic finale.

Julie Goodyear MBE will be making a highly anticipated return to play the one and only Bet Lynch, complete with her trademark beehive, big earrings and penchant for leopard-skin. Corrie favourite Kevin Kennedy, a singing star who has made a critically lauded name for himself on the West End stage since his departure from the cobbles, will return to his role as loveable intellectual stargazer, Curly Watts and the effortlessly brilliant Brian Capron will resurrect renowned serial killer, Richard Hillman from the dead.

Stars from the current cast; William Roache MBE (Ken Barlow) and Katy Cavanagh (Julie Carp) to name but a few, will appear alongside their former neighbours as they take a trip down memory lane, encapsulating unforgettable Weatherfield moments through 90 minutes of spectacular song and dance routines, supported by a West End cast.

The show is based upon the critically acclaimed album: Coronation Street – Rogues, Angels Heroes & Fools which was released last Christmas for Coronation Street’s 50th Anniversary featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and crafted by “Street of Dreams” writer, Trisha Ward.

Songs included in the show are: Tony Warren’s iconic ‘Opening Episode” featuring Ena Sharples, Elsie Tanner, & Annie Walker, “Woman Stanley Woman” – Hilda & Stan’s posh second honeymoon at the Savoy Hotel, ‘He’s My Man” – a catfight on the cobbles between love rivals Elsie Tanner & Bet Lynch, “Norman Bates With A Briefcase” – featuring serial killer Richard Hillman, ‘Cunning Clever Crafty’ – Jack & Vera’s “blind date” with Jack as the suave ‘Vince Fontaine’ and spectacular “Moulin Rouge” homage -“Sweet Butterfly” featuring love-lorn knicker factory worker, Sean Tully.

Composer, Trisha Ward said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Kieran Roberts on this amazing project which has been in development for over 3 years. It’s a musical homage to an incredible programme, which has been both a joy and exciting challenge to compose. Coronation Street lends itself so well to musicalisation because it has all the ingredients a great musical requires; humour, pathos but most importantly of all – heart. I’m so incredibly proud and excited to be bringing this production to Corrie’s home city of Manchester for the world premiere.”

Executive Producer, Kieran Roberts of ITV Studios said: “I’m thrilled to be involved with Street of Dreams. Trisha Ward’s wonderful music and lyrics are a very fitting celebration of Coronation Street’s history, its great storylines and its unforgettable characters. Paul O’ Grady is one of Britain’s most prolific, talented and best-loved entertainers and he’s a genuine, life-long Corrie fan so I’m equally delighted he will guide the audience through this entertaining and spectacular musical celebration of Britain’s best-loved drama.”

Paul O’Grady said: “I’m a great fan of the street!! I’ve watched it for most of my life! Chunks of script from 30 years ago are engraved in my memory so to relive it all alongside unforgettable characters and talent on the stage, revisiting such iconic scenes from across the years, is just brilliant. I can’t wait to watch it all come together and the reaction it receives.”