The New Glenn Miller – Tommy Steele

Bill Kenwright

I know, the title above suggests you have reached Ripley’s Believe it or Shaddup!
S’true. According to articles and reader’s letters in the Decemebr issue of Big Band Buddies (Pete, Tommy Steele is to star as Glenn Miller in the new musical about Miller’s life. Steele, now 79, will be challenged as Miller died at age 40.
The movie is being produced by Bill Kenwright, a leading West End theatre producer and film producer. He is also the chairman of Everton Football Club.

Further cast and creatives have yet to be announced, but the production will feature a 16-piece band. A musical about Glenn Miller previously toured the UK in 2013 featuring an eight-piece band, but was pulled when the producer hit financial troubles.
The show will explore the “life, fame and vanishing” of Miller, who disappeared on a flight over the English Channel when he was on his way to entertain troops during the Second World War.:Bill Kenwright said “When I was a youngster it was always Elvis and Tommy Steele for me. Nothing much has changed since then. When I found out that Glenn Miller means to Tommy what Elvis did for me in those early years, I was determined to talk him into starring in a musical that would depict the story of the legen-dary musician’s life.“More than anything we want this to be a great night out – what we both call one of those ‘Palladium’ musi-cals – great acting, singing, dancing, choreography, music and lights.”

Dubbed Britain’s answer to Elvis Presley, Steele reached No.1 with Singing the Blues in 1957, and The Tommy Steele Story was the first album by a UK group to reach No.1. Steele’s film credits include Half A Sixpence, The Happiest Millionaire and Finian’s Rainbow, and he has made many stage tours in the UK. He is also a songwriter, author and sculptor.
12His claim to have shown Elvis Presley around London has been chal-lenged by more than one source.
The film The Glenn Miller Story is a 1954 American movie about the eponymous American band-leader, directed by Anthony Mann and star-ring James Stewart in their first non-western collaboration. Universal-International’s first public announcements, early in 1953, employed the soon-discarded title, “Moonlight Serenade.”
Miller was portrayed by James (Jimmy) Stewart who was 46 at the time.
11Tommy Steele had tried many odd jobs before he turned up at the famous “2 I’s” coffee bar in London. There he was “discovered” by Larry Parnes and became one of Britain’s first manufactured pop stars.
With his cheeky grin and gently rocking songs he wasn’t the threat to Elvis Presley that Parnes wanted. Despite this, Tommy has gone on to a long and rewarding film and stage career.

Here’s a final thought from a failed trombonist, just how will Steele cope with that recalcitrant piece of plumbing?