Interview author Over the Rainbow musical

After seeing the musical I spoke with its author Brian Langtry.  ‘The piece was written originally in 2003 when I was looking for a new project to write. I noticed an advertisement in The Stage magazine for a show A slice of Saturday Night being produced by Phoenix Productions based in my home town of Ashby de la Zouch. Being intrigued by the fact that a professional production company was based nearby I made contact and we discovered a mutual fascination and appreciation of and with Eva Cassidy and her story which resulted in the show being produced.

The first tour was in 2004 with Loreto Murray playing Eva and Gus Macgregor, previously 5 years as lead in the musical Buddy, playing Chris Bindo.

Producer Stephen Leatherland and I visited Washington D.C. for 2 weeks in June 2005 meeting Chris Biondo, Raice McLeod, Lennie Williams and  Keith Grimes from the band, Grace Griffiths, the incredible Mary Ann Redmond, I can’t understand why she isn’t a major star, and Eva’s cousin Laura Bligh. We visited many of the places Eva performed at, where she was born and brought up, Robert Goddard School, The Garden Centre, The Naval club where she first performed knocking over the microphone, Blues Alley, Wild West Park. Again meeting a number of people who were aware of Eva. None of whom had the faintest idea that she was now a major artist in Europe. In essence we aimed to visit anywhere that bore her imprint taking pictures and videos to integrate into the show.

The production company had contact with the Cassidy’s and their family lawyer during 2004 and forwarded a script in which they queried a number of issues all of which were resolved. On our visit to Robert Goddard school we met and talked to a member of staff who remembered Eva. We left Stephen’s telephone number. As far as I know the secretary whom we spoke with alerted the Cassidy’s to our presence in D.C. hence the phone call from their family lawyer. We never actually met  her nor mum and dad only speaking twice over the phone.

Over the Rainbow’s inaugural premiere was at The Theatre Royal Margate. It was attended by BBC producers who were about to go to Washington D.C. to make a documentary about Eva. In the event the production team returned from Washington D.C. having been unable to reach agreement about scope and content with the Cassidy Family representative. Chris Biondo  came over to see the show during the 2005 tour at The Hayes Theatre in London. The show toured twice a year from 2005 till 2012.’

Brian Langtry adds that it is a catastrophically sad irony that the spiritually natured Eva had not the slightest interest in money nor fame yet, here ensnared in these tentacles of greed.  ‘Her family are embroiled in a never ending saga of legal battles all of course which arise from the posthumous fame and unrivalled talent of their deceased daughter. Perhaps it is a blessing that she is not here to witness this.’

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