Stage Set for Old Trafford Tale; Manchester United Are Arguably the World's Most Supported Football Club and Now Their Story Is to Be Told on Stage. IAN STARRETT Reports on the Preparations for a Musical about the Red Devils, a Production That Will Have a Northern Ireland Flavour
Byline: IAN STARRETT
ULSTER accents have for decades past been familiar around the Theatre of Dreams.
The most famous, of course, belonged to George Best and his legendary role in the Manchester United saga will be featured in a pounds 2 million musical now being prepared for an April 9 charity premiere, which manager Sir Alex Ferguson and current Old Trafford stars like David Beckham and Ryan Giggs have all been invited to attend.
Among the 1958 Munich air crash survivors who are expected to attend will be former Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, who now lives in Portstewart.
Belfast-born National Lottery show host Eamonn Holmes and actor Robert Powell, who once played Jesus in a TV series, will jointly narrate the April premiere of the musical, to be called Theatre of Dreams.
George Best's 1960s contribution to the Old Trafford history and his off-the-field exploits will be spotlighted in a song called Living It Up.
United's early European Cup adventures will be set to a flamenco beat and will feature a number called Madrid '56.
Patrick Nally, who organised the Three Tenors concert before the Italia '90 World Cup, has created the musical, the lyrics for which have actually been written by an American, David Bell.
Who will play George Best, Harry Gregg, Jackie Blanchflower and many of the other leading Red Devil stars of yesteryear in the charity night special premiere has still to be announced, but actor Ian McShane and pop star Mick Hucknall have both expressed an interest.
In the musical, which after its premiere in Manchester will move to London's West End later this year, the part of Sir Matt Busby will be played by Salford tenor Russell Watson.
Sir Matt, whose gifted young players were known as the Busby Babes, fought back from death's door to build one of the world's greatest sides after the horror of the Munich air disaster.
On one of sport's blackest days, some of Britain's finest young soccer players (and sports journalists) perished when their plane crashed on a snowbound runway.
Singer Watson is thrilled to have been asked to top the bill. …