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'Just For One Day: The Live Aid Musical' Set to Open at London's Old Vic Jan. 26

'It's not a tribute thing,' Bob Geldof told the BBC about the actual events that have inspired the show. 'It's real people telling their story.'

Source: News Licensing / MEGA
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Source: News Licensing / MEGA

"We can be us, just for one day." David Bowie calls to the crowd at Wembley Stadium.

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Bob Geldof is no stranger to staging musical productions, most notably Live Aid, the massive 1985 benefit concert that reached more than a billion people via broadcast. And while London's Old Vic Theatre only sits 1,000, there will be enough in attendance in the coming weeks to appreciate everything that transpired on that day, thanks to a new musical inspired by Live Aid set to premiere at the theater on Jan. 26.

Source: © An Old Vic Production. By permission of The Band Aid Charitable Trust / YouTube

The story of Live Aid

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Just For One Day: The Live Aid Musical is based not only on the artists who performed that day, but also on the true-life stories of the attendees that were there. As Geldof emphasized in a BBC interview, "The songs drive the drama along."

live aid
Source: MEGA

1985's Live Aid was viewed by more than a billion people.

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The idea for the musical sprang from conversations that happened between director Luke Sheppard (& Juliet, The Little Big Things) and West End producer Jamie Wilson during the pandemic. When the Live Aid concert came up during their conversations, Sheppard remembered his mother telling him she had attended. And as he detailed to the BBC, the musical is shown "from all angles, from the technicians who are trying to pull off this satellite broadcast to the first-aid worker who was running the first-aid tent."

Writer John O’Farrell (Mrs. Doubtfire, Something Rotten) and Sheppard took their case directly to Geldof and the Band Aid Charitable Trustees. There was never a guarantee or promise that the idea would come to fruition, but after attending workshops — which included original Live Aid promoter Harvey Goldsmith and Lord Grade — Geldof was convinced. "We were blown away. I have to say there was not a dry eye in the house."

Source: ℗ © Tintoretto Music, E.g. Music Publr. Ltd., Universal Music Mgb Ltd., Emi Music Publishing Ltd./ Band Aid Trust / The Old Vic / YouTube

Just For One Day Musical: Heroes (Sneak Peak) [Official Trailer]

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Since the start of planning and pre-production rehearsals back in October, the cast has been confirmed. The pivotal figurehead of Geldof will be portrayed by actor Craige Els. Known for his wide-ranging skills both onstage (Matilda The Musical, Spamalot) and on screen (Doctor Who, Anna Karenina), Els has already been praised by Geldof in his typically candid style. "Let me be completely blunt. It's bad enough being Bob Geldof. It's slightly worse seeing someone else pretending to be you," he admitted to the BBC. "The one upside for me is that he's got an amazing voice, stage Bob, so that people will think I actually sing as good as that!"

As ambitious as this production will be (with a cast of 26), the music is the representation of why everyone from David Bowie to Paul McCartney came together for a worthy cause, unwilling to turn away from the devastating circumstances that drove Geldof so tirelessly at that time.

Currently, The Trustees have secured not only David Bowie's "Heroes," but other iconic songs from Live Aid will be showcased including (at press time) Bob Dylan, David Bowie, The Who, U2, Queen, The Police, Elton John, Paul McCartney, The Pretenders, The Cars, Status Quo, Paul Weller, Sade, The Boomtown Rats, Bryan Adams, Diana Ross and Ultravox.

Just For One Day: The Live Aid Musical runs January 26 to March 30. 10% of ticket sales will be donated to The Band Aid Charitable Trust and can be purchased at The Old Vic website.


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