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17th October 2019

Back to the Future – Launch Event

Theatre Editor Jay Darcy attends the launch event of the musical adaptation of Back to the Future
Back to the Future – Launch Event
Photo: Phil Tragen.

Back to the Future is one of the world’s most iconic films. It was followed by two sequels, and now, over 30 years later, it is being turned into a musical…

At the launch event, held at Albert Hall, the film’s writer, Bob Gale, revealed that there is never going to be a Back to the Future 4. He said that a musical adaptation is the perfect way to give people more Back to the Future, in a different medium, without messing with people’s childhoods.

We were treated to a few performances (such as a cover of the iconic The Power of Love) from The Pin Heads and the cast of the musical, including 2 x Emmy-winner Roger Bart, who will be playing the iconic role of Doc. Bart has had a wildly successful career, with television credits including A Series of Unfortunate Events, How I Met Your Mother, and, my favourite television series, Desperate Housewives! He won his Tonys for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and The Producers.

It was touching to see 3 x Emmy-winner Christopher Lloyd, who played Doc in the film series, but known also for The Addams Family, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Star Trek III and Taxi, share the stage. The whole audience whooped when he took us back to the movie (and our childhoods) and uttered his famous phrase: “Great Scott!”

Producer Colin Ingram knew that Back to the Future would have its worldwide premiere in Manchester, just like his hit musical adaptation of Ghost did. He believes that Bart could win an Olivier and a Tony for this role.

Hugh Coles is making his musical theatre debut as George. He called Crispin Glover’s performance as George in the film ‘indelible’ and ‘one of the best performances in cinematic history’. Whilst Coles said he is basing his performance on Glover’s, he also expressed excitement to take the character in his own direction.

Rosanna Hyland will be playing Lorraine. She will be taking her ‘cues’ from the film but does not want to be a ‘carbon copy,’ and this adaptation being a musical means it has to be ‘its own thing’. Her performance of Pretty Baby was simply stunning. She ‘100%’ believes fans of the film will love this ‘thrilling’ adaptation.

After interviewing Coles and Hyland, I sat around, wondering if I’d even get to interview Olly Dobson (Marty McFly), knowing I wouldn’t get to interview Bart. Then, a lovely lady came over to me and asked me if I wanted to interview… Bob Gale!

Gale knew that Back to the Future would make a great musical, especially with Marty being a musician and being ‘supposed to sing,’ in contrast to the Spider-Man musical, which he referred to as being ‘the stupidest idea for a musical,’ because Spider-Man wears a mask, so the audience can’t even see him sing!

He wants audiences to know that Marty is still Marty and Doc is still Doc, and they will love seeing them sing and dance. Whilst the musical has some slight tweaks because we are now in the future, there won’t be attempts to be “woke” or “PC,” as is often the case with modern adaptations.

After our interview, Gale noticed I had a Samsung, which prompted him to show me how to take a photo with voice-activation – “smile,” he said to me as he held up his phone and took a photo of me with his voice! Ah, the future!?

This launch event was incredible, I look forward to seeing the musical next year. And not only did I get a photo with the Bob Gale but he got one of me!

Back to the Future has its worldwide premiere at the Opera House, Manchester from 20th February until 17th May.

Jay Darcy

Jay Darcy

Theatre Editor. Instagram & Twitter: @jaydarcy7. Email: [email protected].

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