News: Rehab the Musical to play at the Playground Theatre

Keith Allen (The Comic Strip Presents…, The Homecoming), Jonny Labey (BBC EastEnders, Strictly Ballroom), Gloria Onitiri (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, The Bodyguard) and John Barr (Batboy The Musical, Les Miserables) are to star in the new British musical, Rehab The Musical, a rock-bottom-to-redemption journey of the soul filled with thumpingly memorable songs.

It’s 1999 and jaded 26-year-old pop star, Kid Pop, finds himself in court, after being caught red handed in a drug fuelled tabloid sting. An understanding judge gives Kid the choice between jail time or six weeks in a rehabilitation centre. It seems a no-brainer: rehab will be a holiday. But how could Kid have got it so wrong?

‘Rehab The Musical’ has music & lyrics by Grant Black and Murray Lachlan Young, a book by Elliot Davis, and is directed and choreographed by Gary Lloyd (‘Thriller Live’ – 12 years in the West End, ‘Heathers’).

Thirty-five years ago, songwriter Grant Black (Van Morrison, Run DMC, Craig David), found himself in emotional turmoil after a painful divorce and a growing cocaine habit. Grant, the son of legendary Oscar-winning lyricist Don Black, was determined to not let the drugs that were everywhere consume him and he took his future by the scruff of the neck and checked himself into rehab.

What he found there astonished him: people with issues with drugs, alcohol, shopping, gambling food and sex, and that just barely scratched the surface. Soon Grant began to witness first-hand the brutal honesty, heartbreak, love, bravery, and truth that accompanies such traumatic affliction.

Fast forward 10 years, and Grant met up with superstar poet Murray Lachlan Young, “a Noël Coward for the Noel Gallagher generation”, and a man whose own life had come crashing down around him: the phone had stopped ringing, he slipped into depression, suffered writer’s block, plus a host of other issues left him  spiralling into oblivion. Grant and Murray proved to be the perfect foil for each other’s neuroses. Inspired by the need to bring a positive and honest message to the stage by intertwining their own personal stories and experiences, they joined forces with Olivier nominated musical script writer Elliot Davis, who also happened to be a psychotherapist specialising in addictions and trauma, and together they set out to write ‘Rehab The Musical’.

Keith Allen (Malcolm) became a household name on Channel 4 in the 1980s in a number of films in ‘The Comic Strip Presents…’ series after first becoming one of the breakthrough acts of the Comedy Store. His extensive stage acting credits include starring in two Harold Pinter plays at the Almeida Theatre, playing Lambert in ‘Celebration’ and Mr Sands in ‘The Room’, ‘Pinter 3’ in the West End and he received rave reviews as Max in Pinter’s ‘The Homecoming’. On TV, he recently played serial killer and rapist John Cooper in the three-part ITV drama, ‘The Pembrokeshire Murders’.

Jonny Labey (Kid Pop) is best known for playing Paul Coker in ‘EastEnders’. In the West End he starred as Scott Hastings in Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Strictly Ballroom’. He is about to star in a summer revival of Neil Simon’s ‘Barefoot in the Park’ at The Mill at Sonning Theatre.

Gloria Onitiri (Lucy) recently played The Godmother in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Cinderella. Also in the West End, she was Rachel Marron alongside Heather Headley in the original London cast of ‘The Bodyguard’, an original cast member of ‘Avenue Q’  and played Nala in ‘The Lion King’.

John Barr (Barry Bronze) has appeared in many West End musicals, including playing Dr Parker in  ‘Batboy The Musical’, Feuilly in ‘Les Miserables’, ‘Aspects of Love’, Fogg in ‘Sweeney Todd’, and Che in ‘Evita’.

More cast to be announced

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