The songs of Hoagy Carmichael, including Stardust, Georgia on My Mind, The Nearness of You and Heart and Soul, are at the centre of a thrilling new musical, Stardust Road.
His quintessentially America themes celebrate the life and loves of America: from the age of jazz, blues and ragtime in the ’20s to the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Stardust Road gets its world premiere, directed by Broadway’s award-winning Susan H Schulman, at St James Theatre, London, from October 27.
With a live band, and a West End cast of top singers and dancers, Stardust Road takes a toe-tapping journey capturing the rhythms and mood of early 20th century America.
It will feature classic songs as Stardust – which first became a hit in 1930 – Up a Lazy River Two Sleepy People; In The Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening; Old Buttermilk Sky; Skylark; Riverboat Shuffle; Old Man Harlem and more.
Director Susan H Schulman said: “Stardust Road is a musical journey that begins in a young place up a lazy river and grows more sophisticated, more urban and urbane.
“It’s a journey from innocence to experience, from youth to maturity, from farm to the city and it is travelled with Hoagy Carmichael’s masterful musical score as our constant guide and companion.”
Hoagy B Carmichael, Hoagy’s son and co-producer of Stardust Road, said: “Dad’s ability to find the tempo of America was his God-given talent.
“He rarely wrote songs for a movie, or an artist. He usually had them lying in the trunk, often waiting for a call from a director, or the right singer or, in many cases, his opportunity to sing and play them himself in movies or stage appearances.
“Stardust Road has the luxury to reach into this unusual song catalogue, roughly taken from four decades of Dad’s work. With period dance, the songs will paint a picture of four remarkable eras in America.
“They are, the Ragtime, Jazz and Blues era of the 20s, the romance of New York in the 1930s, the powerful emotions of World War II, and songs written for the Golden Age of Hollywood.
“Almost all of the tunes are fresh to musical theatre, and there are several gems that few have heard. He loved to dance, and I can almost see the wry smile of satisfaction were he to have an aisle seat at St. James Theatre for Stardust Road.
“Dad was a sucker for romance, although he hardly wrote about ‘love’, yet I am positive that he will have to turn his practiced ear when he sees how the laughs and longing have been informed by those melodies.
“Storytelling is in the belly of all of his songs. He will be in the room, in London, listening intently.”
Stardust Road runs at St James Theatre, Palace Street, from October 27-November 21.