Sources: Daily Record | Edited By – All Things Michael
MEET the woman bringing Robert Burns to a whole new audience – in a musical set in modern times and backed by one of the most colourful characters in show business.
Tish Tindall hopes her production Robert Burns The Musical will bring his messages right up to date with a little help from a man who counted Michael Jackson as a friend.
The owner of Rock Academy Performing Arts is still reeling after being approached by Los Angeles producer David Gest about writing a show based on Burns – with music by Jackson.
The fact that Psycho star Anthony Perkins and Singing in the Rain’s Gene Kelly were meant to originally produce and direct just added to the sense of surrealism about it all.
Tish, 45, said: “You couldn’t make it up. My manager Richard Smith is also David Gest’s manager and told me David was thinking about reviving it.
Tish in shadow of Burns
“He and Michael Jackson were passionate about Burns and produced music about him together.
“Their initial musical was performed in 1996 with John Barrowman and came fourth as new
international musical of the year in the Netherlands. Then nothing happened.”
The deaths of Perkins and Kelly put the project on ice – until Tish became involved.
She said: “When Richard told me the story, I flippantly said to him, ‘If you need some Scottish writers, some real writers, then let me know.’
“A couple of calls later my partner Diane and I went to Leeds for dinner with David Gest.
“As we went over songs I thought, ‘This is mental. Here am I, a lassie from Inverurie, thinking what the hell?’”
David said he was keen for the show to be rewritten.
Tish said: “It belonged in the 90s – very Brigadoon. It was well-written but it didn’t really work for me.
“I didn’t think Scotland, at this time, would buy it. So I decided to write it from scratch.
“I wanted something not elitist, something to speak to the nation.
“For me, Burns was a simple guy and his genius was as interesting as his weakness. His passions and distractions make the man.”
Tish made reference to Jackson in her rewrite. She said: “We first meet our Burns in 1995 and take the action up to 2015, so one of young Burns’s influences is Michael Jackson.
“David Gest was going to play a cameo in our story of Tam o’ Shanter as part of a reality TV performance. But a TV commitment stopped that.”
Tish said it was a tall order trying to do justice to Burns.
She added: “You are about to bring to life one of the greatest Scots who ever lived and will either p*** everyone off or they’ll love you.
“Robert Burns wasn’t a drunk. He was only 37 when he died and wrote so much so he couldn’t have been that p***ed all the time.
“You never hear that about Shakespeare, who is revered in school. We want to take this into schools and have made everything easy to understand.
“Alison Tait of the Robert Burns World Federation said this will take Burns into the 21st century and is the most innovative, exciting and dynamic news for years.”
Tish narrates the show, which has an undiscovered cast. She said: “It depicts what happens when people become famous nowadays.
“Our Burns becomes a celeb and a bit of an a*** but has pride in his work.”
The musical includes Twitter hashtags and looks at sex
Tish, who secured Lady Gaga’s production man Richard Smith for the production, added: “I’m glad we are premiering it in Aberdeen and not in the central belt or London, because this will travel.
“The cast are so hungry – we have an ensemble of 33.
“This story needs to be told. From Lossiemouth to London to Los Angeles, we can do it all.”
The world premiere of Robert Burns The Musical is at Aberdeen’s Tivoli Theatre on Sunday.
Read more here