AC/DC Goes Ballet

September 1, 2003

Maurice Chittenden of The Sunday Times reports that AC/DC singer Brian Johnson has composed an orchestral piece of music that is being developed for the stage as both a ballet and a West End musical.

The Tyneside-born Johnson, 55, famous for never removing his cap in public, says he got the idea while watching a production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Cats".

"One day I was sitting through a boring musical and thought: 'I can do better than this.' I thumbed through the program and there was an advertisement for a bank with gold coins tumbling out of a wooden horse.

"That triggered the idea for 'Helen of Troy'. It was as simple as that."

Johnson, who collaborated with British composer Brendan Healy on the piece, has been holding workshop performances for potential backers at Cameron Mackintosh's Prince Edward Theatre on London's West End with Gary Griffin, director of Stephen Sondheim's musical "Pacific Overtures".

"Helen of Troy" is tipped to make its U.K. debut in November and Dolores O'Riordan, lead singer with Irish group THE CRANBERRIES, may play Helen, who is kidnapped on her wedding night by Paris, with the help of Aphrodite, the goddess of love.

Meanwhile, the Sarasota Ballet in Florida, where Johnson has his main home, is planning a dance version for next year's season. Malcolm McDowell, the actor who came to fame in "A Clockwork Orange", is likely to play Zeus, who narrates the performance.

Robert de Warren, artistic director of theSarasota Ballet and former head of the Northern Ballet in Britain, says: "I would like Brian to play Helen of Troy's father, King Tyndareus, a non-dancing role. He can wear a crown or a laurel wreath instead of his cap."

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