Beverley Knight to star in new musical The Drifters Girl in the West End
A new musical telling the story of American R&B group The Drifters is set to star Beverley Knight when it opens in the West End next autumn.
Knight will star in The Drifters Girl as Faye Treadwell, the manager of the group who had hits with numbers such as “Save the Last Dance for Me”, “Under the Boardwalk”, “Saturday Night at the Movies”, and “Stand By Me.” The musical will follow the legal battles and personal tragedy behind one of the Atlantic Records’ biggest groups, as well as the joy of scoring the hit records and sell-out worldwide tours.
Directed by Jonathan Church, the musical has a book by Ed Curtis, designs by Anthony Ward, choreography by Karen Bruce, lighting by Ben Cracknell and orchestrations by Chris Egan.
Further casting and creatives are set to be announced at a later date.
The Drifters were formed in the 1950s when singer Clyde McPhatter turned to his church groups to find members to create a band, and had its first hit in 1953 with the song “Money Honey”. McPhatter later sold his share in the group to manager George Treadwell, who would continually rotate lowly-paid musicians, causing them to burnout and leave the band.
Although Treadwell owned the rights to the Drifters, the band’s original members felt an obligation to keep their group alive and launched ‘The Original Drifters’. It is the use of this name that sparked legal disputes for years to come, with Faye Treadwell, who managed the group, often at the centre.
Beverley Knight’s West End credits include The Bodyguard at the Dominion Theatre, Cats at the London Palladium, and Memphis the Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Last year, she starred in workshop productions of Katie Prince’s Sylvia, playing Emmeline Pankhurst at the Old Vic.
The Drifters Girl tickets are available now.