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James Graham reveals more details about Tammy Faye Bakker musical

Elton John and Jake Shears join Graham as musical creatives.

Photo credit: Tammy Faye Bakker (Photo courtesy of Darwin Bell on Flickr) 

In an interview with The Guardian, James Graham has spoke about a new musical he’s working on, commemorating the life of Tammy Faye Bakker. The musical will showcase the televangelist’s life, set to a score including music by Elton John and lyrics by Jake Shears.

“We’ve made real progress and we got a workshop together in November” said Graham. “We hope we might get it in to a theatre second half of next year.”

Working with John and Shears, Graham’s musical will explore the impact of evangelicalism and American politics, in particular the rise of Donald Trump. “That sounds really boring and dry doesn’t it” he added, “but it’s with some kick-ass tunes by Elton John!”

Tammy Faye Bakker was a prolific 20th century televangelist, rising to fame through The PTL Club. During her life, she built a Christian theme park, Heritage USA, as well as becoming an icon thanks to her progressive views on homosexuality.

A critically-acclaimed writer whose works include The Vote and Finding Neverland, James Graham was awarded an OBE in the 2020 New Year’s Honours for services to drama. His works often depict contemporary events, including Quiz which dramatised a former army major’s win on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Currently, he’s working on a screenplay adaptation of Ink, as well as a Nottinghamshire based television series.

Music for the Tammy Faye Bakker musical is by Elton John, whose extensive music career has seen him win five Grammy Awards and honored as the most successful male solo artist of all time. Knighted for services to music in 1998, his music can be heard in musicals including The Lion King and Billy Elliot.

Best known as the frontman of Scissor Sisters, Jake Shears will write the lyrics for the Tammy Faye Bakker musical. In January 2018, Shears made his Broadway debut as Charlie Price in Kinky Boots.

Photo credit: Tammy Faye Bakker (Photo courtesy of Darwin Bell on Flickr

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