Harry Hill’s rock opera TONY! shakes up Liverpool

Tony! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera] is a musical that explores the story of how a young hippy became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Created by comedian Harry Hill, composer Steve Brown and directed by Peter Rowe, who wrote the Everyman Rock ‘n’ Roll panto Red Riding Hood, the play will take over the Playhouse from Tuesday 10 to Saturday 14 October 2023. 

This rip-roaring new musical vividly portrays Tony Blair’s political journey, delving into his political career, with the role of Tony played by Jack Whittle (The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, Mischief Theatre) and his relationships with figures such as Cherie Blair, played by Tori Burgess (Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of), Criterion Theatre, Tron Theatre & UK Tour).

Princess Diana is played by Emma Jay Thomas (Blues in the Night, Birmingham Rep) and Liverpool rising star Rosie Strobel as John Prescott and Osama Bin Laden. Rosie made her professional debut years ago in the Everyman’s production of The Wizard of Oz and regularly performed at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall as a teenager. 

The cast also includes Howard Samuels (Jewish Hollywood, Upstairs at the Gatehouse) as Peter Mandelson, Phil Sealey (Robin Hood, Greenwich Theatre) as Gordon Brown, Martin Johnston (Room 7, 2022) as Neil Kinnock, Sally Cheng (Richard II, GSC) as Robin Cook and William Hazell (Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s Globe) as on-stage cover.

Many other characters are featured in the musical, including Liam Gallagher and Alastair Campbell – it’s Yes, Minister meets The Rocky Horror Show and a musical like no other.    

Harry Hill (Book) and Steve Brown (Music and Lyrics) said, “It’s a show for Tony lovers and haters everywhere – and everyone in between – don’t expect a history lesson – in our world Tony’s born singing and dancing, Saddam Hussein is played as Groucho Marx and Gordon Brown occasionally turns into the Incredible Hulk – let’s just say all the facts are there… but not necessarily as they occurred!” 

Tony! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera] is a hilarious tragedy of political intrigue, religion, power, and romance that plays fast and loose with the facts, owing as much to Citizen Kane as it does to The Marx Brothers – Karl and Groucho.

It examines how a peace-loving, long-haired hippy transformed into a warmongering multimillionaire in just a couple of decades. Coinciding with the Labour Party Annual Conference returning to Liverpool the same week, this production presents a mock-serious tone of musical comedy at the Liverpool Playhouse from Tuesday 10 to Saturday 14 October.

Tickets, priced from £11 to £36, are on sale now from TONY! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera] | Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse theatres (everymanplayhouse.com) 

Image: Jack Whittle as Tony Blair ©Mark Senior

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