The production 'Just for One Day' will open in London's West End in January 2024
The legacy of Live Aid lives on.
According to the BBC, the story behind the 1985 Live Aid benefit concert — which featured Elton John, Paul McCartney, Queen, U2, and others in an effort to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia — will be turned into a musical. The production will open in London in January 2024.
The stage show, titled Just for One Day and named for a lyric in David Bowie’s “Heroes,” will focus on how the concert was organized, per BBC. Actors will reportedly not portray performers. Rather, it will follow activist and musician Bob Geldof and singer-songwriter Midge Ure’s journey to create the benefit show, which was held simultaneously at London’s Wembley Stadium and Philadelphia’s John F. Kennedy Stadium on July 13, 1985.
The production was written by John O’Farrell, who helmed the Mrs. Doubtfire musical, and directed by Luke Sheppard, the director of & Juliet. It was also “made in collaboration with Sir Bob Geldof,” according to West End Theatre.
Geldof, 71, spoke to BBC about the upcoming musical and explained what fans can expect. “This isn't a tribute thing. I wouldn't have anything to do with that,” he said. “So, there isn't a person dressed up as Freddie wearing a crap mustache. The songs drive the drama along."
“The story is based on actual testimony from the day," Geldof continued. "It's real people telling their story throughout this. So it's complex theatre."
While actors may not portray the rock stars that performed at the 1985 concert, their music will appear. Just For One Day features songs performed at Live Aid from Bob Dylan, The Boomtown Rats, Bryan Adams, The Cars, David Bowie, Diana Ross, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Paul Weller, The Police, The Pretenders, Queen, Sade, Status Quo, U2, Ultravox, The Who and more.
The Boomtown Rats frontman also shared with BBC that he came on board when he heard O’Farrell and Sheppard’s vision for the show. "They came and said, 'We know you are going to say no, but we want to do it because our dads have never stopped talking about this day. And we think it's theatre,’” he said.
Geldof and other trustees from Band Aid, the organization behind the original concert and other charitable efforts, sung his praises of the production after seeing it in workshop. "We were blown away. I have to say there was not a dry eye in the house," said Geldof.
Craige Els, who has appeared on TV shows like Doctor Who and on stage in Matilda the Musical and Chess in Concert, will star as Geldof. Naomi Katiyo, Julie Atherton and Jackie Clune are also among the cast.
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Live Aid saw 70 artists perform in front of an audience of 1.5 billion tuning in from across the globe, and raised $127 million for famine relief.
Just for One Day will debut at London's Old Vic Theatre and run from Jan. 26, 2024 to Mar. 30, 2024.
Tickets go on sale Oct. 6 at 12:00 p.m. BST. 10% of every ticket sale will go to Band Aid Charitable Trust.
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