Who knew we were a musical too!

BLITZ! the musical by Lionel Bart (his follow-up to Oliver!), opened at the Adelphi Theatre on May 8th 1962 and ran for 568 performances. Billed as the most costly musical of its time, the LP cover notes read: ‘A breathtaking theatrical adventure which restores spectacle…on a huge imaginative scale’. Well, I’m liking it already. ‘Music, lyrics and direction (all by Bart) combine to recapture London’s East End in World War II…sweeping the savaged sky – sirens, smoke and splintering glass [sounds like a night out in the ‘80s] – all twang half-forgotten strings in the hearts of Londoners who lived through it, and present a vivid picture to the generation young enough to have escaped it.’ Sound familiar? Featuring Jewish matriarch Mrs Blitztein (played by Amelia Bayntun), the best line in the opening song, which starts with the kind of atmospheric noise that could easily have been looped by Eno through his VCS3 synthesiser during the Roxy Music years, is ‘It’s much more fun, mucking in with everyone.’ We could have used that line on any of the fashion shoots for BLITZ magazine…

Cover illustration by Dennis Wrigley.

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