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Bowie heads for theatreland

Get ready for hordes of West End theatre-goers waving their arms in the air during another chorus of Starman. David Bowie has given permission for his songs to be used in a "jukebox musical" scheduled for next spring, with hopes of a future West End run and touring shows.

Heroes: The Musical tells the story of Major Tom, a starman and a starry-eyed young kid called David. It was written by Deep Singh, who was gratified and surprised when Bowie sanctioned the use of his songs.

"We could not really believe it when they gave us permission," the writer said. "His people had warned us that it was very unlikely that he would be interested and that he had been asked many times before."

Singh believes that Bowie was persuaded because the musical is not a nostalgic tribute, but a respectful showcase for Bowie’s prescient lyrics. Although it just happens to feature around 20 smash hits like Heroes, The Jean Genie and Let’s Dance.

It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Bowie, who hasn’t released a new album in 8 years, might have noticed the royalties flooding in to his pop contemporaries Queen, Abba and Madness from other West End smashes We Will Rock You, Mamma Mia and Our House.

Heroes: The Musical looks like it has the potential to repeat those successes. The misfits and rebels who adored Bowie back in the 70s are now parents and grandparents, and the perfect target market for those weekend theatre breaks in London.

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