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Former ushers stage first musical

Published 2 August 2013

Two former Jersey Boys ushers will see the musical they wrote together, The 8th Fold, receive a one-off West End concert staging this autumn.

Singer/songwriter Gianni Onori and producer Ava Aldred, who first met as teenage ushers in the West End, came together to collaborate on the story rooted in America’s war on terror, which will take to the stage of the Duchess theatre on 10 November to coincide with Remembrance Sunday.

The musical tells the story of four grief-stricken boys and follows them through one eventful year as they edge towards a new start.  

Though the writing team of Onori (music, lyrics and book) and Aldred (book) first met amid London theatre’s aisles, the piece was not conceived surrounded by programmes and ice-creams. Onori had embarked on a musical theatre career, becoming a stand by contestant for TV talent search Any Dream Will Do before touring with Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, while Aldred was working in production. When the pair reunited for a coffee and Onori asked Aldred to listen to a selection of songs he had written, The 8th Fold began to take shape.

West End stars James Gillan, who originated the role of Boq in the London production of Wicked, and Paul Spicer, last seen in the West End with a puppet in tow as Princeton/Rod in Avenue Q, will lead the performance, with an ensemble cast including Sharif Afifi, Alex Beaumont, Will Bradnam, Dario Cacioppo and Nathan Lodge.   

The 8th Fold will play at the Duchess during the autumn run of The Resistible Rise Of Arturo Ui, Chichester Festival Theatre’s acclaimed production of Brecht’s epic parable about the rise to power of a mob boss during the Great Depression, which begins its London run on 25 September.

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