Buxton man Oliver Savile will take a step closer to his dream of becoming a West End star when the curtain rises on the world premiere of a musical based on the Sixties pop phenomenon The Monkees.
Twenty-two-year-old Oliver, a former Buxton Community School pupil, plays a character based on Peter Tork in Monkee Business, which opens at the Manchester Opera House on March 30.
And if it’s a hit, the show could transfer to London’s West End.
That would be the realisation of a dream which started at Buxton Opera House more than a dozen years ago: “The first show I ever saw was Blood Brothers at Buxton Opera House when I was about ten,” Oliver told the Advertiser.
“From that time on, that was it. From then on, I knew what I wanted to do.”
He joined the REC Theatre, performing his first musical at 13. After leaving Buxton Community School, Oliver gained a distinction in a two-year BTec Musical Theatre course at City College Manchester which allowed him to apply for the prestigious Mountview Theatre of Arts in London, where he was one of 20 applicants out of 6,000 to be awarded a place for a three-year degree course in Musical Theatre. Since graduating in 2010, Oliver has never been out of work.
Monkee Business features all the amazing songs which turned the American group into a worldwide craze which at times outstripped even The Beatles. Apart from Peter Tork, none of them were really musicians, but famous names such as Neil Diamond wrote their classic hits which included Daydream Believer and Last Train to Clarksviller.
The show is not a showbiz biography, but a story – based on the kind of madcap adventure Monkees fan will remember from their hit TV show – featuring an unscrupulous promoter who finds four youngsters to stand in for the Monkees on a world tour.
“In the show we’re pursued by spies and singing nuns, but it’s all great fun,” said Oliver.
His dad Marcus, who lives in Buxton, is even more excited by it all than Oliver: “He’s a great fan of The Monkees. The whole family will no doubt be there on the first night!”
So far Oliver, who has travelled the world singing in stage shows, has only played romantic leads – The Prince in Sleeping Beauty and Sky in Mamma Mia.
“It’s weird playing a real person,” said Oliver of Peter Tork, who was always “the lovable dummy” in the TV show. But as well as his research into Tork’s life, real life has given him an insight into how pop stars have to live when the cast of his production of Mamma Mia was mobbed in the Philippines and Belgium.
The death last month of The Monkees’ lead singer Davy Jones at the age of 66 has intensified interest in the group, and opening the show in his home city of Manchester is also a tribute to his memory.
And Oliver’s thoughts will be close to home as the curtain goes up with his father – who backed his ambition to the hilt – in the audience.
“I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for him,” said Oliver. “He’s never been a pushy dad, but he’s always been there.”
lMonkee Business: Manchester Opera House – March 30 – April 14. Box Office 0844 871 3018.