Live Aid the musical coming to London decades after fundraising extravaganza

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LONDON (Reuters) – Live Aid, the transatlantic concert that raised millions for famine relief in Ethiopia, is being turned into a stage musical that will premiere at London’s Old Vic next year, the theatre said on Monday.

Organised by rockers Bob Geldof and Midge Ure almost 40 years ago, Live Aid was watched by an estimated 1.5 billion people.

“If this musical encourages just one person to have a positive impact for the better, then it will be a job well done,” Geldof said in a statement on The Old Vic website.

He said he had watched the production develop. “I’m looking forward to seeing it … it better not be shit!” the famously outspoken singer turned campaigner turned entrepreneur added.

“Just For One Day” written by author John O’Farrell and directed by Luke Sheppard, will run at The Old Vic from January 26 to March 30, 2024. The theatre said the production had the permission from the Band Aid Charitable Trust, which will get 10% from the sale of each ticket.

“For those of us who were around in the ‘80s, Saturday 13 July 1985 I’m sure will be one of those days that is forever etched in our memories,” Old Vic artistic director Matthew Warchus said.

“We all remember where we watched Live Aid, who we watched it with, and the pure amazement at the feat that was unfolding before our eyes.”

The show will feature songs by Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Queen, The Who, Paul McCartney, Elton John, The Boomtown Rats and others who appeared at the concert that was held simultaneously at London’s Wembley Stadium and the John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia.

It came the year after Geldof and Ure called in a choir of pop stars to record the Band Aid single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” to raise money to help people caught up in the famine spreading in Ethiopia.

(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian)