Breadboy: Tony Macaulay’s second memoir turned into a musical, with a great opportunity for a rising star
The hunt is on to find the best thing from sliced bread for a new musical adaptation of a man’s second memoir from Belfast.
Author Tony Macaulay is hopeful that an unknown young talent from the West End will rise to the challenge and star in the show.
Following the huge success of the theater production based on Macaulay’s early memoir, Paperboy, the British Youth Music Theater (BYMT) is now on the hunt for the musical Breadboy, a revamp of the writer’s second memoir, which explores what Paperboy did a few years later.
While Paperboy was filmed in 1975 when the author had just turned 12 and found a new job selling the Belfast Telegraph, Breadboy is set in 1977. Unrest still rages around him, but the author was “kicked out” and is now working. as a bread boy in Ormo’s latest mini-shop, delivering bread to the people of Upper Shankill on Saturday mornings.
Elvis Presley has just died, Saturday Night Fever and Grease are big movie hits, and Princess Leia is the bread boy’s crush.
The musical version of Paperboy was sold out at the Lyric Theater during the summer of 2018 and 2019 and production of Breadboy is scheduled to take place at the same location from July 28 through July 31, 2022.
The British Music Youth Theater is looking for someone to play the lead role as well as other roles and Macaulay says he hopes a raw talent from the region he grew up in will take advantage of the opportunity by gold.
“When BYMT was hosting auditions for the Paperboy, they had a big young boy from Killinchy called Sam Gibson and a girl called Erin Ryder who played my girlfriend,” Macaulay said.
“This time we’re looking for a boy aged 14 to 17 to play teenage Tony. We would like to see young people who can sing, dance and act and the roles will be chosen according to their strengths.
“They will be casting the net in Dublin, Derry and the Lyric Theater in Belfast. But I like the fact that they have auditions on Shankill and Falls Roads.
“I really believe that there are young people in the communities where I come from who have raw talent that may not have been discovered yet and I would love to see them have opportunities like these.”
Specializing in the creation of new musical theater, BYMT works with leading industry professionals to provide high quality training for young singers, actors, dancers and musicians as well as emerging artists and stage technicians. Local singer / songwriter Duke Special and Derry-born comedian Andrew Doyle will be part of the creative team that will bring Macaulay’s much-loved memoir to life. Both also worked on Paperboy, with Duke Special aka Peter Wilson composing the music and Doyle writing the lyrics.
“I’ve heard demos of the songs and they’re awesome,” Macaulay said. “They completely capture the time and Peter clearly studied disco.
“One song, in particular, is the perfect disco tune, I think. It’s called Disco Days and for me it’s a hit song.
“Besides the original music, there is a bit of Abba, BeeGees and punk rock. Much of the story takes place in the Westie nightclub that my parents ran and where my dad was the DJ.
“Everyone was trying to be like John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever back then.”
There’s also a nod to West Side Story in the musical, where Tony revisits a stage show he appeared in as a student at Belfast Royal Academy. And just like Paperboy, there’s a love interest too.
“I called her Judy Carlton. It’s not really his name, but it’s close, ”he said.
“She knows who she is.”
The story also centers on his big promotion to breadboy, delivering rolls and rolls to residents around the top of Shankill Road, Woodvale, Glencairn and Springmartin.
“I was just a teenager growing up trying to cope with life in this divided city,” he said.
“My family was trying to protect us and I was trying to figure out what it was about, when all I was really interested in was my little job, science fiction, Star Wars and the girls.”
We hope that Paperboy can still tour the United States, where Belfast and the stories of ordinary people living in conflict generate a lot of interest. Macaulay says he has yet to see Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical film, Belfast, but can’t wait to watch it.
Paperboy also garnered interest as a movie and before the lockdown, a big screen adaptation entered pre-production. Macaulay even took the American director on a paper tour to give him a glimpse into the world of old paperboys from the Belfast Telegraph.
“There was a bit of momentum at the time, but it was delayed because of Covid,” Macaulay said.
“I read the script and it was wonderful; very respectful of my story. And it’s the same with the musical.
“I am delighted with the show. It is truly authentic.
Auditions will take place in Dublin on January 30, location to be confirmed, at St Cecilia’s House, Derry on February 5, Lyric Theater, Belfast on February 6 and at the Spectrum Center, Shankill Road and Falls Road Leisure Center, Falls Road on February 18 .