Alton Glenn Miller was born in 1904 in Iowa. Various moves later, the family settled in Colorado where Glenn became deeply involved in the school band, specifically playing the trombone. In 1924 he went onto join the Tommy Watkins Orchestra, honing and refining his skills. Various stints with different bands followed and in 1937 Glenn formed his own band, the Miller Orchestra. And we know the story from there – travelling the world, making music and making people happy. An odd thing though in this wonderful story is what happened to Glenn? He boarded a plane to France, it never arrived and the plane was never recovered.
Tommy Steele is a good fit in the role of Miller, with a wealth of musical knowledge, roles in Cinderella, All the Fun of the Fair, and Half a Sixpence to name just a couple. Steele manages to narrate the show well; filling in the blanks as to what happened during that iconic era – did you know at the height of his reign, Miller outsold Elvis and the Beatles with 23 number one hits? And what happened when he disappeared on a plane, never to return? It has the ambience of being at a concert, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the performance ahead of you.
The show encompasses songs that we all know and have heard before, even if we couldn’t place the artist as some of the songs have been covered all around the world. Favourite for me was Little Brown Jug and of course, In The Mood.
You don’t have to be In the Mood to make a visit to the Coliseum, the beauty of this show is that it will appeal to younger and older audience members alike. This is truly a special treat and all the more so as Steele is back at the venue, some 60 years after he first performed there. How marvellous!
The Glenn Miller Story is showing at the London Coliseum until 18 August. Book your tickets here!