THE story of one of the musical world’s best-known and most influential double acts will be brought to life at Salisbury City Hall on Wednesday.
The Simon & Garfunkel Story is the brainchild of West End actor Dean Elliott, who came up with the idea while playing another musical great, Buddy Holly in Buddy Holly: The Musical.
He said: “I was doing Buddy and I wanted to create something of similar high quality about Simon and Garfunkel; something that wasn’t just a tribute.
“I wanted to tell the story about two best friends who grew up around the corner from each other and became superstars. They formed as a group in the early ’60s, and the ’60s was a very important decade for social and political change – a lot of things happened that shaped the modern world.”
He decided to use a full band, with five other musicians to back Simon (Elliott) and Garfunkel (Jonny Smart), and to intersperse it with photos and original film footage to tell the story of their humble beginnings, success and dramatic break up, and finish with a recreation of their 1981 Central Park reformation concert.
The show features classic hits such as Mrs Robinson, Cecilia, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Homeward Bound and Sound of Silence.
Elliott said: “I’ve been a fan as long as I can remember and I have all their albums.
“I think Paul Simon is fairly underrated as a writer, but I think he’s up there with Lennon and McCartney and Bob Dylan.
“His lyrics really touch people – Bridge Over Troubled Water is just the most beautifully written song. People connect to it a lot more than a lot of stuff from the ’60s. A lot of it was very carefree and throwaway and he was writing songs about real emotions and feelings.”
He says the show is honest, moving and funny and has sold out most theatres, with standing ovations every night. “It’s been a real labour of love and it’s great to see the hard work pay off. I’m completely surprised by how well it has gone. I thought it was a good show and I knew we had got the right people in on it, but I just wasn’t sure how people would react to it.
“But we’re now growing a lovely following and it’s wonderful to see.”
Elliott trained at Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts before moving to London, where he got the role of Buddy Holly, which he played in the West End, Europe and Canada, as well as in front of Holly’s family in his hometown of Lubbock, Texas.
They carried out a nationwide search to cast the role of Art Garfunkel before casting Smart.
Elliott said: “He just had something about him, he had that aloof quality – and he was willing to perm his hair!
His voice just sat so naturally with mine.”
He said they don’t put on accents but try to make the songs and playing as authentic as possible.
* The Simon & Garfunkel Story is at Salisbury City Hall on Wednesday,
May 14. For tickets call 01722 434434 or go to cityhallsalisbury.co.uk.