The Andrew Carnegie musical set to begin a two-night run at Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, tomorrow night is to be featured in a new book about how people have linked Britain and America.
The book, being written by award-winning journalist, writer and broadcaster Lindsay Sutton, will include a chapter on Andrew Carnegie.
“It’s about the links between Britain and America through people,” Lindsay said. “People like Carnegie and John Muir who are major players in the social history of both countries. My working title is Anyone else for the Mayflower?
“I’m still deciding whether to focus on 25 individuals, or whether to go for 50. Whatever the number, Scotland will be well represented, that’s for sure.
When Lindsay heard Carnegie – The Star Spangled Scotchman was being performed at Carnegie Hall tomorrow and Saturday to mark the centenary of his death with the legend’s great-great-great grandson, Joe Whiteman, in the lead role, he knew he had to see it and interview Joe.
“Imagine my delight and excitement when I found out the musical was being put on in Carnegie’s home town of Dunfermline! I immediately took measures to get myself there to see it, interview its author Ian Hammond Brown, and, of course, Joe.
“Joe is descended from Carnegie’s mother’s side of the family and that interests me – she was a strong woman and a major influence in his life: he didn’t marry until she had died.
“I’m a great admirer of the Scots. My fascination with such prime movers as Andrew Carnegie and the great environmentalist John Muir leaves me full of admiration for their legacy. Even so, they were not without fault or blemish and that aspect has to be part of the story.
“I’ve already been to the remains of Carnegie’s Homestead steel plant in Pittsburgh, where a terribly bitter strike took place – dividing his workforce from him. The show deals with the issue head on. Full marks for tackling this aspect as well as the benefactor aspect of the Carnegie story, great though that is.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting both Ian and Joe and seeing the musical. It shows great imagination and application to think up the idea, create the musical itself, then put it on during the centenary of his death in the summer of 1919. I’m sure I will enjoy it and learn a lot too.”
Ian Hammond Brown said: “I was delighted when I was told Lindsay was coming to see the show and include it and Joe in his new book. I’m looking forward to meeting him tomorrow and eventually reading his take on Carnegie.”
Lindsay Sutton is a Yorkshire journalist writer and broadcaster who’s had varied and distinguished career in print journalism and TV over almost 50 years – from reporter to news editor, presenter and producer including work for the national dailies as well as ITV, BBC and Sky.
Over the last 10 years Lindsay has become a prolific, award-winning travel writer specialising in North America. He’s won the Visit USA Regional Destination Travel Writer Of The Year Award; the IPW American Travel Writer of the Year Award; and a French Tourism Award for an article on the Dunkirk evacuation.
His new book, Sands of Time, about the record-holding. Queen’s Guide to Morecambe Bay Sands, Cedric Robinson, and how he’s turned an archaic post from the days of Henry VIII – taking people across the often-treacherous sands – into a relevant and dynamic job, has just been launched.
Carnegie – The Star Spangled Scotchman is on at Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, tomorrow and Saturday, sponsored by the Muir Group. Fife Cultural Trust has donated the hire of the theatre as part of its ‘Carnegie at Carnegie’ events to mark the centenary of the great man’s death.
The musical has been developed over the last six years by Ian Hammond Brown, co-writer of Whisky Galore A Musical, who won a development grant for it from Creative Scotland in 2013. It’s since enjoyed a successful run at the 2016 Fringe. It’s hoped the new run, ‘in concert’ with an ensemble of 10 actors and choir a of local community performers, will help gain interest in a full production from producers.
Collections will be made each night for a charity – tomorrow for Alzheimer Scotland and on Saturday for the Nicola Murray Foundation which funds research into ovarian cancer. It’s also hoped proceeds from the show will allow donations to the charities and New Musical Theatre Alliance Scotland, a not-for-profit organisation set up to help nurture new musical writing talent in Scotland.
Carnegie – The Star Spangled Scotchman tells the story of Carnegie’s life from the viewpoint of a steelworker killed in the controversial Homestead steel plant dispute of 1892 who has come back from the afterlife to decide on Carnegie’s eternal fate in the last two hours of his life.
Tickets can be bought from the ONFife Cultural Trust website onfife.com and box offices.
The show’s website is at www.carnegiemusical.com