Shoppers in Dunfermline got a sneak preview of the Andrew Carnegie musical starring his great-great-great grandson at the weekend.
28-year-old singing teacher Joe Whiteman, who’s descended from the legendary Scots businessman and philanthropist on his mother’s side, will play the iconic Scotsman in Carnegie – The Star Spangled Scotchman at Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, on May 17 and 18, sponsored by the Muir Group.
He was joined by co-stars Donna Hazelton, winner of Channel 4 talent search Musicality and West End star of Chicago – who will play Carnegie’s mother and Kim Shepherd, who plays Carnegie’s wife Louise.
They performed songs from the show at the town’s Kingsgate Centre and on the High Street as part of the Dunfermline Food and Craft Weekend organised by Dunfermline Delivers and the centre.
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.
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.
Collections will be made each night for a charity – on the Friday 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.
Ian Hammond Brown hopes the musical will raise awareness of the Carnegie story and Dunfermline.
Speaking about the new run, Ian said: “I’m delighted we’re able to bring Carnegie – The Star Spangled Scotchman to Carnegie Hall to mark the centenary of Andrew Carnegie’s death.
“It’s a great opportunity to work with a fantastic cast again, a number of whom appeared in the Fringe production, as well as support the local community.
“It’s always been my dream to perform the show at the Carnegie Hall and it’s particularly poignant in 2019 as it’s the centenary year. Many thanks to Fife Cultural Trust for its support.”
Joe Whiteman said: “I’m delighted to be revisiting the role of Andrew Carnegie and cannot wait to perform in the town where my ancestor was born in the theatre named after him.”
Tickets can be bought from the ONFife Cultural Trust website onfife.com and box offices.
The show’s website is at www.carnegiemusical.com