Aussies plan Allen bio-tuner

Australian producer Ben Gannon and London impresario Robert Fox announced Sept. 22 they are developing a major musical based on the life of singer-pianist-composer Peter Allen.

Gannon bought the rights from the Estate and Peter Allen Family Trust, and has just snared another partner in the Victorian Arts Center Trust.

The Australian-born Allen, who died in 1992, was discovered by Judy Garland, at one time was married to Liza Minnelli, and played sellout concerts at N.Y.’s Radio City Music Hall and Down Under. An Oscar-winning song-writer, he penned tunes for Bette Midler, Olivia Newton-John and Ann-Margret. He was the composer and star of 1988’s notorious Broadway musical flop “Legs Diamond.”

Gannon, who knew Allen, recently produced a TV docu, “Peter Allen: The Boy From Oz,” which aired on the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Gannon said he approached Fox, a longtime friend, because he wanted a “partner who has theatrical clout in the U.S. and the U.K., so we can plan something that is headed that way. I want to take a big Australian musical to Broadway.”

He expects to soon confirm the creative team, which will largely be Australian. Gannon, who flies to London this week to confer with Fox, says the project will be developed through next year, with the aim of being workshopped in the second half of ’96.

The musical is intended to be a theatrical work that can stand alone and doesn’t rely on auds being familiar with Allen, he added.

Gannon is an investor in Fox’s current West End production, “Burning Blue,” and says they are discussing doing another stage project and a film.

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