Cilla show’s a memorial to my mum
CILLA BLACK’S son says a new stage show, arriving in Edinburgh this week, is a “living memorial” to her.
Robert Willis, 47, who was also the muchloved star’s agent and manager, described Cilla The Musical as a labour of love to his mum, who died suddenly in August 2015.
The show premiered just 10 days ago in her home city of Liverpool and this week comes to The Playhouse.
Robert’s dad died at the age of just 57 and seeing his late parents’ story re-enacted on the stage means a great deal to him.
“When we were working on the TV drama, which starred Sheridan Smith, we realised it would also work for the stage,” he said.
“Mum was reticent about the television show at first, but once she saw the script she felt better and loved it when she watched it.
“She was very enthusiastic about the idea of adapting it for the stage.
“We already had it mapped out and had an early draft when she died.
“Obviously, everything then went on hold and it was the furthest thing from my mind.
“But a year after she died I started talking about it again to Jeff Pope, the writer.
“It would have been easier for me not to do it, but she’d wanted to do it, so I channelled all my energy into the show.
“It wasn’t about commercial opportunities – it was about finishing this journey I started with her.
“This was a labour of love and a living memorial to her.
“I wanted to create something she would be proud of and I know she would be thrilled.
“For the show to open at the Liverpool Empire, a place she loved and had always aspired to play in, and then did many times over the years, to see her back there was a privilege.”
He added: “I’ve accomplished what I wanted to do for mum and now I’ll slowly step back from the show.
“But hopefully we end up in the West End, which is where this deserves to be.”
Cilla’s son Robert.