Cilla show’s a me­mo­rial to my mum

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - EXCLUSIVE -

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.

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