Our 'superb', brand new musical In Dreams is wowing audiences and critics alike calling it 'a crowd-pleasing hit musical' and 'an irresistible show'. But what else do we know about In Dreams… read on for eight things we have discovered.
1. In Dreams is written by David West Read, the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning, and Tony Award-nominated writer and producer, best known for writing the smash hit TV show Schitt’s Creek starring Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara and mega new musical & Juliet, which has won three Olivier’s and six What’s On Stage awards.
2. It features the music of legendary songsmith Roy Orbison. Known for his distinctive vocals, eyecatching sunglasses and unforgettable songs, he started out as a rockabilly and country singer, but found success in the early 1960s in the mainstream charts with hits including ‘Only the Lonely‘, ‘Running Scared‘, ‘Crying‘, ‘In Dreams‘ and ‘Oh, Pretty Woman‘.
3. In the show, Tony award-winning Lena Hall and West End stars Oliver Tompsett, Sian Reese-Williams and Noël Sullivan sing the rock number ‘Handle with Care’ by British-American supergroup the Traveling Wilburys. The group, featuring George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty, originally released the track in 1988. The acoustic version performed in the In Dreams rehearsal room is accompanied by Musical Director Patrick Hurley on keys and Danny Short on guitar – performing the well-known track in an exciting new way.
4. The play is based around the annual Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), a celebration of life and death observed throughout Mexico, where spirits of loved ones are welcomed with ofrendas (offerings) of food, drink, and cherished personal items. It was famously depicted in the James Bond film Spectre.
5. Vintage neon signs that line Route 66 in America inspired set designer Arnulfo Maldonado when creating Felices Sueños, the Mexican restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the musical is set. The Playhouse itself has had its own neon sign since 2019, created by West Yorkshire-based Neon Workshops using the rousing song lyrics gifted to the theatre by rock band Chumbawamba.
Neon up on the side of the Leeds Playhouse building
Photo by David Lindsay
6. In Dreams features 20 of Roy Orbison’s hit songs, which have been widely used over the years in films, TV and adverts around the world including ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ in the hit 1990 film Pretty Woman starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. Martin Freeman was seen celebrating Christmas in a mobile phone ad while ice-skating to ‘Beautiful Dreamer’. ‘Blue Bayou’ featured in Season 2 of Stranger Things and in Ikea’s first ever TV ad. And ‘You Got It’ was used by American supermarket brand Stop & Shop.
7. Roy Orbison has a long history with Yorkshire. He met his second wife Barbara when performing at Batley Variety Club in June 1968. She was visiting friends who were in the music business and asked them to introduce them. They all went to Le Phonographic – a nightclub that was in the Merrion Centre in Leeds. The photo below is of the then president of Roy’s UK Fan Club Maggie Finch presenting him with a gift. The Big O played Leeds Odeon on 5 June 1963, supported by The Beatles (whatever happened to them?). In 2018, a holographic Roy Orbison performed his greatest hits ‘live’ on stage Leeds First Direct Arena with a full orchestra and then returned once again in 2019 with The Rock ’N’ Roll Dream Tour, which saw both Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly brought to life onstage together for the first time.
Were you there?
8. La Catrina is perhaps the most recognizable symbol of the Day of the Dead. This elegantly dressed skeleton has inspired many to put on skull makeup during the festivities to affectionately poke fun at death. She was originally created by Mexican printmaker and cartoonist José Guadalupe Posada to make a deeper satirical statement about mortality.
In dreams company at Leeds Playhouse. Photo by Pamela Raith