The American accent was very much optional and although the tousle-haired star didn’t morph into lean, austere, bespectacled Glenn Miller, Tommy Steele, nevertheless, led us through a warm-hearted, engaging production where the audience was swept up by the power of classic, massive-selling swing band hits of the 30s and 40s.
In the first half, Miller falls in love and marries, works on musical arrangements, and dreams of a new sound which, after years of gestation, emerges as the all-conquering Glenn Miller Orchestra, with its unique set up consisting of a clarinet leading the melodic line, working with four saxophones plus trombones.
In the second half, the show comes back with all guns blazing – a toe-tapping delight. I defy anyone not to go home with Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree and Chattanooga Choo Choo on repeat inside their heads.
There’s energetic dancing throughout and Tommy Steele is in fine voice for his poignant solo The Nearness of You.
The Glenn Miller Story is a treat which, if you’re not already a fan, will convert you to the swing band sound that, whatever your age, will take you back in time to re-live an era.
Sadly, many of the people who danced and loved and married and brought up kids to this music are no longer with us and this musical may bring a tear to your eye and make you feel closer to them as you see the dancing and delight of people who were young in the 1940s recreated.
The Glenn Miller Story is a winner for pure musical delight, for a sentimental journey, and for the joyful re-discovery of a style of music that was once king – a sound that broke hearts and mended them and filled the dance floors 70 years ago.
The Glenn Miller Story runs until Saturday November 9th at the Palace Theatre, Manchester. Ticket prices start from £21.40. To book tickets phone 0844 871 3019 or go to the website www.atgtickets.com/manchester