Monkees musical to hit the stage

The Monkees The Monkees outsold The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in 1967

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A stage musical based on the music of zany 1960s pop group The Monkees is to be launched next year.

Monkee Business will have its world premiere at Manchester Opera House in March before moving to other UK cities.

It will feature hits including I'm A Believer, Hey, Hey We're The Monkees and Daydream Believer, but the original band members will not appear.

Instead, it will feature a 20-strong cast acting out a "madcap Austin Powers-style plot", producers said.

The premiere is part of a scheme dubbed "Manchester Gets It First", where the city is used as the test bed for new West End-style shows.

Ghost The Musical, based on the Hollywood film, was premiered in Manchester in March, selling 100,000 tickets, before moving to the West End.

Howard Panter, joint chief executive of Ambassador Theatre Group, which owns the Manchester Opera House, said: "Manchester is the ideal place for the original creative process necessary for developing large-scale new musicals like Monkee Business.

"It is a city with a great foundation in music with knowledgeable and sophisticated audiences who love and understand fantastic musical theatre."

Monkee Business will then tour to Glasgow and Sunderland in April.

A spokeswoman for the Manchester Opera House said it would be a new story "in the spirit of" the original 1960s TV show in which The Monkees shot to fame.

The band embarked on a reunion tour earlier this year but cut the comeback short in August, blaming the cancellations on "business" issues and "internal matters".

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