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Monday, June 4, 2012

Cat Stevens Premieres New Musical

THE long spiritual journey of Yusuf - the artist formerly known as Yusuf Islam, and before that as Cat Stevens, and somewhere in the mists of time as plain old Steven Georgiou - began when he fell ill at the height of his first blaze of fame in the late 1960s.

''My first experience was a dazzling one, as an 18-year-old with a hit record and girls chasing me all over Europe,'' he says during a relaxed 45-minute chat in the upper circle of the Princess Theatre, where his musical Moonshadow this week had its world premiere. ''There I was on tour with Hendrix and everything that was a consequence of that. I didn't learn that much, I just succumbed to the moment, and that was stardom.''

Did you, like Hendrix, succumb to drugs too? ''For sure, we all did that. And because of that I contracted tuberculosis [at 21]. That was an important inoculation, because I knew then that whatever I did next I must keep more control, I must keep my own interests at heart, and not worry too much about what the manager and agents, and even the public, were saying.''

Like Queen's We Will Rock You, Moonshadow has a sci-fi plot. The story centers on main characters Stormy and Lisa who as childhood friends become separated but meet again years later. Stormy is dragged into a dark world with an evil witch and becomes obsessed with his own stardom but awakes from his nightmarish hell before it is too late to reclaim his life.

Some of the musical's songs like "Matthew and Son" and "A Bad Night" date back to 1967. For fans of Cat Stevens' music, there are new songs you can only hear currently in the musical. The show opens with the brand-new song "World of Darkness.


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