BBC Commissions New Musical For A Virtual Theatre Experience

London 15 March 2021: The BBC announced today that they have commissioned an original new musical to be staged for radio and podcast. The virtual musical experience will allow anyone to once again step into their own theatre of the mind and witness the first specially commissioned musical set during the global pandemic. A Magnum Opus production for the BBC, ‘U.Me: The Musical’ (pronounced you dot Me) will premiere globally at 8pm BST on 12 May 2021 on BBC World Service and BBC Sounds.

Bringing together an incredible team ‘U.Me: The Musical’ is a regional UK production for BBC World Service and will feature words and music by Theo Jamieson, previously music director for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Here Lies Love, with music production by Liverpool based Steve Levine famed for his work with Culture Club, The Clash and The Beach Boys. The book is written by Simon Pitts and Theo Jamieson and commissioned by Simon Pitts, BBC World Service.

A cultural response to a unique global collective experience, the musical will not only offer the upsides of a good musical for listeners: hope, joy and consolation, but will also employ and support British creatives: singers, musicians, mix engineers, orchestrators and so on in a sector with reduced opportunities for work. The musical will feature contemporary musicians as well as the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra with over 60 musicians across the UK, all recording their parts remotely to be mixed by Steve Levine in his Liverpool studio.

‘U.Me: the Musical’ is an international love story, based around two young people on opposite sides of the world, who meet online and make a true connection.  Having moved to London to start a new job just as everything in her world stops, Rose meets Ryo across a crowded video conference at work. He’s a Japanese-American living in Kyoto experiencing a quarter-life crisis and is starting out again.  Alone and together during the lockdowns they make sense of it all between them and find hope and joy amidst everything.

Simon Pitts commented: “It can take six years to create a new musical for the West End or Broadway. We’re writing and arranging and recording u.me in 5 months during lockdown.  We’re excited to be bringing together some of Britain’s greatest music and drama talents in a project touching on our shared global experience over this last extraordinary year.”

Theo Jamieson commented: “The BBC wanted to do a radio musical in response to the covid pandemic, a romance in this moment we are in that would get the blood pumping and raise goosebumps. When all guns are blazing on a musical, nothing generates that much energy and that much feeling. It’s a big challenge, but actually the feeling of responding and delivering something to the public in a short amount of time is actually really fun. It’s fantastic as an artist.”

The musical is a broadcast hour and will have its World Premiere at 8pm BST on 12 May 2021 on BBC World Service and will be chapterised for podcast on BBC Sounds.

About Author /

Kath is an actor, singer and writer with a passion for theatre. She has been reviewing for At The Theatre since 2014. Kath has a Masters in Performance at Liverpool Hope University and is Creative Engagement Worker for B arts, a participatory arts organisation.

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