Happy Days are here again for fans of both musicals and one of the most influential TV comedies of all time…
Yes, the show that made “The Fonz” a household name, and starred the now Academy Award winning director Ron Howard, has been reincarnated as a musical for British audiences.
The stage show will embark on a 24-week UK-wide tour next January, with the maiden performance taking place at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley. Confirmed stars include Bucks Fizz’s Cheryl Baker, ex-Emmerdale actor Ben Freeman and former Sugababes singer Heidi Range.
Happy Days devotees will be pleased to know that the production is written by Garry Marshall, creator of the original US TV series, and that Henry Winkler, aka Fonzie, is on board as creative consultant.
The project has been made possible by harnessing the show’s popularity through the increasingly common option of crowd-funding. This method of finance has certainly worked for Zach Braff, who used it to secure $2 million for his film Wish I Was Here, and helped get a movie version of American detective drama Veronica Mars off the ground.
The usual incentives for investing in a crowd-fund project tend to be non-fiscal rewards such as copies of scripts or bundles of merchandise, but the Happy Days musical has decided to break away from the norm by allowing donating fans a share of the profits.
With its idealised 1950s-style small town setting, Happy Days ran for a decade between 1974 and 1984, following the expoits of mechanic, chick magnet and all-round cool guy Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli and his high school friends, including Ron Howard’s Richie Cunningham.