George Orwell’s Animal Farm haunted our dreams when we had it as a high school English literature prerequisite. Vicious animals, confusing political throw-downs; it had just about everything required for our mean English teacher to assign us the hardest essay ever. We never thought we would get through high school alive. But here we are. Writing on the internet.
Maybe [lastfm]Elton John[/lastfm] had the same Animal Farm-inspired trauma as us and is trying to work through it by attempting to create a musical based on the novel? After the break, learn how getting the licensing for an Orwell book is harder than all our high school essays combined.
We’ve always wanted to write a musical, specifically a jazz-rock opera that takes place in the future and features the musical necessity-orphans. So we are especially interested in the process [lastfm]Elton John[/lastfm] and writer Lee Hall are undertaking in the creation of a musical with a message as antithetical to musical theatre as Animal Farm. Hall says it is no easy feat:
“I’m deep into it, writing songs for pigs and other four-legged friends. It’s taken about two years. We almost gave up, but there was always that one last license to go after.”
Does he mean “friends” or “fiends” because we remember those animals being anything but friendly. However, Hall does have a friend in [lastfm]Elton John[/lastfm], whom he worked on the musical Billy Elliot with, and has become a true creative partner-in-crime:
“I know that Elton likes to have the lyrics done and have them in front of him so I’ll work on a batch before I give him anything to look at.”
John and Hall have yet to acquire the rights to perform their musical on stage and are apparently two years away from having their vision become tangible reality. In the past, [lastfm]David Bowie[/lastfm] attempted to make a musical out of 1984 and George Orwell’s estate denied him permission so he used the music for Diamond Dogs, including this song, “1984”.
Here is a delightfully sappy video montage with cuddling animals (not the sort of bloodthirsty beasts you would see in Animal Farm) and [lastfm]Elton John[/lastfm] singing “Can You Feel The Love Tonight.”
Those are some outrageously cute, frisky, non-Orwellian animals.