This year the entry from San Marino comes from the creative musical team of Ralph Siegel and John O’Flynn, and the voices of Michele Perniola and Anita Simoncini. Chain of lights brings us full circle to the winning song from 1982 when Nicole sang a song of hope for the future of the world in Ein bisschen frieden.
This is only one of the many ventures of a man whose musical influences have been weaved through our favourite song contest for very many years. A new musical has recently been unveiled with the story being written by the renowned Czech writer and director Stanislav Moša, but for the origin of the title we go back to 1981.
The venue was the Simmonscourt Pavillion of the Royal Dublin Society and the occasion was the twenty sixth edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Even though the winner was Making your mind up from the UK group Bucks Fizz, for many the German entry, Johnny Blue, has remained in their hearts. The song was sung by Lena Valaitis and composed by the established song writing partnership of Ralph Siegel and Bernd Meinunger. It lost out on winning the grand prix trophy by only four points.
The original story
The song tells of a boy who is blind and is ignored by other children due to this disability. His saving grace is that he is given a guitar and by playing the instrument and writing songs he is able to show a brighter future for those who have challenges to overcome. In 2006 Johnny Blue placed 9th in a German poll for the Best Song of Eurovision.
It has long been the dream of Ralph Siegel to transform this song into the basis of a musical and this came to pass on 28 March 2015 in the Municipal Theatre in Brno, Czech Republic.
Throughout the show songs are performed, some of which will be familiar to many of our readers. Theater (Katja Ebstein 1980), Crisalide (Valentina Monetta 2013), Moscau (Dschinghis Khan), Wir geben ‘ne party (Mekado 2014), Dschinghis Khan (Dschinghis Khan 1979), Maybe (Valentina Monetta 2014) with the story coming to a conclusion with another of Ralph’s best known compositions Lass die sonne in dein herz (Wind 1987).
In a short chat with Mr. Siegel, he explained that this project has taken some time to come to fruition. It has been written in both German and in the Czech language. He continued that it was not just a matter of picking hits from his career but is a real theatre experience with great choreography along with a good story.
More than eighty songs were looked at to find the very best and give the audience a magical experience. He explained that it was not only the obvious hits, which everybody knows. There are also songs which have a deep meaning in my heart but also fitted the story. He explained that watching the performance was like being in heaven as a composer.
He is now working on developing Johnny Blue, the Musical with the hope that it will bring him another success.
The Musical story
This tells of a blind musician called Johnny Blue. He is a poor man with a real talent, but Satan is interested in him. In fact he wants Johnny’s soul.
His girlfriend is Marie, an innkeeper’s daughter and one Friday evening she takes him to a park so he can play, sing and earn some money. Of course Johnny has a friend who wants to exploit him so he can make some money for himself. We follow Johnny’s path, influenced by Satan and the temptations from those around him. We see an age old story of love and the hope that it wins out in the end!
For this premiere in Brno there were tears of joy with a thirteen minute long standing ovation. The appreciation of the audience for the thirty eight songs of Mr Siegel’s repertoire, was without doubt.
Dorkas Kiefer, who was part of Mekado in 1994, had made the journey to see the premiere and was full of praise. She expressed that she was so full of emotion.
Valentina Monetta, who we all know from her trio of performances at Eurovision in 2012 (The social network song), 2013 (Crisalide) and 2014 (Maybe), was also in the audience and expressed her joy at what she saw.
A video has been produced with highlights of the evening
It’s just a few months before Ralph’s seventieth birthday and what a nice early present he has both given the public and, with the reactions, has the audience given him!