The Blues Brothers: Summer Special

Previewed 18 July 2017, Opened 21 July 2017, Closed 26 August 2017 at The Matcham Room at the London Hippodrome in London

Grab your shades and get ready to shake your tail feather for this special summer show of The Blues Brothers in London

The Blues Brothers – Summer Special is a supercharged, rock'n'roll party. Featuring 20 of the most popular rock ‘n’ roll classics of all time – including Respect, Jailhouse Rock, Soul Man and Do You Love Me? – the show also includes some never-seen-before material created by the star of the original cult classic film Dan Aykroyd and Judith Belushi, the widow of John Belushi. Backed with live music from the Staxx Sisters.

IMPORTANT: Over 18's Only. A valid ID will be required for all ticketholders to enter the London Hippodrome. There will be no refunds for tickets purchased for under 18's or those who fail to bring ID with them.

The Blues Brothers in London at the Hippodrome's Matcham Room previewed from 18 July 2017, opened on 21 July 2017 and closed on 26 August 2017


The Official Tribute To The Blues Brothers

Previewed 6 August 1991, Opened 12 August 1991, Closed 6 June 1991 at the Whitehall Theatre (now Trafalgar Studios)
Previewed 19 September 1994, Opened 21 September 1994, Closed 29 October 1994 at the Comedy Theatre (now Harold Pinter Theatre)
Previewed 9 December 1996, Opened 11 December 1996, Closed 18 January 1997 at the Apollo Theatre
Previewed 25 April 2001, Opened 2 May 2001, Closed 13 October 2001 at the Whitehall Theatre (now Trafalgar Studios)

The original 1991 cast at the Whitehall Theatre (now Trafalgar Studios) featured Con O'Neill as 'Jake' and Warwick Evans as 'Elwood' with Greg Brown, Ian Roberts and Liza Spenz. Directed by David Leland with choreography by Carole Todd, designs by Caroline Amies, lighting by Patrick Woodroffe and sound by Nick Gilpin.

The original 1994 cast at the Comedy Theatre (now Harold Pinter Theatre) featured Mark White as 'Jake' and Giles New as 'Elwood'. Simon John Foster was originally scheduled to play the role of 'Elwood' but unfortunately he broke his foot just prior to the West End opening. This was a 'restaged' version, directed by David Leland, of the 1991 production. The show's title was expanded to include 'Official' to mark the fact that this production now had the official approval of both Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi's widow, Judy.

The original 1994 cast at the Apollo Theatre featured Brad Henshaw as 'Jake' and Simon John Foster as 'Elwood'.

The original 2001 cast at the Whitehall Theatre (now Trafalgar Studios) featured Brad Henshaw as 'Jake' and Simon John Foster as 'Elwood' with special guest star Antonio Fargas (Huggy Bear in the 1970s TV series Starsky & Hutch). Although still officially authorised by both Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi's widow, Judy - the title of this staging was shortened to just The Blues Brothers.

The story goes that Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues were brought up in the bleak Rock Island City orphanage, and were bonded blood brothers in a ceremony in which a guitar string, formerly belonging to celebrated bluesman Elmore James, was used to draw the vital fluid from each of the duo's middle finger-digits. These were later waved liberally in the direction of various representatives of Illinois' law enforcement community, rednecks, Nazis and jilted fiancées, in the service of the orphanage.

Jake and Elwood made their screen debuts courtesy of their original alter egos — John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd — on the popular US TV comedy variety show Saturday Night Live. Belushi and Aykroyd first performed a blues number together on an edition of the show in January 1976 in a regular slot in which members of the Saturday Night Live team appeared dressed as bees. The duo gave a spirited rendition of Muddy Waters' I'm a King Bee to a rapturous reception.

Belushi and Aykroyd warmed up Saturday Night Live audiences as the Blues Brothers for a year before the act was included in another edition of the show transmitted in April 1978. Introducing their first television appearance, Paul 'The Shiv' Shaffer, Saturday Night Live's backing band's pianist, announced:

"In 1969, Marshall Checker, of the Legendary Checker's Records, called me about a new blues act that had been playing in small, funky clubs on Chicago's South Side. Today... they are no longer an authentic blues act but have managed to become a viable commercial product. So now, let's join Joliet Jake and his silent brother Elwood — the Blues Brothers."

Despite this tongue-in-cheek introduction, Belushi and Aykroyd performed earnest versions of Hey, Bartender and I Don't Know, performances which both pleased and puzzled a Saturday Night Live audience accustomed to established musical acts on the show. The audience were unsure if the Blues Brothers were supposed to be taken seriously, or if, since they were two of America's best-known comedians, the routine was intended to be funny. But Belushi was serious about blues music and had plans for the Blues Brothers beyond the confines of Saturday Night Live.

Following the success of their first Saturday Night Live appearance as the musical double act, Belushi and Aykroyd discussed making some short Blues Brothers films for inclusion in the show. During the summer of 1978, Aykroyd expanded these ideas into a full-length film script in which Jake and Elwood reform their blues band to raise money for the Rock Island City orphanage. Belushi offered the script to Universal and, since the studio was enjoying a number one hit with Animal House at the time, they gave the go-ahead to make the film.

Originally conceived as a skit, the Blues Brothers were a peculiar combination of comedy, kitsch, and classic blues and soul. Their 'mission from God' had nothing to do with some fictitious orphanage, but was rooted in Belushi's belief in the blues and his desire to popularise the music he loved. The linchpin of this quest may have long since vanished in a maelstrom of drugs, but his legacy lives on.

The stage show A Tribute to the Blues Brothers celebrates the sound and style of the cult that has grown up around the two formidable characters of Jake and Elwood, created by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi on the American television programme Saturday Night Live and the subsequent movie The Blues Brothers.

This stage show had its roots in some 'blues brothers' inspired concerts that Tony McCormick and his band The Funk Skunks did in the late 1980s in Brighton. Then, fresh from their acclaimed run in the West End musical Blood Brothers, the actors Con O’Neil and Warwick Evans joined in, playing the roles of Jake and Elwood, and together they an evening's show that was first performed as a one-off performance in early 1991 at the Hampstead Theatre in London. Thankfully the show was well received and the show, directed by David Leland, opened at the Whitehall Theatre (now Trafalgar Studios 1) in August 1991.

Following the hugely successful original West End run at the Whitehall Theatre, Dan Aykroyd and Judy Belushi-Pisano, wife of John Belushi, requested that the above-named show be deemed The Official Tribute to the Blues Brothers.