How many superstitions do you believe?
It’s bad luck to throw a hat on a bed. Thirteen is an unlucky number. But are separated twins cursed to die on the day they learn the truth about their birth?
Of course not, but it sure makes for some great theater. Willy Russell based his smash-hit West End production of Blood Brothers on this ancient superstition.
The Savannah Community Theatre will present Blood Brothers in several performances beginning Sept. 14. The production will feature professional actor Andy Meeks as a guest artist.
Meeks has a passion for Blood Brothers, especially his own character, a boy separated from his twin at birth. “Their mother can’t afford to keep them,” Meeks says. “She already has seven children.
“The woman she works for can’t have children,” he says. “They agree that he’ll grow up and have a fantastic life there, and the mother will get to watch him grow up.”
But of course, things don’t work out that way and the adoptive mother eventually sends the birth mother away. “She becomes obsessive and jealous,” Meeks says.
So the brothers grow up in entirely different worlds. “One has a distinct Cockney accent, and the other is very proper and thinks anything that’s bad or dirty is just smashing,” Meeks says.
The two brothers first meet at age 7 when they play together. “They realize they have the same birthday, and think that’s so neat that they become blood brothers,” Meeks says.
Their lives are intertwined until the very end. “The underlying story through the whole show is foreshadowed,” Meeks says. “The narrator guides the audience through all the superstitions, and you watch what happens and how it happens.”
Although the brothers die, the ending is as moving as it is tragic, Meeks says. “It is an amazing, emotional, beautiful ending,” he says. “Everyone who sees this show loves it.”
Tom Coleman III is directing the show. Five years ago, he directed a production of Blood Brothers at the University of Georgia.
“Andy did the role for me,” Coleman says. “When I was going to cast the show, I looked for guys I knew could do it. It’s a very demanding role.
“Andy plays ‘Mickey,’ and Ricky Hogue, a guy I worked with four or five years ago, plays ‘Eddie’, the other brother.”
The musical has been a huge hit in London for decades. “It’s not just fluff,” Coleman says. “It’s one of those long-running events you should see at least once in a lifetime.”
Meeks says he enjoyed working with Coleman on Blood Brothers. “It was our first time working together, before I started my professional career,” he says. “It’s one of my top three favorite shows ever.”
Meeks put together a production of Blood Brothers in Atlanta and was eager to repeat the role again. “I’ve only been to Savannah once to visit, and I’m really looking forward to coming back,” he says.
The audience knows right from the start that the brothers die. “Most of the time when you leave the theater, you’re happy,” Meeks says. “With Blood Brothers, you’re not necessarily happy, but you are touched.’
Meeks was born and raised in Atlanta. After college, he went to Los Angeles and appeared on soap operas and in musical theater productions.
Today, he lives in Roswell with his wife, Lori. “She’s been my best friend since we were 7,” he says. “Her parents went to school with my parents.”
Recently, Meeks played the lead role in a national touring company production of Rent. “I’d never been to New York,” he says. “I found an audition for Rent, so I flew to New York and auditioned. I’d like to go back and do the show again. I’m not excited about living in New York City, but I would like to go on tour again.”
Lori will join her husband in Savannah. “Next to Rent, this is her favorite show,” Meeks says.
Are you a twin? Then Savannah Community Theatre has a deal for you, thanks to publicist Mary Ann Goldman.
“Any set of twins who comes gets in two for one,” she says.
Savannah Community Theatre presents the musical Blood Brothers Sept. 14, 15, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 and 30 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 23 and 30 at 3 p.m. The theatre is located at 2160 E. Victory Dr. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for seniors, and at Sunday matinees, children and students are admitted for $15. Twins with ID admitted two for one. Call 898-9021 or visit savannahcommunitytheatre.com.