Musical on Miami Showband massacre

The Miami Showband.
The Miami Showband.

The tragic story of the Miami Showband massacre is to be the focus of a new musical play.

The UVF attempted to plant a bomb in the band’s minibus in 1975 in Co Down, but when it went off prematurely they opened fire, killing three of the band,

Lead singer Fran O’Toole, guitarist Tony Geraghty and trumpeter Brian McCoy were shot dead on the country road after a gig in Banbridge, Co Down.

Singer Des Lee and guitarist Stephen Travers survived being shot.

In an interview with the Irish News, award-winning and prolific playwright Marie Jones said she and her writing partner Martin Lynch are working on a musical play based on the life of the famed showband.

It is due to open at Belfast’s Grand Opera House in 2019.

Although ostensibly an inappropriate topic for a musical, she said, it was requested by one of the survivors – saxophonist Des McAlea, also known as Des Lee.

“Survivor Des Lee approached Martin and asked for their story to be told – from beginning to end,” Ms Jones said.

“It is done sensitively, but they were five guys in a band, on the road together, so there is humour too.”