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A mixture of May and musicals makes a kind of magic.

Byline: Jade Wright

IT'S Brian May, but not as we've come to know him ... Yes, the Liverpool John Moores University chancellor has flung off his ceremonial robes and he's back rocking with a new tour.

The Queen guitarist and composer is coming to the Phil to perform new arrangements of a selection of his favourite songs.

He'll be joined by singer and actress Kerry Ellis, who has garnered a reputation as one of the West End and Broadway's leading female stars - having performed in the likes of Wicked, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Oliver! and We Will Rock You.

"Kerry is now acknowledged as a phenomenon, equally at home in musical theatre and rock," says Brian.

"I was convinced from the moment we worked together on We Will Rock You, nine years ago, that she was destined to be a worldwide star.

"The challenge was to develop songs and arrangements to allow that amazing voice to reach its true potential."

Anthems The Tour will feature a unique fusion of rock and musical theatre anthems from Wicked, Chess and We Will Rock You.

The pair say they're looking forward to bringing the show to Liverpool.

"I love Liverpool," says Brian. "It has a very strong thread in my life.

"I've played in Liverpool many, many times. I loved them all - from way back in The Cavern, to just recently as Queen and Paul Rodgers.

"I think my favourite moment of all was when I played with my solo band at the Empire and we did I Wanna Hold Your Hand. It was a hairs-on-back-of-neck moment.

"The Beatles catalogue is still my Bible. I have so many favourites - Ticket to Ride, Something, Lady Madonna, Across the Universe ... " Thankfully, Kerry is a Beatles fan, too.

"Who isn''t a Beatles fan?" she laughs. "It's the same as Queen - everyone knows the music! There are so many Beatles tunes to love, but I love Strawberry Fields and everyone loves a sing-along to Hey Jude.

"I am really excited about the Liverpool show, I love the city - especially the shopping. I was in Liverpool with Miss Saigon in 2006, I think, and had a ball, great night life by the harbour and, of course, the shops."

The show itself follows a series of performances by Kerry and Brian, since stealing the show when they performed together on the Royal Variety Show in 2008.

"The Liverpool show is going to be a night of two worlds coming together the rock and theatre," says Kerry.

"It really is exciting to be able to play the album live, there will be a few surprises there, too."

Brian adds: "It''s all about bringing the songs on Kerry''s debut album to life on stage. Plus there will some surprises and, yes, a few Queen moments with a new twist."

While Brian's here, he says he won't be able to resist popping into LJMU to say hello. "Yes, I will be spending some time with my colleagues at LJMU," he says. "And some of them will be attending the show."

But balancing his academic and rock commitments comes as nothing new to Dr May.

He was partway through a PhD degree at Imperial College London, studying reflected light from interplanetary dust, when Queen became successful and he had to put his studies on hold.

More than 30 years after he started his research, in 2007 he finally completed his PhD in astrophysics, entitled A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud.

A year later, Asteroid 52665 Brianmay was named in his honour, on the suggestion of Sir Patrick Moore.

I can't resist asking him, if he could name an asteroid after any other musician, who that might be? I should have guessed. He answers without hesitation with the guitarists' guitarist: "Jimi Hendrix".

* KERRY ELLIS & Brian May perform Anthems: The Concert on May 3 at the Philharmonic Hall. Book tickets now on 0151 709 3789 or www.

liverpoolphil.com

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Brian May and Kerry Ellis - playing the Philharmonic Hall
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 22, 2011
Words:668
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