It has been a massive year for platinum selling writing duo Rick Guard and Phil Rice after their debut musical ‘Stop the Train’ steamrolled its way towards success.
The musical is a life affirming and uplifting dark comedy that follows a group of workers on a busy commuter train who have their dreams and ambitions awakened by the unorthodox behaviour of a mysterious passenger.
And now Guard, from Chorley and Rice, from Leyland are in negotiations to take the show on a national tour after it received rave reviews after a tour of Lancashire at theatres in Burnley, Clitheroe, Preston, Blackburn, Lytham and Oswaldtwistle.
From the very beginning of the musical’s journey Rick and Phil had a TV crew following their every move as the musical is set to be the subject of a Channel Four TV programme.
The documentary has been produced by BAFTA & EMMY award winning documentary maker Chris Swann and will chart the progress of a fledgling musical from its very beginnings in Lancashire to London’s West End.
Getting the musical to the West End is the writing duo’s dream and former St Michael’s CE high school, Chorley pupil Rick revealed how his and Phil’s journey to international stardom started in a physcology lecture at Leyland based Runshaw College.
He said: “I started singing at school, I was in all the choirs and in bands from the age of 15.I met Phil Rice at Runshaw and we have worked together since we were 17. We were both in the same psychology a-level lecture.
“We got chatting in the lecture and we went into the music rooms the next day and started making music.It was pretty awful! But that is how you learn.
“We went our separate ways when we were at university but we reunited afterwards. We did start a band together and waited best part of nine years to get a record deal.
“We spent five or six years travelling around most of the world - everywhere other than America.But we have always wanted to write a musical.
“If all goes to plan it should be on the West End in two years.”
Rick is an English contemporary jazz singer and songwriter and the 2002 song he wrote with Phil “Stop It (I Like It!)” reached number five in the Spanish charts and was a Top 20 hit in 10 other countries.
And Rick, who is now based in Ribchester, says they always knew they would write music.
He said: “I think we always knew that whatever we did we would write music.
“We really did try hard, sending songs to people, writing for other people and Russell Watson’s manager got in touch.
“He liked the music and we ended up getting a record deal.
“We got a big hit in South Africa and when we found out it was incredible.
“But most recently the best thing has been the reaction to the musical.
“The big goal is to get this musical into the West End.
“We want to make music that when I’m pushing up daises will still be considered quality.”
Rick and Phil both live in Lancashire and sourced a lot of their cast for the musical from the North West.
He said: ““I have got a little son called Cosmo and we moved here one day before he was born we moved to Ribchester.
“It is just a beautiful little place.
“Phil is not far away in Chorley and we often get together in the studio.
“Both Phil and I have partners who understand and are very supportive.”