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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 October, 2003, 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK
Ono gives Lennon musical the nod
John Lennon
About 30 of Lennon's songs will be used in the musical
John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono has given the go-ahead for a Broadway musical based on late husband's life and work.

The show, tentatively titled The Lennon Project, will be set in the 1960s and 70s and will feature 12 actors playing Lennon at different stages of his life.

It is being planned for the 2004-2005 Broadway season and about 30 of Lennon's songs are expected to be used.

Ono said: "His message of love and peace is very, very important - especially now".

She gave the musical her blessing in order to "again give people insight, encouragement, inspiration and fun", she said.

Producer Don Scardino said: "Our project is the story of Lennon as a lighting rod and how he defined the times and how the times defined him."

Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono has created a new video for a Lennon DVD
Fellow producer Edgar Lansbury said they were negotiating with Sony for the rights to Give Peace A Chance.

Lennon recorded the song with the Plastic Ono Band but which is credited to Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Lennon's life has been portrayed on the stage several times before, in shows including Lennon, Imagine and One Night Only.

And a number of other hit musicals have been based on other stars the world of rock and pop.

Mamma Mia, which features the music of Abba, has been a hit both in the West End and New York, while Queen, Billy Joel and Madness have also had the musical treatment.

Tonight's The Night, featuring Rod Stewart songs, has just begun previewing in the West End.

'Harrowing' DVD

Meanwhile, Ono has created a new video to accompany the Lennon classic Happy Xmas (War Is Over), to be featured on a new DVD chronicling Lennon's solo career.

The clip features footage from around the world, including the collapse of the World Trade Center and shots from the recent Iraqi war, as well as harrowing images of starving children and youngsters with guns.

Ono has admitted that the video is "strong stuff", but added that "John would have wanted it that way. It was important that his message should come through".

The DVD, Lennon Legend, is released on 27 October, and features 20 tracks as well as previously unseen footage of the couple.

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