Willy Russell



  • (1947 - ) British dramatist and songwriter,born and brought up in Liverpool. After leaving school, Russell becamea ladies' hairdresser, an experience to which he ascribes his abilityto write convincingly for women. He later went to college as a maturestudent and became a schoolteacher. His first work to be performedwas a musical about the Beatles, John Paul George Ringo...andBert (1974), which opened at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpoolbefore transferring to London and New York. A subsequent two-characterplay, Educating Rita (1980), reflected his own struggle toacquire an education long after leaving school. His one-woman showShirley Valentine (1988), about the self-discovery of a frustratedworking-class Liverpool woman, was also shown at the Everyman beforetransferring to London and Broadway. Like Educating Rita, this wouldbecome a successful film. Russell's Blood Brothers (1983), a musicalreworking of Boucicault's The Corsican Brothers, has now beenrunning in the West End for over 20 years. Since completing the musicalDancing Through the Dark (1989) he has concentrated on writing fiction.