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WINDS OF CHANGE: Darius Danesh Is Rhett Butler at the New London Theatre


Darius KADIVAR reports from Europe


©Darius Danesh & & New London Theater
& photocomposition ©DK



" Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn! "

-          Clark Gable famous tagline as Rhett Butler in Victor Fleming's Gone With the Wind (1939) - British Iranian Darius Danesh has been cast as 'Rhett Butler' in Trevor Nunn's musical production of Margaret Mitchell's classic novel, Gone With The Wind, which opens at the New London Theatre 22 April 2008, following previews from 4 April - booking (*) to 27 Sep 2008. He joins Jill Paice (Scarlett O'Hara), Madeleine Worrall (Melanie), and Edward Baker-Duly (Ashley Wilkes).


Danesh was born in Glasgow and educated at Glasgow Academy. He then went on to study English and Philosophy at Edinburgh University. His father, Dr. Booth Danesh, is Iranian and his mother, Dr. Avril Danesh, is Scottish. He has two younger brothers; all three were named after Persian Kings. Danesh's professional career began playing a ten-year-old Trojan boy in the Scottish Opera's avant garde 1990s production of The Trojans. As a teenager he then toured with the Scottish Opera in a critically acclaimed production of Carmen. After performing at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, Darius faced the first of many career cross-roads. He chose to return to his studies in lieu of training his rich baritone voice for an Operatic career. While studying English Literature at Edinburgh University, a chance audition and promise of a record deal led Darius to fame on the television show Popstars. He reached the final stages, and in 2001 auditioned for Pop Idol, where his voice was compared to that of Frank Sinatra. He won over the British public and critics, millions voted for him and he became the "Under Dog" favorite for the Pop Idol title. Although Will Young went on to claim the Pop Idol title, Darius went on to have success on his own terms.In the summer of 2002, Colourblind became Darius' first number one single and that Christmas, his self-penned album Dive In went platinum. In 2006 he ended a second West End run in the musical Chicago playing Billy Flynn at the Adelphi Theatre and 2007 saw him star as Sky Masterson in Michael Grandage's production of Guys and Dolls.

Iranian Scotsman Darius Danesh has Revisited some

Broadway Classics like Chicago and Guys & Dolls also brought to screen.
Jill Paice (Scarlett O'Hara) at the London Theatre

© Darius Danesh & & photocomposition ©DK



Today the 27-year-old singer Danesh is stepping into the role made famous by Clark Gable in the 1939 film. The stage version is one of the most eagerly anticipated shows in London this year this will be his biggest role to date.

"It doesn't seem real - I'm over the moon," he told the Standard from Los Angeles, where he lives with actress and model Natasha Henstridge, star of Species.

"Just being asked to audition for Trevor Nunn was such a privilege. He's a master of Shakespeare and of musicals and of all that he touches. I knew he had at his disposal the cream of the crop to open his show. It was an ambition of mine to work with him and I can't believe that ambition is being fulfilled at the age of 27. I'm very excited." Memories of Gable were the biggest challenge, he admitted.


"It's such a loved work of art in celluloid and one of the greatest love stories of all time," said Darius. "Rhett is such a wonderful and funny and charming alpha male, as well as a bit of a brute and rough diamond."


Trevor Nunn, former director of the National Theatre, said: "I don't get time to watch a great deal of television so when I first saw Darius at a casting session he was new to me. He came through the most rigorous audition process I have ever conducted."


Vivien Leigh's Classic Hairdo and Wardrobe became fashionable

worldwide as well as for Iran's aristocracy
© & pictory



The novel Gone with the Wind upon which the film and current musical is based on was first published in 1936 by Margaret Mitchell set in the Old South during the American Civil War and Reconstruction, It told a story of the Civil War and its aftermath from a white Southern point of view. The novel won the 1937 Pulitzer Prize and was adapted into a stage musical entitled Scarlett. It is the only novel by Mitchell published during her lifetime. The novel is one of the most popular books of all time, selling more than 28 million copies. Over the years, the novel has also been analyzed for its symbolism and mythological treatment of archetypes. The Screen adaptation of Mitchell's novel made film history upon its release in 1939 it was directed by Victor Fleming. The epic film which was set in the American South in and around the time of the Civil War, starred Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland. It was awarded ten Academy Awards, a record that would stand for years. It has been named by the American Film Institute as number four among the top 100 American films of all time. It has sold more tickets than any other film in history. Today it is considered one of the most popular and greatest films of all time, and one of the most enduring symbols of the golden age of Hollywood.


The 1939 Hollywood classic ©



Set in 1860's Atlanta, Georgia, Gone with the Wind follows the story of the seventeen-year-old Scarlett O'Hara, the eldest of three daughters living a life of luxury on their father's plantation. But then President Lincoln demands the end of slavery in the South and the Civil War begins. Scarlett's incredible journey through both the war and the peace is mirrored in her turbulent relationship with Rhett Butler, whose actions always defy prediction. Their story spans ten years and mingles romantic ecstasy with tragic grief, as the life these people once knew disappears, for better or worse: gone with the wind.


It is interesting to note that Darius Danesh is the second Iranian Diaspora actor/singer in Britain to take on the leading role in a musical on the London Stage, the other being the equally talented Ramin Karimloo currently playing the lead in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera at London's Her Majesty's Theater.


Darius' Challenge of the Year:
Replace a Hollywood Legend Clark Gable

©imdb & Darius Danesh

Walking in the shoes of Clark Gable will certainly be a tough yet exciting challenge for the rising Scottish Iranian Pop Star who will certainly bring a fresh new outlook on one of the most celebrated epic novels and glorified movies of the 20th century. However his maturity, talent and undeniable class is certain to seduce the British audience at large.








Authors Notes:


Official Website and MySpace Website of Darius Danesh.


(*) Gone With The Wind Musical previews at the New London Theatre, Drury Lane, London, WC2,  GB from 4 April. Reserve or Buy Tickets here.


The cast also includes Natasha Yvette Williams (Mammy), Jina Burrows (Prissy), Emily Bryant, Gareth Chart, Laura Checkley, Julian Forsyth, Kirsty Hoiles, Chris Jarman, Tober Reilly, David Roberts, Tom Sellwood, Ray Shell, Savannah Stevenson, Gemma Sutton, Sue Jane Tanner, Susan Tracy, Alan Winner.


Recommended Watching:


Watch Trailer of 1939 classic film Gone with the Wind
Gone with the Wind Premiere in 1939


Recommended Readings:


Co Star Jill Paice on her role as Scarlett O'Hara by Louis Jury (Evening Standard)

A Persian Phantom Unmasked by Darius KADIVAR

Iranian Diaspora Artists/writers in Great Britain:

In The Arena With Omid Djalili by Darius KADIVAR

KILLSHOT: Hossein Amini and Quentin Tarantino's New Pulp Movie by Darius KADIVAR

Tony Nourmand's Golden Eye by Darius KADIVAR 

Doris Lessing: A daughter of Kermanshah Nobelized by Darius KADIVAR


Howard Lee, author of bestseller children's novel Jamshid and the lost Mountain of Light by Darius KADIVAR 

Iranian Diaspora Music:

Sultan of My Heart: Monika Jalili and Noorsaaz's remembrance of things past ... by Darius KADIVAR

An Axis of Joy: Noorsaaz Band Triumphs In Paris by Darius KADIVAR

Kiarostami Gets Operatic by Darius KADIVAR
French-Iranian director Robert Hossein revives Epic Tale of Ben Hur with Father Aminollah's Music Score by Darius KADIVAR

Persian Fiddler Lights Up Paris by Darius KADIVAR

When Giants Meet:Googoosh Greets Shahbanou Farah in NY Concert by Darius KADIVAR

Musical Ode to Cyrus the Great by Darius KADIVAR
Xerxes, the opera by Cyrus KADIVAR (

Persepolis Music Score Released in France by Darius KADIVAR

Teheran Mon Amour: Music Score of French-Russian film by Darius KADIVAR

Ramin's Hollywood Music Scores by Darius KADIVAR

Persian Fiddler Lights Up Paris by Darius KADIVAR

When Giants Meet:Googoosh Greets Shahbanou Farah in NY Concert by Darius KADIVAR

Persepolis Music Score Released in France by Darius KADIVAR

Teheran Mon Amour: Music Score of French-Russian film by Darius KADIVAR

Ramin's Hollywood Music Scores by Darius KADIVAR 


About the Author: Darius KADIVAR is a Freelance Journalist, Film Historian, and Media Consultant. He is international Correspondent for OCPC Magazine and contributes to the IC publications of The Middle East. and Persian Heritage.

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