INXS music destined for ambitious live production headed to Broadway, West End
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INXS music destined for ambitious live production headed to Broadway, West End

An extraordinary musical milestone was reached in Australia on Wednesday, though not many people would have known about it.

That was the day our very own home-grown global supergroup INXS managed to make chart history, notching up half a million sales of its The Best Of INXS album to reach "diamond" status in Australia, something of a rarity in these days of digital streaming and one-hit wonders.

INXS, with frontman Michael Hutchence, pictured in 1997.

INXS, with frontman Michael Hutchence, pictured in 1997.Credit:AP

For INXS's long-term manager Chris Murphy, it was yet further proof that hits like Need You Tonight, Suicide Blonde, Devil Inside, Never Tear Us Part, or indeed any of their dozens of other global hits, could transcend decades and generations.

"There are not many bands from 30 years ago you can play to a 12-year-old today and get a positive reaction, but INXS can," Murphy told PS. "The BBC broadcast Live Baby Live last year, and the UK has become the best-selling market for INXS music in the world ... the time is right for the music to shine again."

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Michael Hutchence on stage in 1993.

Michael Hutchence on stage in 1993.Credit:Philip Castle

And others seem to agree. Pop sensation Dua Lipa even gave credit to the band's Andrew Farriss and late Michael Hutchence on her hit Break My Heart, which bore similarities to Need You Tonight.

Adele has recorded a version of Never Tear Us Apart, a song she told Murphy she had loved since her youth, but one she has so far refused to release, fearing she has not "done it justice".

Today PS can exclusively reveal the time is nigh for one of the most ambitious projects featuring INXS's music: a major live musical production destined for Broadway and the West End.

Murphy and global music labels Universal and Warner Chappell have signed on for the development of a stage production drawing from a catalogue of more than 200 songs recorded by INXS since the band's inception in 1977.

Murphy has teamed up with Sydney super producer Michael Cassel to develop the project, which the pair have been talking about for the past decade.

Producer Michael Cassel.

Producer Michael Cassel.Credit:Christopher Pearce

Cassel, who is bringing the mega-production Hamilton to Sydney next year, confirmed to PS that a top international writer, one who has worked on some of the biggest hits of recent years, had been enlisted to come up with a story inspired by the music.

"If all goes to plan, we could have a table reading with actors in Sydney sometime in early 2021 ... that would be our hope," Cassel told PS, indicating that opening night curtains could be lifting around a year after that.

Similar productions, such as Abba's Mamma Mia musical and Queen's We Will Rock You, have become some of the most enduring stage productions ever, generating billions of dollars in box-office revenue and introducing classic pop to an entirely new generation of fans all over the world.

"The potential for this is huge, INXS were a true global supergroup, the appeal of their music still stands today," Cassel said. "It's now a matter of coming up with a story which can draw inspiration from those songs in a new and compelling way."

Murphy added that he had spent several years to "clear the decks" when it came to preserving the legacy of INXS, and searching for a new way to ensure the band's music lives on.

Long time INXS manager Chris Murphy.

Long time INXS manager Chris Murphy.

"We couldn't just get another singer and go on the road ... again," Murphy said. "For a long time the music had been overshadowed by other things, like the constant media focus on Michael's death, rather than the beauty and creativity it gave the world. We had to do something new, something different ... and this is it."

Jacenko fails to launch on reality show

So, not so tough after all, eh?

PS hear's Sydney's publicity-seeking missile Roxy Jacenko failed to detonate on the set of Seven's new reality TV series SAS Australia, which puts a bunch of B-, C- and D-list celebrities through their paces in a mock army training camp.

Jacenko lasted just half a day on the Snowy Mountains set of the show, which premieres on Monday night and also features Schapelle Corby and Nick "Honey Badger" Cummins in its, ahem, all-star line-up.

But in that time, she was pushed out of a chopper, punched up by her bestie Candice Warner, screamed at by angry former SAS hard heads and endured at least four hours without her concealer (which she had smuggled in with her but never had the chance to actually use).

Roxy Jacenko on the set of SAS Australia.

Roxy Jacenko on the set of SAS Australia. Credit:Nigel Wright

Jacenko later blamed her early exit on having gone into the show with injuries following a nasty fall off a horse just six weeks before she was due on the SAS set in August.

"It was very challenging for me. Having fractured my hip and pelvis six weeks before departure for filming was a disaster. It meant my six-day-a-week training regime was halted immediately after putting six months into it," she revealed.

Jacenko appears to be back to her old self though, or at least judging by her Instagram feed, which is once again filled with various product endorsements and trips to the day spa.

Jones' audience dips

He spent so many years being No.1 on the radio airwaves, it is understandable that Alan Jones might be feeling a tad anxious about his television ratings as he pivots into one of Sky News's legion of angry talking heads.

Radio host turned TV host Alan Jones.

Radio host turned TV host Alan Jones.Credit:Steven Siewert

Insiders at Sky's studios report that tensions are running high as the former talkback radio king feathers his new nest, with at least one young producer being on the end of a withering spray from Jones recently, though apparently a big bunch of flowers soon mended any hurt feelings.

But there's been even more chatter about Jones' audience numbers around Sky, with some of Jones' rivals taking great delight in the knowledge he was beaten by Outback Opal Hunters over on the Discovery Channel, which pulled in 58,000 viewers.

In comparison Jones had 53,000 sets of eyeballs on that particular evening this month, well down on his stablemates Paul Murray, Sky's reigning king who ranked No.1 with 71,000 viewers; Andrew Bolt with 61,000 and even his dear old buddy Peta Credlin coming in third with 59,000.

Lord of the legal bills

Twice-bankrupt, self-styled "Lord Andrew Battenberg" (real name Andrew Charles Lee) is facing some seriously hefty legal bills after his appeal for a slice of his aunt's multimillion-dollar estate failed last week. Lord Battenberg, or "Battie" to his pals, claims to be Prince Philip’s illegitimate son. He took the titles Lord Andrew of Craigstown — which the previous holder said he had sold to him for £5000 - and Lord Leitrim. He quit Sydney in 2004.

PS called his telephone number in England, only to be told by a male voice using the royal "we" that Lord Battie "does not talk to the press".

His aunt Minnie Condon died more than three years ago, leading Battenberg to a lawsuit claiming part of the $7.6 million estate, unsuccessfully challenging a 2016 will that excluded him.

Interestingly PS had received a tip off on how to reach Battie to discover the "real story" behind the saga this week. The tipper suggested: "You will need to give a different name, use Rachel Ward, to get through security when you ring and I would suggest you say you are calling Lord Battenberg about a mobility scooter he had made enquiries about."

It didn't work.

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