AN ORIGINAL play about tragic Scots child star Lena Zavaroni is to be given a world premiere in the town where she was born.

Seen through the eyes of her father, Victor, the story of Zavaroni will be staged for the first time at the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock next month, before touring next year.

Born in 1963, Zavaroni became an overnight sensation after she appeared on a TV talent show when she was just 10-years-old. She became the youngest person to have an album in the UK Top Ten with Ma! (He’s Making Eyes at Me) and went on to sing with Frank Sinatra at a charity show and performed at the White House for US President Gerald Ford.

She was given her own TV show, but began to suffer from anorexia nervosa, with her weight at one point dropping to just four stone.

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As an adult, her career went downhill. After her marriage broke up, she died of pneumonia in 1999, following an operation aimed at trying to alleviate severe depression.

Director Leslie Finlay said the new play celebrated her “extraordinary” talent.

“For me, Lena is the story of an iconic Scottish singer who exploded onto our screens and took the UK and world by storm with her extraordinary voice,” she said.

“The story of an ordinary family with an extraordinarily gifted daughter, we take the audience through drama and songs on an emotional roller coaster ride – from success and fame, to heartbreak and tragedy, it ultimately celebrates Lena’s extraordinary talent.”

Written by Bafta and Olivier award-winner Tim Whitnall, Lena stars Erin Armstrong, who plays Cassie Perez in Shetland, and Jon Culshaw, whose credits include Dead Ringers and The Impressionist Show

“I think the play represents a golden chance to bring Lena’s incredible talents and her powerful story to a new audience, as well as those who remember her fondly, as I do,” said Whitnall.

“It also explores subjects that certainly resonate today, perhaps even more so than they did in Lena’s time, given the advent of social media and a seemingly never-ending obsession with celebrity culture.”

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HE added: “I really want our audiences to place themselves in the driving seat; asking them to consider how they would feel if it was their daughter, or son – themselves, even – who was suddenly offered the world as Lena was.”

The play features Zavaroni’s hits, including Ma! He’s Making Eyes At Me, Roses and Rainbows, and (You’ve Got) Personality.

Producer Anna Murphy said: “Having grown up in Glasgow, Lena Zavaroni was always someone I was fascinated by, both her story and her amazing talent, and would dream of bringing her to a new audience. With the support of Creative Scotland and the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock, where Lena was born, I’ve now been able to realise that dream.”

Lena will premiere at the Beacon Arts Centre from March 16-19, 2022, before touring in 2023