We won’t be heros

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A global music conglomerate has stopped a Queenstown showbiz stalwart taking her David Bowie-inspired musical on the road. 

Universal Music Publishing Australia – which handles superstar Bowie’s catalogue in Australia and New Zealand – has put the mockers on Queenstowner Margaret O’Hanlon’s plans to tour the production. 

O’Hanlon wrote and starred in original musical Rock and Roll Suicide – inspired by the rocker’s hit songs. It had a three-night season in Arrowtown in October and she’d planned to take the sell-out show to Invercargill, Dunedin and other southern towns this year. 

Initially, the Australasian Performing Rights Association turned O’Hanlon down – so she emailed Bowie’s New York-based Eileen d’Arcy for help. 

O’Hanlon’s email says: “I seriously cannot believe that your office or Mr Bowie could possibly be that concerned with such a small matter. On the off chance that we have somehow offended Mr Bowie, I thought I might check with you before I try to contest their decision.” 

O’Hanlon got a response from Universal creative licensing boss Adam Moore, saying her email plea to D’Arcy had been forwarded to him and the denial to use Bowie’s songs “still stands”. 

“We presented the proposal to the US for consideration and after careful consideration, the request was respectfully declined. 

“The permission was denied by the publisher’s business affairs department in New York, not David Bowie. It is a business decision, nothing else,” Moore writes. 

A disappointed O’Hanlon replies: “It is reassuring to know your decision is a business decision and not a creative one. Disappointing, of course, for us, as the desire to create the show is purely creative.”