Six years after her death at the age of 27, Amy Winehouse’s family is still collecting money off her fame, this time in the form of a West End musical that will feature her most popular songs.
Mitch Winehouse, Amy’s father, announced during the Amy Winehouse Foundation Gala last week that “a musical celebrating her life and music is being talked about for the near future.” According to The Sun:
“It is something I’d really like to happen and I’ve said I’m happy for it to go ahead.
“It would be for the West End. We want to do something that remembers Amy for what she was, there’s so much more to her than just the drugs and the alcohol.”
In Amy, the 2015 documentary that examines her life in wincing detail, Mitch Winehouse comes off as borderline villainous, exploiting his struggling daughter by bringing along a camera crew on what was supposed to be a restorative trip to St. Lucia. He later explained himself by suggesting that the “documentary” he was filming, called My Daughter Amy, wasn’t a craven money-grab, but an attempt to help:
The reality show that you refer to was a documentary that I made concerning the problems families face with addiction. Amy knew that and was happy to take part. Again the film shows something completely different.
Winehouse may have died due to drugs and alcohol, but what made her memorable was her smoky, transcendent voice, freighted with pain but tied to an effulgent personality and intuitive jazz sensibility that conspired to make her a pop sensation. The drama of her life may have captivated the world, but her struggles were, if anything, an impediment to her stardom, not its root.
Mitch’s assertion that anyone, especially in the glow of retrospect, sees his daughter as a mere drug addict suggests that he never understood her power in the first place. The Sun notes that the musical will give Amy’s family “a chance to play a role in telling her story,” so it will be interesting to see what “her story” means to him.
This isn’t the first time Winehouse’s life has been teased for the stage. In 2012, Mitch put the kibosh on a Danish production, also called Amy, after he denied the theater permission to use his daughter’s image or songs.
“It will be like any of these unauthorised biographies that are made about her,” he told Yahoo! News at the time. “They’re only interested in making money and nothing else bothers them…I think it will be a load of rubbish.”