Life in the limelight for mogul of the musicals

David King took a risk and decided the show must go on. Sarah Freeman meets the man on a mission to bring musicals to the masses.

 At first glance, David King had the perfect springboard for a career in entertainment.

Born in Leeds to a father who was a music hall comedian and a mother who had danced professionally, while he was still in short trousers he was proficient enough on the piano to regularly perform in classical concerts.

“By the time I was growing up my parents had both retired from the stage and were running a shop, but music was always part of my life,” he says. “At weekends, my uncles and cousins would all come to my parent’s house and we’d play old time rag music. I’d be on the piano, someone else would get out a ukelele and there would be someone else on the clarinet. We’d basically put on an entire show.

“My sister Wendy was a cabaret star and as a teenager I would drive her to shows and stand at the side of the stage and watch. It was the highlight of my week.”

By the time he left Rounday School as a 15-year-old in the 1960s, music hall theatre had long since died a death and with few outlets for his talents, King set up his own stall in Kirkgate Market selling ladies’ clothing. He didn’t entirely give up on his dreams of being in the limelight and began acting as an agent to various different artists, a job which eventually took him to London. However, by the mid-1990s, with a wife and children to support he was still waiting for his big break. It came in the spring of 1996.