Globe columnist Peter Grant talks to Bob Eaton who is bringing Maggie May to the Royal Court ...

SHE is part of Merseyside folklore and was given recognition the by the Beatles on their Let it Be album.

Welcome Maggie May.

Bob Eaton gave us the world-wide hit Lennon at the Everyman and has enjoyed creative success at theatres from the Coventry Belgrade to the London Bubble and Liverpool's Royal Court.

He has worked on more than 80 productions from Merseyside to New York and Hong Kong.

Now a freelance operator, Bob took time off from rehearsals to tell the Globe about the brand new, much-awaited musical arriving this week.

Bob has a stellar accomplished team of actors to work with – eleven in all - including local favourites Tom Connor, Michael Fletcher. Christine Tedders in the title role.

Derbyshire-born Bob is buzzing about this brand new musical not to be confused with the Alun Owen and Lionel Bart 1964 West End version.

Reflecting on a career spanning more than 50 years Bob says: "'Maggie May' is probably the best thing I have ever done."

And that's quite a promising preview from this occasional actor but top-notch writer and much-in-demand director who trained in drama at the University of Manchester from 1968-71.

Bob pioneered the 'cast-playing musical' with his award-winning 'Lennon' at the Everyman in 1981.

An innovative creative first where all the actors played the instruments.

"I am proud of that achievement," says the ever-relaxed Bob who has celebrated his 70th birthday.

"It led on to inspire musicals such as Buddy."

So, Bob, why have you turned to Maggie May for your latest creation?

He says, over a birthday cocktail: "I had wanted to do this ten years ago round about the Capital of Culture celebrations but the time just wasn't right.

"Timing has to be right for me – it’s right now.

"I had chats with local historian Frank Carlyle, who took me to places where the character of Maggie May would have gone.

"Maggie is an Irish girl with her heart set on a new life in New York but her nightmare actually begins in Liverpool where she is waylaid, loses her bag and all her worldly goods.

"To earn money she goes into domestic service but she is seduced by her employer and things turn even worse for Ms May.

"She is trapped in a world where a young woman has the odds stacked up against her. She has to grow up ... and grow up fast."

Maggie becomes a prostitute but her dreams of the Big Apple is never far from her thoughts.

It is set in 1911 and the years after the First World War.

Bob has relished all the research..

He is a veteran of critically-acclaimed musicals and will again collaborate with music partner and co-lyricist Sayan Kent and is optimistic that it will appeal to all ages with its live music from ultra talented actor-musicians.

It is strong on comedy but not in the all-out Royal Court tradition of Bob's other directorial successes Brick Up The Mersey Tunnels - Parts 1 and 2.

Liverpool is a second home to Bob and he is looking forward to more projects at the 80-year-old Royal Court next year.

He has worked on 20 shows there over the past seven years and is full of praise for everyone who works there notably supportive executive producer Kevin Fearon.

Bob himself has a solid reputation for getting the best out of his cast and versatile crew ... and audiences.

'Maggie May' is clearly a labour of love for Bob who won't pigeon- hole the type of music in his latest show.

"I love pop music, folk music and rock and roll music.

"My shows are often about a particular historical time in a very particular place."

For now, Bob wants to put the record straight about his latest production.

"When I said I was doing 'Maggie May' many people said 'Oh, Rod Stewart ...'

‘‘No it's NOT that Maggie. This is the original Mersey Maggie.’’

Maggie May – the Musical is at Royal Court Theatre from this Friday, October 12 to November 10.

Tickets from the box office on 0151 79 4321.