Who wants to be a millionaire?

High Society FLyerI'm next on stage in High Society - which features the song Who wants to be a Millionaire, along with True Love and You're Sensational, Now You has Jazz and Well, Did you Evah? If you like Cole Porter's musical style this might appeal.

The plot centres on wealthy, elegant and priggish socialite Tracy Lord, who is about to embark on her second marriage, to an equally priggish but rich businessman, when her ex-husband C. K. Dexter Haven turns up to disrupt the proceedings and try and win her back.  Additional comic complications arise when tabloid reporter Mike Connor appears on the scene and immediately falls for the bride to be –and she for him! As the day of the wedding approaches we're left guessing which of the three men Tracy will choose!

Based on the hit film starring Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly and Celest Holm which itself was based on an earlier play - SIMADS is doing the London version of this show - so a slightly different jukebox of that from the broadway version.   The London version was in fact rather more successful than the first run broadway outing.  The West End production opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre on February 25, 1987 and ran for 420 performances. It starred Trevor Eve (Dexter), Stephen Rea (Mike), Angela Richards (Liz), Natasha Richardson (Tracy) and Ronald Fraser (Uncle Willie); the director was Richard Eyre

I'm playing Dexter Haven - which is the role Bing Crosby took in the film

High Society will be at The Burgess Hall, One Leisure, St Ives, from April 10 –12, 2014. Evening performances are at 7.30 pm, with a Saturday matinee at 2.30 pm.

Tickets for High Society are £12 (£10 concessions) and will be on sale from  20 January, 2014, online via Ticketsource or through the SIMADS box office .



Thoroughly Modern

I'm on stage first week of November in Thoroughly Modern Millie.   This show won the Tony award for best musical in 2002.  So despite many people thinking its based on the - rather dated - 1967 film with Julie Andrews its quite different.  For a start all bar one of the songs were new in the musical, and its funnier.   

Thoroughly Modern Millie tells the story of young Millie Dillmount, who has just moved to the city in search of a new life for herself. It’s a New York full of intrigue and jazz - a time when women were entering the workforce and the rules of love and social behavior were changing forever.   Millie samples the "thoroughly modern" flapper life, makes friends, finds unexpected romance and nearly gets caught up in a white slavery ring.  Oh and I'm playing Jimmy Smith.

SIMADS are presenting the show at the Burgess Hall, St Ives, between 6 November and 9th November.   Directed by Scott Andrews,  with Musical Director Alana Thackray.

Book your tickets here http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/41193 



Leapin' Lizards!

SIMADS AnnieI'm on stage with SIMADS production of Annie next week at the Burgess Hall in St Ives, playing Warbucks.    The show is on at the Burgess Hall in St Ives from Tuesday 23rd to Saturday 27th April.   The matinee is already sold out, but there are some tickets left for all the other performances.   Full details including the ability to book online are on SIMADS website - at www.simads.co.uk

Annie is a Broadway musical based upon a popular comic strip Little Orphan Annie (from which the title of this post derives) with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and the book by Thomas Meehan. The original Broadway production opened in 1977 and ran for nearly six years, setting a record for the Alvin Theatre.  It spawned numerous productions in many countries, as well as national tours, and won the Tony Award for Best Musical.  The musical's songs "Tomorrow" and "Hard-Knock Life" are among its most popular musical numbers.

Those who know the story might spot some resonances with today's economic troubles amongst the story of the 11 year old orphan.     The story takes place during the recession - and during one scene President Franklin Roosevelt holds a cabinet meeting.  Warbucks joins him along with Annie - who sings to him and inspires the "new deal".   Perhaps I should send a personal invitation to George Osborne?   If he can't make it perhaps he'd like to watch the video below as inspiration for his next budget?



An ear full of cider...

I'm on stage next week as Sky Masterson in SIMADs production of Guys & Dolls. Tuesday 29th to Thursday 31st May at 7.30pm. It was the 5th longest running broadway musical of the 1950s with 1,200 performances, and won the Tony Award for best musical in 1952.

Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando starred in the original 1955 film version. I've found it interesting to company the differences between film and stages versions while rehearsing. Much of the dialogue is changed, sometime for better sometimes for worse, but sometimes puzzlingly for no apparent reason. Also there are extra song's to give Frank Sinatra more to sing - his character Nathan Detroit having fewer songs in the stage version. Ironically Brando, not the strongest singer, got the best songs.

The show is full of great music. Most Rogers and Hammerstein musicals feature loads of repetition of the songs - I was struck by this recently when I saw Pied Pipers excellent production at the ADC in Cambridge last month. In contrast Guys & Dolls has enough original music for two of their shows - or five Lloyd Webber? Apparently the composer Frank Loesser did suggest reprises of the songs in act two and George Kaufman the director retorted if you reprise the songs we'll reprise the jokes.

Cider in your ear is a reference to Sky's story to Nathan of the outcome of losing an ill conceived bet.

H.M.S. Pinafore sets sail in St Ives

According to a first night review in The Daily News on 27th may 1878  "the piece seems likely to have a long run".   And here we are still performing HMS Pinafore nearly 133 years later.   Actually the Times was a bit snooty about it, and felt Sullivan could do much better than wasting his time on comic opera with Mr Gilbert.   Which just does to show you can't beleive everything you read in the newspapers. 

I'm on stage next week - 7th to 9th April in St Ives - as Ralph Rackstraw in SIMADs production of HMS Pinafore.   Full details and booking here www.simads.co.uk

We are not gentlemen of Japan

Another plug for a musical event.   I am in the cast for CaOS Centenary production  of The Mikado, in the Cambridge Arts Theatre 15th to 20th  November.    For those who expect a traditional production - you might be disappointed.  No doubt the society did something traditional for its first production in 1910 but this time we have an "innovative" young director and a very different slant on the show.  This will be a Mikado such as you have never seen before.    Have a look at the synopsis on the theatre website.     As you can see we are not gentlemen of Japan.  


Production team this year James Hurley - Director and "Tommy" Thomas as Musical Director.

Have a look at the Cambridge Evening News review, or Local Secrets, or Agenda 



Faure_5 I'm delighted to have been asked to join Balsham Singers again for their latest concert.  This is being held this Saturday 15th May at 7.30pm in Balsham Parish church. 

This time I'm performing in the Faure Requeim.   It is an attractive program also including Faure's Cantique de Jean Racine, and Tavener's Song for Athene alongside works by Boyle and Parry.

Anything Goes

Another plug for a musical.   I will to be on stage at the end of April - 28 April to 1 May -  with SIMADS in Anything Goes.   Poster copy  

It is a  good show with great music by Cole Porter, and its funny - the book was originally by P G Wodehouse.   

One small irony which I am enjoying is that as one of the few non-Englishmen in the cast I am playing the only Englishman in the dramatis personae.

Fiddler on the Roof

Another musical post.   Cambridge Operatic are back at the Arts Theatre this year after a years exile in the Corn Exchange.    This year we are doing Fiddler on the Roof.  FiddlerIts a really good show, and hopefully popular, although I'm not sure I agree with the theatre's description of it as a story guaranteed to warm your heart. 

We have a strong cast and a strong new creative team led by our new Director Niki Samer and our regular MD Tommy Thomas.   Niki comes to us having recently finished a stint as Resident Director for the national tour of Witches of Eastwick.     I have a small cameo part as Mendel the Rabbi's son - but don't let that put you off coming to see the show!    And in something of a first for CaOS we also have a fight director.    Alas as the Rabbi's son I miss out on the fighting as I am escorting my esteemed progenitor to safety.

The show runs from Monday 23rd November to Saturday 28th November.  Full details and booking via the Arts Theatre.

The slave of duty........

Another post about singing.     I'm off to Penzance once again to play Frederick in Pirates of Penzance with SIMADS- in St Ives (Cambridgeshire not Cornwall).    Curtain up 1 April and the run continues until 4 April, at the Burgess Hall in St Ives.    Another events page with more details here.

Sharon_Lake_Cath_mont Our Friday night show will be exactly 129 years to the day since the show opened at the Opera Comiquein London in 1880, although it did famously open first in New York on 31 December the year before with one performance only in Paignton on the 30th December to secure the copyright.     All this to deter piracy in America.

The first time I did Pirates was in late February - in a leap year!  Needless to say there was some surprise extra business that Frederick was subjected to on the 29th.   Hopefully that won't happen this year despite the fact the we open on April fools day!

PS for those of you not sad enough to know the alternative titles of the G&S shows, The Slave of Duty is the alternate title for Pirates, and refers to Frederick, who proclaims himself to be the slave of duty in the opening scene.