Six, the wildly popular new West End musical, is currently wowing audiences at the Arts Theatre in Leicester Square. Above this theatre, there is a little-known venue aptly called Above the Arts. It’s a relaxed setting with some stylish artwork, a small bar, some sofas and typically plays host to cabaret acts. On a Saturday afternoon, Amy Lovatt graced the stage with her very first concert, ‘I’d Rather Be Me’. The set opened with a playful rendition of Poor Unfortunate Souls and included many musical theatre fan favourites including songs from The Last Five Years, Miss Saigon and Little Shop of Horrors.
The West End is starting to play host to a collection of musical theatre productions which celebrate a variety of women. This includes shows such as Six, Caroline or Change, Tina Turner the Musical and the incoming productions of Waitress and 9 to 5. I least expected for this celebration to extend to the revival of the musical Company. Company, a Sondheim classic, which was originally written to centre around a male bachelor, Bobby. But in this revival, it centres around a single lady, Bobbie. And it works, brilliantly. The show, written almost 50 years ago now, provides a sophisticated insight into the modern-day woman and feels as fresh as if it was written today.
It’s a shame that this biopic didn’t quite reach the heights that I wanted it to, to rightly honour this legendary music group. However it does offer lots of enjoyable musical performances, the standout being the recreation of Queen’s 1985 Live Aid performance in the third act. My main hope is that this film introduces Queen’s music to a new generation of people who may not be familiar with their work.
#NewSongsSunday – The series where I go on a mission to discover new cast recordings to add to my favourites. I’ll search far and wide to discover musical cast recordings which for whatever haven’t received much love and see if they are any good.
Saturday 19th November 2016 marked the first night of previews for the first ever West End production of Dreamgirls. This musical follows the journey of an all female African-American singing group and their attempt to find fame in the US Music Industry during the 60s and 70s. Although I have mixed feelings about seeing preview performances, I found myself with two front row tickets for the night and could not turn down the opportunity. I was impressed by how slick the show was for its first night; the big set and costume changes went smoothly and there were no obvious mishaps. However as the show is not locked down yet, I will give my quick first thoughts now, but intend to re-visit it after the show officially opens in December.
It was such a treat to see the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra presents the Best of Broadway; a one-night only live performance of well-known musical theatre numbers. This included some of my personal favourites such as the Circle of Life from the Lion King and Kander and Ebb’s Chicago Overture. If I were to dissect what I love most about seeing a good musical, it would be listening to a full orchestra perform a score. However woefully in many theatres today, it is rare to have a full orchestra in the pit. So to hear an outstanding orchestra fill the grand Royal Albert Hall with delicious melodies made my heart swell.