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The Guildford School of Acting’s final-year student Courtney Bowman claimed the £1,000 first prize in The Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year competition, held at the Novello Theatre on Sunday 15th May. Courtney’s Sondheim song of choice was “Me and My Town”, reprising her role of corrupt Mayoress Cora Hoover from GSA’s production of Anyone Can Whistle in June 2015.
Runner-up was Eleanor Jackson, a final-year student at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, who sang “Sunday in the Park with George” from Sunday in the Park with George and claimed a £500 cheque.
In the Stiles + Drewe Prize – divided into two parts this year – the £1,000 Best New Song award went to Tim Connor’s “Back to School”, and winner of the much-coveted MTI Mentorship award was composer/lyricist Darren Clark and book writer Rhys Jennings for Wicker Husband. Student Ashley Reyes, who sang Tim’s winning song, also received a £100 bonus prize.
The Stephen Sondheim Society Presents… continues at the Phoenix Artist Club in London’s West End with three new guests, and Aaron Clingham on the piano. Returning as host is Tim McArthur, who wowed the audience last month with his carefully programmed cabaret and his powerful singing. The Stephen Sondheim Society Presents… is a monthly cabaret slot at the Phoenix Artist Club, situated beneath the Phoenix Theatre in the heart of London’s Theatreland. The cabarets are designed to showcase emerging and established talent in London and beyond, and to celebrate the work of Stephen Sondheim. In addition, we’re also looking to support new musical-theatre writing. The cabarets are also designed to reward finalists from The Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year competition.
The consistently reliable Rose and Crown in Walthamstow works its magic again, turning its attention to a little-known Cole Porter show and covering it with almost enough glitter and glitz to hide the cracks in the book.
Out of this World opened on Broadway in 1950 and was one of Porter’s last shows written for the stage. The source material – the Greek myth of Amphitryon as dramatised by Plautus – was given a modern-day reinterpretation by Dwight Taylor and Reginald Lawrence. Porter provided the music and lyrics, and while the songs were much enjoyed at the time (although none becoming a hit) it was the book – seen as too vulgar and rambling – that brought the show to an early close after just 157 performances.
The Curtain Up Show is a weekly radio show on Resonance 104.4fm presented by Tim McArthur and produced by Nathan Matthews. Every year before the Olivier Awards the show invites nominees to come into the Theatre Cafe on Shaftesbury Avenue for a chat. This year stars from Mrs. Henderson Presents, In the Heights, Hand to God and Guys and Dolls were interviewed and theatre gurus Terri Paddock and Mark Shenton were on hand to give their predictions of the likely winners.
Whilst in Paris recently I was able to go on backstage tours, to see areas not normally open to the public, of two great Paris Opera houses, Palais Garnier (famous for the Phantom!) and Le Chatelet.
The Palais Garnier is a 1,979-seat opera house, which was built between 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera and Le Chatelet was built between 1860 and 1862. Originally with 3,000 seats, it has undergone remodelling and name changes over the years. Currently it seats 2,500 people.
Photography was strictly forbidden backstage but I was able to take shots of the lush interiors.
Mercury Musical Developments and Musical Theatre Network are proud to present BEAM:2016 at Park Theatre, London on 8th – 9th March 2016. This showcase will encourage and develop musical theatre across the UK, identifying and supporting innovation, connecting practitioners and finding champions for original work.
BEAM is a collaboration between Musical Theatre Network and Mercury Musical Developments and is a key part of both organisations’ mission to support the development of new musical theatre. It is both a two day showcase event, preceded by a series of pitching days through which new work and artists are identified. The showcase combines live pitches and book-in-hand presentations of new work from artists and venues around the UK. There will also be panel discussions, provocations, networking, two Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation masterclasses and installations/digital displays. Work for this showcase will be selected via a series of pitching days taking place in regional venues across the UK, and which will also help foster a