I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle
I Capture the Castle based on the novel by Dodie Smith Book and lyrics Teresa Howard music Steven Edis

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Youth Music Theatre

On Thursday night at the Actors' Centre the BML Librettists Workshop have a guest speaker - Jon Bromwich, the General Manager of the Youth Music Theatre.  YMT is a national company (with offices in London and Edinburgh) offering wonderful opportunities for young people to stage new music theatre all over the UK. They get the chance to work with some of the most talented and passionate artistic professionals from within the music theatre industry in the UK and around the world.  It promises to be an interesting and informative talk, especially as this company give new musical theatre writers a platform to create large shows for young people.

Monday, 22 November 2010

The Best Panto in London

Steve Edis is writing the music  for the Hackney panto Jack and the Beanstalk, which opens to previews on 27th November and the press night is 2nd December. 

As always the panto promises to be a smash-hit Christmas cracker, especially as the great Clive Rowe will be performing as the dame. It is written and directed by Susie McKenna, with music by Steven Edis and design by Lotte Collett.

***** The Best Panto in London The Guardian
Join Jack and the gang for another Hackney Empire extravaganza filled with all your panto favourites. Come and see the singing harp, the golden hen, the giant of all giants and not forgetting Buttercup... the break dancing cow.
***** The Perfect Panto Evening Standard
Packed with spectacle, mayhem, comedy and brilliant music, Hackney Empire's twelfth London pantomime is a must-see this Christmas.

The Invisible Man

On Friday I went to a preview of the Invisible Man, at the Menier Chocolate Factory.  It is adapted from HG Wells classic novel by Ken Hill, directed by Ian Talbot.  Steve Edis wrote the rousing music hall music and is also the MD.  It was a stupendous night of riotous music hall fun with that strange Wells metaphor hovering in the background.  I do urge people to go and see it.  The cast is brilliant, especially the fabulous Maria Friedman who plays Mrs Hall and the hysterically funny Natalie Casey who plays Millie.  The press night is Wednesday 24th November.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Kate Weston and Nick Quinn

After members of the BML Librettists Workshop discovered that I used to be an agent I started getting enquiries about adaptation rights.   I suggested to Neil Marcus at MMD that we should invite some agents to come and share their knowledge with members and the BML.  Tonight I will be interviewing agents Kate Weston from Janet Fillingham Associates and Nick Quinn from The Agency to do just that.   I think it will be a very interesting evening, especially as these two agents handle the work of lyricists, librettists and composers.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Two Temple Place

It looks as if the Pre-Raphaelites are the flavour of the year in 2011.   As well as the extensive exhibition at the V & A there is also another exhibition planned for next October featuring William Morris and his work.

A new gallery to showcase art from the UK regional collections is being created at Lord Astor's old mansion - Two Temple Place.  The beautiful Neo Renaissance style mansion was built in 1895 and is now owned by the Bulldog Trust.  The inaugural show in October 2011 will feature the work of William Morris from the collection at the William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow, while it closes for refurbishment.  The Gallery at Walthamstow was threatened with closure but managed to gain a £1.5 millian grant from the Lottery Fund towards refurbishment and extension.  David Barrie, the former director of the Art Fund is the curatorial advisor for the Two Temple Place exhibition.  The show will be free

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Chicago Muse

The Chicago Muse has put out a search for new musicals and so I have sent off the libretto and a CD of POSSESSED.

The Chicago Muse, used to be called The Theatre Building Chicago and I first heard about it when John Sparks, who was the Artistic Director, came over to London and did some masterclasses at the Old Vic.  I submitted Possessed in its embryonic form and John was really helpful.  I remember one very specific change I made to the lyrics of a song - it was called "Bitter Sea" and John told me that bitter was both a difficult word to sing and also not a very good emotion to be putting over in a song.  I spent a lot of time thinking about this and the song is now called "Hungry Sea" which fitted perfectly with the imagery that was already inherent in the lyrics.

Chicago Muse have completely changed the structure of the Theatre organisation and opened with a new show called THE STORY OF MY LIFE, a musical by Neil Bartram (music & lyrics) and Brian Hill (book).

John Sparks was not at all happy with the sale of the Theatre to a private investment company and wrote an article about it in the Chicago Time Out earlier in the year.  Here is a link to his piece about it.

But it looks as if the theatre has re-invented itself and I wish them all the best of luck with it, especially as they are now firmly concentrating on musicals.

The interesting aspect of the decision making process for shows at the theatre now is that once the board have narrowed down the list of scripts that interest them they then give them to the members of the Reading Committee, which is a paid membership program intended to foster the shared involvement of both theatre professionals and patrons. All Chicago Muse members have a voice and are not just subscribers. While subscribers buy, members belong and are able to be a part of the decision making process at the theatre. 

I wonder whether the subscription idea would be a good way to go with regional theatre in the UK, now that the Arts Council are no longer going to be playing much of a part in funding in the future.