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

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Soho Song Cycle

Mercury Musical Developments is going from strength to strength - the new Soho Song Cycle that previewed last night was a perfect gem!  There is something very special about watching a song cycle about a place and then walking out into the night to the very place that all the songs were about.  Soho is of course one of my favourite haunts in the West End.

Andrew Brinded was chosen by MMD to create a book for the song cycle, so that the songs had a framework, he also created a blue print for the characters he wanted songs about.  There were some wonderful songs by well known writers like Styles and Drew (I Wish, I Wish), Tim Sutton (Saturday Night In), Alexander S Bermange (It's Hard to be an Artist) as well as some beautiful songs by new writers - especially Self Respect by Christopher Ash and Carl Miller (about Monica and her gay lover Ronnie Kray) and Andrew Brinded's own poignant song -Sarah's Song.   Both Self Respect and Sarah's song were sung by the glorious Claire Moore.  The rest of the cast were Michael Cantwell, Niamh Perry and James Gillan.  It was a really strong cast taking us on the Soho journey through the wild and wonderful lives that that graced our city streets.

There was excellent direction from Simon Greiff and MD Sarah Travis drove the show forward with complete brilliance and artistry with the fabulous guitarist John Gregson at her side!

It is only on until 3rd March and really must not be missed - you can go straight to the Soho Ticket page here

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Our Father premier at Watford Palace Theatre

Anna O'Grady and Faye Winter in Charlotte Keatley's Our Father

Watford Palace Theatre invite Steve and I to all the press nights of shows they have produced.  On Tuesday 21st February we went to see the opening of Charlotte Keatley's new play Our Father.   This was an exciting and ambitious play by the writer of "My Mother Said I Never Should" - produced by Contact Theatre in 1987 directed by Brigid Larmour and 1989 at the Royal Court  - named by the National Theatre as one of the most significant plays of the 20th Century, and translated into 23 languages.  It was good to see Charlotte Keatley back with this harrowing play that takes you down beneath the surface of life.  It was directed beautifully by Brigid Larmour, with delicacy and with a great respect for the writers landscape.

I love what Charlotte said about her writing - that she creates a map with her work and shows it to people.  Lots of producers look at it and just don't believe her but she showed it to Brigid and Brigid not only believed her, she went on the journey with her.

One of the most powerful images from the play was the idea of a drowned village under the reservoir which is slowly emerging as the water dries up.  Water ran through the play and trickled into every crevice - it transformed - gushing, drowning, hiding, nurturing, threatening - a continual presence.

There was a dedicated strong cast:  Paul Greenwood, Chris Kelham, Anna O'Grady, Julia St John and Faye Winter.  Both Anna O'Grady and Chris Kelham had been in Watford's Time of My Life and Family Business, which I had seen last year.

The movement Director Shona Morris had also worked on My Mother Said with Brigid and will be working on the movement for our workshop in March.  There is something stylised about this play and movement was important, Shona did a wonderful job helping to make that happen.  The designer Adam Wiltshire had created something very exciting with the set of this play, as an audience you kept discovering new aspects to it as the play progressed.

If you want to find out more about the production the theatre website has some really interesting information HERE

There is only one more week to see Our Father at Watford Palace Theatre - it runs until 3rd March.  Book tickets through the theatre HERE

Thursday, 23 February 2012

JK Rowling's Favourite Books

Yesterday in the Times newspaper Daisy Greenwell wrote a piece called AUTHORS AND THE BOOKS THEY LOVED AS KIDS.  This is what JK Rowling said:

“When I was a child, I would read anything. My favourite books were I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, The Little White Horse and E. Nesbit. Her children are very real, and she was quite a groundbreaker in her day.”

Friday, 17 February 2012

World Book Night!

I have just received an email from World Book Night telling me that I will be giving away 20 copies of I CAPTURE THE CASTLE on April 23rd!!

Alternating Hats

I'm nowhere near Finishing the Hat yet, instead I am alternating hats - between being a writer and a producer.  Half the working day is spent calling producers and sending out emails inviting them to come to the showcase and the other half is spent working on a new song and amendments to the book.  I find the easiest way to change gear is to go for a walk.  My nearest park is the Horniman Gardens.  Luckily there are no swings in it and so during the day in the week there are not many people out for a walk and you can sing undisturbed while tramping through the undergrowth.  Walking and working on the beginning of a song is often really helpful - perhaps it is something to do with the rhythm of your stride and being outside where there is no limitation.  I have spoken to a number of lyricists and many of them say the same.

(Finishing the Hat is a book written by Stephen Sondheim about his lyric writing!)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Søren Møller and MJ Chung illuminate new musical landscape in Denmark and Asia

I went to an absolutely fascinating MMD (Mercury Musical Developments) talk last night chaired by Neil Marcus with MJ Chung and Søren Møller  talking about the musical theatre in Denmark, Korea, China and Japan.   Jennifer Toksvig was on her laptop making notes of the whole event so I expect you will be able to read up on it properly on the MMD site at a later date.

We all huddled into one of RADA's basement studios and were given a brief incite into these burgeoning musical theatre markets.

Søren Møller is from Fredericia Teater Denmark and the principal at Det Danske Musicalakademi.  The Frederica Teater is putting on plenty of new musicals (some by european writers) as well as new translations of all the well known shows Like Avenue Q, High School Musical and Cabaret.  Stiles and Drew's musical The Three Musketeers was translated into Danish and produced there - much to the writers delight.   

The  theatre is attracting some big names in the musical theatre world to go out and work with them including: Victoria Clark, Stephen Schwartz, Andrew Lippa, Jason Robert Brown, Judy Kuhn, Susan Schulman, Marcia Milgrom Dodge, John Bucchino, Michael John LaChiusa.  Søren explained that every show is produced anew in Denmark, nothing is replicated.  I naturally invited him to our showcase!

MJ Chung, who I know from the BML Workshop, was a font of knowledge about the musical theatre world in Korea, China and Japan.  MJ is a multi-talented person, a translator of all the biggest musicals - from English to Korean as well as having worked as a producer and dramaturg in Korea and the UK.  

MJ has written an ebook called the International Trends in Co-Production Manual with Judith Staines and Sophie Travers.  This is something everyone in the theatre should read.

In Asia, as well as Denmark every european show is translated and a completely new production is created.    There are openings for European writers in Asia, sometimes from the creation stage upwards.

We spent time discussing how very important translators are, especially for lyric translation which can sometimes be extremely difficult with languages like Korean.  

This is the sort of evening that MMD is so brilliant at!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Showcase Venue Confirmed

We have now confirmed the venue for our London workshop showcase as the Grand Saloon at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.  This is the wonderful old theatre where Shrek, the musical is playing - which I thought was rather apt!

This is a private showcase, by invitation only, because seating is limited.