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

Monday, 24 March 2014

Musical Theatre "the uncool school"

Libby Purves talking with Richard Thomas

Above is a lovely moment from  Libby Purves and Richard Thomas "In Conversation" at the Almeida Theatre during the MTN MMD Conference on Musical Theatre on the set of 1984 - which I thought was rather amusing.

Richard is a compelling speaker, I hung on his every word, but was astonished to hear him say that musical theatre was "the uncool school".  He had gone from devising work at Battersea Arts Centre to a major name in musical theatre and opera - so I am inclined to think that it is really worth listening to him.  He is best known for writing JERRY SPRINGER THE OPERA.  Sadly, I have never seen this although I did end up smoking cigarettes in the back room of a friends house with Michael Brandon who had just been cast to play Jerry Springer at the National!

Libby Purves writes a fantastic blog Theatre Cat and clearly is entranced by Richard.  She really drew him out and it was the most amusing and interesting talk in the afternoon for me.

We also listened to Kim Poster in conversation with Jeremy Harrison (Goldsmiths), Mark Powell and Sarah Travis talking about actor musician musicals - which of course isn't a new thing at all, but somehow feels new in musical theatre.

Andy Barnes from Perfect Pitch chaired a panel talking about bringing new voices into musical theatre with Coara Bissett, Gurinder Chadha and Tim Sutton.  I was in awe of the wonderful Gurinder Chadha, who wrote Bend it like Beckham.  She is now working with Howard Goodall on a new musical!  And very excited to hear that lovely Tim Sutton is going to be MD on MEMPHIS when it comes to town with Beverley Knight - who is starring in the Bodyguard at the moment.

Neil Marcus, the executive director of MMD chaired a panel about Chamber musicals, which included Arianna Knapp, David Babani and Vicky Graham.

The conference was extremely exciting and I think Richard Thomas  was perhaps slightly wrong when he said musicals are uncool because there were so many cool people speaking.   But it looks like the way forward is with "Chamber Musicals" that cost less to put on and also for the regional theatres, London theatres and commercial producers all collaborating together  to eliminate such a fear of risk.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

MTN & MMD Annual Conference at the Almeida Theatre on Friday

So looking forward to the conference on Friday, especially because it is at the Almeida Theatre in Islington - one of my favourite theatres.

This year we have some great speakers and people hosting events including: Libby Purves, Richard Thomas, Andy Barnes, Tim Sutton, Kim Poster, Sarah Travis, David Babani and Arianna Knapp.

Some of the discussion points will be:

Bringing New Voices into Musical Theatre, Actor Musicians, and the renaissance of the "Chamber Musical".

Sarah Crook has sensibly emailed us all the list of delegates as well so we know who we'll be spending the day with.  I have been head down on my new show for the last couple of months so I think it's going to be a bit of a culture shock to be back in the world again - but it will be lovely to catch up with friends.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Rossetti's Price Tag of £7 Million!

Pandora by Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1871

I was very excited to discover that at Sotheby's Sale of British and irish Art on 22nd May 2014 a painting of Jane Morris as Pandora, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti is going to be auctioned.  It is estimated to be sold for between £5m-£7m.

What fascinated me is that the question of sex between Rossetti and William Morris's wife, Jane is still newsworthy enough to be included in articles about the sale of the painting - this is the story of our musical.

The painting was not included in the Tate Britain's landmark show about the Victorian Avante-Garde.  But the success of the show was undoubted and its subsequent travel to Washington and Moscow shows the increasing popularity of the PRB.  Simon Toll the British and Irish Art Specialist at Sotheby's said recently: "what we've noticed is that the Pre-Raphaelites have suddenly become a lot more internationalised.  We've now got a lot more interested collectors from America and Russia."

When I went off to the States to go to a show of new musical songs, which included one of our Possessed songs, I went to the Delaware Gallery and discovered that it was really only the impressionists that the American's had taken to their hearts at the turn of the Century and the Delaware Gallery was one of the few that housed Pre-Raphaelites paintings in the States.  It looks as if the tide is turning at last.  Which is good for our pre-Raphaelite show that tells the story of Jane Morris, her husband William Morris and lover Dante Gabriel Rossetti.