Musicals

The Top 10 Shows I Want to See Next

  1. An American in Paris (Dominion Theatre) – A beautiful Gershwin musical that is the talk of the West End, which I cannot wait to see in May!
  2. Mamma Mia (Novello Theatre) – This is a long running show, but I am still yet to see it. I love the film, and all of ABBA’s classic songs, so I think this show would be very entertaining.
  3. Motown the Musical (Shaftesbury Theatre)
  4. School of Rock (New London Theatre)
  5. The Girls (Phoenix Theatre) – After their stunning Olivier Awards performance, I would love to see this show written by Gary Barlow.
  6. Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre)
  7. Hamilton (Victoria Palace Theatre) – Who doesn’t want to see this smash hit musical?
  8. Judy! (Arts Theatre)
  9. The Book of Mormon (Prince of Wale’s Theatre)
  10. Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (Duke of York’s Theatre)
  11. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 and 2 (Palace Theatre) – Technically, this makes my list a top 11, but I couldn’t not include this play that was highly praised at the Olivier Awards!

I hope this list has given any theatergoers some inspiration (if you’re looking for an idea of what to see next). Of course there are tonnes of amazing musicals and plays in London and on tour right now, and this list names but a few. Let me know what shows you’ve seen recently (ones you’ve enjoyed, or even ones you didn’t).

What to get a Musical Lover for Christmas

As Christmas is fast approaching, I’ve created a list of gifts that I think would be perfect for theatre lovers:

Product Details ‘Straight Outta Rehearsal’ bag https://www.amazon.co.uk/HippoWarehouse-Straight-Rehearsal-Shopping-litres/dp/B01HDGDGAO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478897755&sr=8-1&keywords=theatre+gifts

Product Details ‘Straight Outta The Theatre’ Jumper

https://www.amazon.co.uk/HippoWarehouse-Straight-Theatre-sweatshirt-pullover/dp/B01MXFYKE4/ref=sr_1_35?ie=UTF8&qid=1478898009&sr=8-35&keywords=theatre+gifts

Product DetailsNecklace

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Novelty-Necklaces-Pendants/Theatre-Pendant-Necklace-Pewter-Supplied/B0041HCZEC/ref=sr_1_57?ie=UTF8&qid=1478898091&sr=8-57&keywords=theatre+gifts

Product Details Mug

https://www.amazon.co.uk/CafePress-Spontaneous-Singer-Unique-Coffee/dp/B00F53DBA8/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1478898444&sr=8-8&keywords=musical+theatre+gifts

 

Product Details‘Musicals: The Definitive Illustrated Story’ Book

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Musicals-Definitive-Illustrated-Story-DK/0241214564/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1478898558&sr=8-9&keywords=musical+theatre+gifts

Product Details Hamilton Calendar (2017)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hamilton-Wall-Calendar-Universe-Publishing/dp/0789332183/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1478898558&sr=8-13&keywords=musical+theatre+gifts

Singin’ in the Rain wall sticker

Product Details https://www.amazon.co.uk/Singin-Rain-MEDIUM-STICKERS-Medium/dp/B00MN7NC3K/ref=sr_1_72?ie=UTF8&qid=1478898747&sr=8-72&keywords=musical+theatre+gifts

Product DetailsFramed Wizard of Oz print

https://www.amazon.co.uk/THEATRE-MUSICAL-WIZARD-BROADWAY-F12X6574/dp/B00XC5ZICU/ref=sr_1_234?ie=UTF8&qid=1478899101&sr=8-234&keywords=musical+theatre+gifts

 

 

Musical ‘Wish list’

As we are now approaching 2017, I’ve seen a few shows catch my eye recently that I would love to see. The last performance I saw in the theatre was The Phantom of the Opera (which was incredible) and so now I’m compiling a list of all the other shows I’d like to see. Some have been running in the West End for a while, and others are newer shows, so if you’re looking for an evenings entertainment I hope this will give you some ideas:

  1. Hamilton. Everyone is talking about this musical, and thankfully it is coming to London in 2017 (it may be impossible to get tickets, but this show about the history of American politics is definitely one to watch).
  2. Rent. There is a touring production of Rent that may be on its way to a theatre near you soon, so keep a look out (their recording of Seasons of Love was released on their social media and the cast sound fantastic).
  3. Dream Girls. Starring one of my favourite actress’ (Amber Riley) I’m so excited to see this show because the music is incredible and with a cast that talented, it’s going to be a great show.
  4. Mamma Mia. I find it strange that I haven’t already seen this smash hit musical, but as I’m in love with the film and the soundtrack, I think this fun filled show will be a must see for me next year.
  5. School of Rock. This musical recently opened, and as a Lloyd-Webber fan who loves the original film, I think I would definitely enjoy this show.
  6. Side show. With a very limited run, you’ll have to get in quick to see this one, but I think it will be worth it (it features some great songs such as I Will Never Leave You and Come Look at the Freaks).
  7. The Book of Mormon. Again, I’m not sure why I still haven’t seen this show. It’s soundtrack is brilliant, and I think it would be hilarious and enjoyable to watch.

Let me know if you’ve seen any of these shows and what you thought of them. Also, if there’s any shows on your theatre wish list that you think other people should know about, you can also let me know in the comments.

 

Paloma ‘Passionately Hates Musicals’

As The Voice UK returned to our screens this evening, I decided to watch the show as usual. I was sad that Tom Jones would no longer be a judge, but I was looking forward to seeing what Paloma Faith and Boy George would bring to the series. So far, I love Boy George, and I’m surprised that more acts haven’t chosen him as their mentor. Paloma was hilarious and seemed lovely, but then she made a statement that really upset me. 

Obviously, as a musical lover myself I am biased. I’m a musical theatre student who has loved performing since I was 2 years old in my ballet classes, so it’s difficult to express my views on her comments in a neutral manner. I am not annoyed that she doesn’t like musicals, because I understand and know that many people in the world share that same opinion. As a judge on a talent show, and a professional musician, I felt that Paloma made a statement that was very unprofessional. Many talented people who work in the same industry as herself have worked in musical theatre, including one of her fellow judges (Boy George, who has written a musical). By saying that she “hates all musicals with a passion” she is insulting the careers of many other professional artists and musicians, which shows a huge lack of respect for a huge genre of music. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion; but when hopefuls are auditioning for a TV show, and one of the judges slates the music they have chosen to perform, they are going to feel upset and that they were perhaps not successful in the process because of their taste in music. 

As I previously mentioned, I don’t have a problem with anyone disliking musical theatre, but there is a difference between stating that it’s not your cup of tea and saying that you ‘hate it with a passion’. As it is an opinion, you have to state that personally you have other interests, and not that you hate it and think that it’s terrible. I think the way she so casually insulted a huge worldwide industry, which is very closely related to the industry that she works in, was disgusting and her thoughts should have been voiced differently. Let’s not forget that Paloma herself was in the cast recording of ‘Finding Neverland’, and yes you guessed it, that is a musical. She then proceeded to take to Twitter, where she replied to tweets about her claiming that she ‘loves Grease and Rocky Horror’. I think this was simply an attempt to shield herself from the huge amount of angry viewers that thought she should have been more careful with her words. 

The performers and the vocalists in musicals are incredibly talented people, most of which have spent years and all of their savings training so that they can do what they love. For Paloma to degrade this art form in such a bold way was very shocking, as musical theatre is a huge part of a lot of people’s personal and professional lives. 

Would she have slated other genres and styles of music in this way? Jazz? Country? Blues? No. So I don’t see why she was allowed to tear down a form of artistic expression that is just as valuable as the female pop industry. 

   
    
   

Theatre Bucket List

Firstly, thank you so much for getting my blog to just over 1,000 views, I’m over the moon! It may not seem like a lot, but I have not even had this blog for a year yet, so I think it’s progressing pretty well.

Also I would like more suggestions and requests for posts people would like me to write, so you can send these to me at: justamusicalgal@gmail.com
Or on Twitter: @justamusicalgal

Another little update before I begin this post properly, I now have Instagram! Follow me at: @justamusicalgal for more regular updates.

So most people have some kind of idea of a list of things they want to do in their life. So, here is my take on a theatre/performers bucket list:

1) Be in a West End/Broadway/Professional show (Status: incomplete)

2) Train at a top theatre school (Status: incomplete)

3) Be a character at Disneyland, or a performer in their parades and shows (Status: incomplete)

4) Be signed to an agency (Status: I used to be, but I decided to leave to focus on school)

5) Be in a television drama (Status: I was once an extra in a BBC drama called What Remains)

6) Be in a film (Status: incomplete)

7) Release a Musical Hits CD (Status: incomplete)

8) Be in a famous musical e.g. Les Miserables (Status: incomplete)

9) Be on an original cast recording (Status: incomplete)

10) Be nominated for/win an award, or be invited to an awards ceremony e.g. The Olivier Awards

Let me know any more that you would add to my list, or if you have indeed achieved any of these goals.

J Is For January

First of all, happy new year! Thank you for just over 900 views, I know my posts aren’t that regular at the moment but I’m hoping to update my blog more often this year. So, here is my list of J themed favourites for this month:

1) Jersey Boys
Currently playing at the Piccadilly Theatre, Jersey Boys tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. I have wanted to see this musical for a really long time, as I love the soundtrack and have read excellent reviews of the show. This is on my list of must sees for this year, so fingers crossed I’ll get to see it!

2) Jesus Christ Superstar
I’ve had the soundtrack of this show on constant repeat since the new year began, and I’d have to say it’s definitely my current favourite CD. So if you’ve never listened to it before, then I’d highly recommend it.

3) Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
This is one of my all time favourite musicals. I own the soundtrack featuring Jason Donovan, and I love every single song in the show. Sadly I saw it years ago so I can’t remember too much about what it looked like, so I’m hoping a new production of it will crop up soon.

4) The Jungle Book
This was my favourite Disney film when I was little, and still is to this day. I think this is one of Disney’s best ever films, and I would love to see a musical version of this one day!

5) James Corden and Johnny Depp
The Into the Woods film has been in cinemas for a while now, and I still haven’t seen it, so I’m still really looking forward to it. I’ve heard very positive reviews, especially ones about James Corden’s role in the movie, so this is a must see for this year.

6) Gypsy (not quite a j, but close enough)
The Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of Gypsy is due to transfer to the Savoy Theatre in the West End in April, along with the incredible Imelda Staunton continuing her run as Momma Rose.
This will be the first time gypsy has been seen in London for 40 years, and I hope it doesn’t sell out too quickly as this is something I would really love to see! Definitely on my list of must sees for this year.

Audience Members: Take Note

Yesterday evening I went to see Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre in London’s West End, and it was amazing! The cast were all extremely talented, the music was of course amazing and I can’t even begin to count the number of times I got goosebumps, it was so moving (I cried several times), the set was beautiful and so well thought out, the helicopter was spectacular and overall it was an amazing show.

IMG_5972-0.JPG

However, I am quite short, and I happened to be sat behind a particularly tall man. Now don’t get me wrong, they stager the seating very well in theatres, but our height combination just didn’t add up. Having said that, I would have been able to see perfectly if he had been sitting up straight. As theatre goers will be aware, seats are arranged so people have a gap to look through (in between the two people in front of them). But, this man decided to lean to his right throughout the entire show so he could talk to his partner. This meant that I had to lean the other way so that I could actually see the stage, but as I’m quite small I don’t think this caused problems for anyone behind me.

Even though I did manage to lean far enough over to be able to view the performance, it got me thinking about things that audience members should consider. Things that they should know are okay to do, and things which are not. So, here’s a list of 5 things I think audience members should not do when at the theatre:

1) Eating during the interval is perfectly acceptable, I mean they do serve refreshments at the theatre after all. But, when there is an emotional and intense moment happening on stage and someone behind you is unwrapping a sweet, it can ruin and distract from the masterpiece in front of you. So please, eat before the show starts, and during the interval. But as soon as act 2 starts, please for everyone’s sake, put it away.

2) Using your phone. Fair enough, check your messages just before the show starts or during the interval. However when the overture starts your phone should be switched off. It can be very off putting to see a bright screen shining out of the corner of your eye, and it’s very disrespectful to those on stage who have worked hard to perform for you. Also, if you have paid a lot of money for your ticket, why text through the whole show? Make the most of it, you can use your phone anytime you want, but don’t waste the opportunity to watch the show you have come to see.

3) Please do not talk the whole way through the show. I think this one speaks for itself. It’s rude and distracting, so please save your comments for the interval and the end of the show.

4) Please sit properly in your seat, unless you have a specific reason why you cannot do so. I discussed my annoyance for this earlier, so I think you get the picture now.

5) You should always check how long the interval is, and keep track of the time. There is nothing more annoying than being ready for the start of act 2, the curtain going up again, and then having to stand up to let someone in your row back in. It blocks the view of those behind you, and disturbs all those around you. Just be sure to make it back to your seat in good time before act 2 begins, and then no one will complain.

But aside from all of this, do give standing ovations to shows that deserve it, do be polite and respectful to other audience members, do clap at the end of every song, do read the programme thoroughly, and do enjoy the experience. Going to the theatre is supposed to be an enjoyable thing to do, so don’t spoil it for others.

West End and Broadway Halloween Style

So Halloween is fast approaching, so I thought I’d share some musical villains you could dress up as on October 31st! Of course there are plenty of Disney villains who would make perfect costumes (some will be featured here), but I’m taking more of a West End and Broadway approach.

1) One of the Cell Block Tango Wives from Chicago (this is what I dressed up as last year)

2) Scar from The Lion King

3) The Wicked Witch of the West or the East from The Wizard of Oz

4) Inspector Javert from Les Miserables

5) The Phantom from The Phantom of the Opera

6) Sweeney Todd, Judge Turpin or Mrs Lovett from Sweeney Todd

7) A flying monkey from Wicked/ and or The Wizard of Oz

8) Miss Trunchbull from Matilda

9) Bill Sykes or Mr Bumble from Oliver

10) Bernado from West Side Story (or any of The Sharks)

11) The Scorpions, ChaCha or Rizzo (although she isn’t a villain, she is a very negative character) from Grease

12) Jafar from Aladdin

13) Joseph’s brothers from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat

14) Killer Queen from We Will Rock You

15) Lucy the Slut from Avenue Q

16) Lord Faquaad from Shrek

17) Madame Morrible from Wicked

18) Miss Hannigan from Annie

19) Roxie Hart from Chicago

20) Sharpay and Ryan Evans from High School Musical

21) The Thenardiers from Les Miserables

22) The Wizard of Oz from Wicked

And of course there are many more, but those are just a few of my favourites. This year I am going to a Heroes and Villains Disney/Musical Theatre party, and a friend and I are going as Maleficent and Aurora. I will post pictures of my costume on my twitter account which is @justamusicalgal
Happy Halloween!

School Musicals

School musicals. Love them or hate them, they happen every year. They give some talented students a chance to practice and improve their skills, and they give false hope to those who are cast “because everyone has to have a part”. But is the casting process in these shows realistic? Is it fair? We shall see.

In many schools it is a case of the older ones get the best parts, and the younger ones are usually just chorus members. “It’s their last show”, “You’ll get your chance when you’re older”, “They have more experience”. Yeah, right. This is not always the case. I understand that it may be their last performance with the school, but if they are not as talented as someone in one of the younger years, why should they be given the lead over them?

As a child I got fairly good parts, but I was usually an understudy who would be asked to fill in for a lead who was ill at the last minute. I was constantly told that I’d get my chance when I was older. And finally in primary school, I got into year 6 (the oldest year in the school) and I thought it was my time to shine. But no. That year they decided a year 4 should have the lead, as it is unfair to keep giving them to the older ones. Typical.

Then in secondary school, I was always a principal chorus member. Also, I continued to understudy leads, and as I mentioned on my blog before had to step in last year as Frenchy in Grease. And this year the production is Moulin Rouge, and I desperately wanted to be Satine. When I looked at the cast list it was the same as every year. The sixth form (the top of the school) were cast as the leads, and although I got a good part it was not what I had hoped for.

The other sad thing about these decisions is when you know you would work harder than whoever got the part over you, but the teachers just can’t seem to see that.

As well as this, some schools have started casting couples in the main romantic roles because they think it will be less awkward for them. Come on! It’s acting, people need to get over it.

Basically, it should be like a professional production. Whoever is the most talented, should be the lead characters, end of. Forget age, relationship status and other factors, the bottom line is the show will only be good if you cast the most talented kids. And if that means the youngest child in the show gets the lead then so what, they will do a much better job.

I’m sorry I haven’t written a blog post in so long, I’ve just had lots of school work to do recently, but I should be posting more regularly again soon. I’m in a play next week, so I may post about that, so watch this space.

The Understudy

It’s been a long time since my last post , as I have been so busy lately, but I’m back!

Anyway, one of the things I’ve been busy with was a production of Grease. I auditioned last year, but as I was doing another show (so I couldn’t commit to all the rehearsals), I was in the chorus. But then my other show finished, and Grease was pushed back a few months because it wasn’t finished. I was a cheerleader and it was a lot of fun, but I was given the job of being an understudy to all the female roles in the production. I was thrilled, but at the same time I knew no one would drop out so I didn’t think anymore of it.

Then the day before the show’s first matinee, one of the cast members sustained an injury. I was asked to step in at the last minute, so I learned the show in a few hours, and I got to play Frenchy.

I was really excited and nervous about the opportunity, but all I could think about was the poor girl who hurt herself.

On the night of the second show, we were having our microphones fitted, when the girl I took over from walked in. I took one look at her, and burst into tears and ran off.

I didn’t think I would react like that, because I hadn’t done anything wrong. I think I felt bad because she had worked so hard on the show, and she was probably really looking forward to it.

She was really nice about the whole thing, and I really appreciated that. She watched the show that night, and I just couldn’t look at her. I felt awful, and there was nothing I could do.

It got me thinking how tough it must be for understudies professionally. I mean, they probably feel like the second best option, and that’s not a nice feeling. Also they must feel bad for whoever they’re taking over from.

As well as this, they may hardly ever get to play the role at all, when they have spent just as much time learning the show as the actual cast member. So either way, it can make you feel upset.

Or you could look at it as a positive, as you still have a job, and you’re helping out when the show is in need. Also the cast member is probably relieved to know they have a reliable understudy, so really it must be an odd situation to be in.

This is all what I have assumed from the experience I had, so please correct me if I’m wrong.

After this I think understudies do not get enough credit for what they do, and that is a great shame. Every time I go to the theatre and it is announced an understudy is performing I think how incredible they are, and how I would never have noticed they weren’t the actual cast member themselves!

Jeffrey Tambor:
“My part had three lines. I said, ‘You look wonderful, sir,’ three times. All my friends said, ‘Do not take that role – and do not understudy. You’ll regret it the rest of your life.’ I did both of those things, and I’ve never regretted it once.”

Jon Cryer:
“I’ve been mistaken for a lot of people. Often for Matthew Broderick. I tell people not to feel bad. One of my first jobs was to be Matthew Broderick’s understudy. I was paid to look like him.”

In my opinion, understudies are heroes. Heroes waiting in the wings, to save the day.