News Archive

Me And My Girl – the 80th anniversary – on Musical Theatre Melodies

“Musical Theatre Melodies” to be broadcast on 96.5 FM on Tuesday, 12th December will feature an 80th Anniversary tribute to Noel Gay and Douglas Furber’s “Me and My Girl”, from the 1985 London revival cast recording starring Robert Lindsay, Emma Thompson and Frank Thornton, with Susannah Fellows, Robert Longden, Roy Macready and Ursula Smith and will be introduced by London-based musical theatre historian, archivist and author, Rex Bunnett. 
 
The remainder of the programme will feature recordings by the original 1937 London cast members, Lupino Lane, Teddie St. Denis and Wallace Lupino plus a selection of Noel Gay songs from stage and screen sung by Evelyn Laye, Cicely Courtneidge, Jack Hulbert, Flanagan and Allen and George Formby, amongst others.
 
The broadcast will go “to air” between 9 – 11 p.m. EDT local Melbourne time; (= 10 a.m. – 12 noon GMT in Britain; = 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. NZDT; = 5 – 7 a.m. EST New York time; = 2 – 4 a.m. PST Los Angeles time.)

For those listening in via the Internet on 96.5 Inner FM’s website the webpage link for the Inner FM Web Radio player is http://right-click.com.au/rcPlayer2/index.php?c=innerfm or go to the Inner FM homepage at www.innerfm.org.au and follow the links from “Listen Live” on the top menu.

Musical Theatre Melodies features Androcles And The Lion

The next Musical Theatre Melodies broadcast on 96.5 FM on Tuesday, 21st November will feature a 50th Anniversary tribute to Richard Rodgers’ “Androcles and the Lion”, (based on the play by George Bernard Shaw), from the original 1967 U.S. TV cast recording starring Norman Wisdom, Ed Ames, Inga Swenson, Brian Bedford, John Cullum, Patricia Routledge and Noel Coward.
 
This will be followed by orchestral selections from Richard Rodgers’ score for the 1952 NBC-TV documentary series Victory at Sea, arranged and conducted by Robert Russell Bennett.

The broadcast will go “to air” between 9 – 11 p.m. EDT local Melbourne time; (= 10 a.m. – 12 noon GMT in Britain; = 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. NZDT; = 5 – 7 a.m. EST New York time; = 2 – 4 a.m. PST Los Angeles time.)

For those listening in via the Internet on 96.5 Inner FM’s website the webpage link for the Inner FM Web Radio player is http://right-click.com.au/rcPlayer2/index.php?c=innerfm or go to the Inner FM homepage at www.innerfm.org.au and follow the links from “Listen Live” on the top menu.

 

Frank Wildhorn’s The Scarlet Pimpernel is this week’s Musical Theatre Melodies

“Musical Theatre Melodies” broadcast on 96.5 FM on Tuesday, 7th November will feature a 20th Anniversary tribute to Frank Wildhorn and Nan Knighton’s The Scarlet Pimpernel”, (based on the novel by Baroness Orczy), from the original 1997 Broadway cast recording starring Douglas Sills, Christine Andreas and Terence Mann, with Gillies Chiasson, David Cromwell, Tim Shew, Sandy Rosenberg, Pamela Burrell, Melissa Hart and Alison Lory.  This will be  introducted from New York by the Tony and Grammy Award nominated composer* – Frank Wildhorn. 

The broadcast will go “to air” between 9 – 11 p.m. EDT local Melbourne time; (= 10 a.m. – 12 noon GMT in Britain; = 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. NZDT; = 5 – 7 a.m. EST New Yorktime; = 2 – 4 a.m. PST Los Angelestime.) 

N.B. Melbourne is now on Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time, while Britain and the U.S. have reverted to Standard Time, hence the earlier starting times elsewhere.

For those listening in via the Internet on 96.5 Inner FM’s website the webpage link for the Inner FM Web Radio player is https://right-click.com.au/rcPlayer2/index.php?c=innerfm or go to the Inner FM homepage at http://www.innerfm.org.au/ and follow the links from “Listen Live” on the top menu.

Overtures Takes You Into The Woods with Musical Theatre Melodies

The next “Musical Theatre Melodies” broadcast on 96.5 FM on Tuesday, 31st October will feature a 30th Anniversary tribute to Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods”, from the original 1987 Broadway cast recording starring Tom Aldredge, Kim Crosby, Ben Wright and Bernadette Peters. It will be introduced by New York-based theatre critic and Internet columnist* – Peter Filichia. (see bottom of article for listening details) Here we set the scene:


 

Into the Woods, is one of Stephen Sondheim’s more generally successful shows, especially in the United States.  It opened on 5 November 1987 at the Martin Beck Theatre where it ran for 765 performances.  Its London premier was not so popular.  It opened at the Phoenix Theatre on 25 September 1990 where it ran for only 197 performances covering the Christmas period.  It was Imelda Staunton’s first Sondheim venture and it won her the Best Actress in a Musical Olivier Award.

Broadway’s star was Bernadette Peters playing the Witch but, it was Joanna Gleason playing the Baker’s wife who won the Tony (the part that Staunton played in London).  London’s Witch was Julia McKenzie and she was given a new song, ‘Our little world’ sung with her daughter Rapunzel.  London’s production was a much darker piece.

Into the Woods had first seen the light of day at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California where it ran for a fifty performance season starting 4 December 1986.  It proved the piece to be workable and the next few months were spent in preparation for New York.  James Lapine wrote both the book and directed the piece so the whole was very much a collaboration between Lapine and Sondheim.

New York saw a major revival in 2002, again directed by Lapine and starring Vanessa L Williams as the Witch.  It ran for 279 performances. 

London down sized it for a season at the Donmar Warehouse in 1999 and another in the Linbury Studio at Covent Garden Opera House in 2007.  Three years later there was a six week season at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.  This production was replicated in New York in Central Park as part of the Public Theatre’s free summer theatre programme.

The show’s inspiration may show the reason why London has always been slower on this particular Sondheim show than his others.  It is a combination of many Brothers Grimm and other fairy stories, the area laid claim to by the British pantomime and therefore always associated with the Christmas period.  In particular the stories of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and the lesser known Rapunzel tale.  It was the later that introduced the childless Baker and his wife wanting to start a family.  In the show it is this tale that has the other stories inter-wound.  Perhaps the decision to make the original London production a darker piece that it was in New York was again a way to stop it being compared with a pantomime.

Both the original Broadway production and London’s Regent’s Park production were filmed and issued on DVD.

Judi Dench’s voice has twice been used as that of the Witch both in the Broadway revival and that at Regent’s Park.  Glen Close did the honours for the Central Park version.

The subject matter brought interest from Walt Disney Pictures and James Lapine adapted it for the screen with Sondheim agreeing to changes and cutting songs and changing certain lyrics to follow the altered book.  To fit the Disney mould violence was lessened and sexual indications omitted.  It was filmed at the Shepperton Studios directed by Rob Marshall.  Meryl Streep played the Witch.  It was released in 2014 and was well received taking $213 million at the box office.   Although nominated for Oscar Awards it did not receive any.

Rexton S Bunnett                                                                                            Illustrations from the Overtures Archive

The broadcast will go “to air” between 9 – 11 p.m. EDT local Melbourne time; (= 10 a.m. – 12 noon GMT in Britain; = 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. NZDT; = 6 – 8 a.m. EDT New York time; = 3 – 5 a.m. PDT Los Angeles time.)

For those listening in via the Internet on 96.5 Inner FM’s website the webpage link for the Inner FM Web Radio player is  http://right-click.com.au/rcPlayer2/index.php?c=innerfm or go to the Inner FM homepage at www.innerfm.org.au and follow the links.

Musical Theatre Melodies features Henry, Sweet Henry

The next ‘Musical Theatre Melodies’ to be broadcast on 96.5 FM on Tuesday, 24th October will feature a 50th Anniversary tribute to Bob Merrill’s “Henry, Sweet Henry”  from the original 1967 Broadway cast recording starring Don Ameche, Neva Small, Robin Wilson, Carol Bruce, Louise Lasser, Baayork Lee, Priscilla Lopez, Alice Playten, and Pia Zadora  . This will be preceded by an introduction from New York-based theatre critic and Internet columnist, Peter Filichia. 

The remainder of the programme will feature song highlights from the 1972 original Broadway cast recording of Jule Styne and Bob Merrill’s Sugar, (based on the film “Some Like it Hot”), starring Robert Morse, Tony Roberts, Elaine Joyce, Cyril Ritchard and Sheila Smith.


The broadcast will go “to air” between 9 – 11 p.m. EDT local Melbourne time; (= 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. BST in Britain; = 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. NZDT; = 6 – 8 a.m. EDT New York time; = 3 – 5 a.m. PDT Los Angeles time.)

N.B.  Melbourne is now on Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time, hence the earlier starting times elsewhere. 

For those listening in via the Internet on 96.5 Inner FM’s website the webpage link for the Inner FM Web Radio player is  http://right-click.com.au/rcPlayer2/index.php?c=innerfm or go to the Inner FM homepage at www.innerfm.org.au and follow the links.

Musical Theatre Melodies presents Kander & Ebb’s THE ACT

The next “Musical Theatre Melodies” to be broadcast on 96.5 FM on Tuesday, 17th October will feature a 40th Anniversary tribute to John Kander and Fred Ebb’s “The Act”, from the original 1977 Broadway cast recording starring Liza Minelli in her second Tony Award winning role, with Wayne Cilento, Michael Leeds, Roger Minami, Albert Stephenson, Carol Estey and Laurie Dawn Skinner. This will be preceded by an introduction (via Skype) from New York-based theatre critic and Internet columnist, Peter Filichia. 

The remainder of the programme will feature Act 2 of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s “Allegro”, from the 2008 New York studio cast recording with Laura Benanti, Norbert Leo Butz, Liz Callaway, Nathan Gunn, Judy Kuhn, Audra McDonald, Marni Nixon and Patrick Wilson.


The broadcast will go “to air” between 9 – 11 p.m. EDT local Melbourne time; (= 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. BST in Britain; = 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. NZDT; = 6 – 8 a.m. EDT New York time; = 3 – 5 a.m. PDT Los Angeles time.)


N.B.  Melbourne is now on Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time, hence the earlier starting times elsewhere.


The on-line “address” of the 96.5 FM web-player has changed:

For those listening in via the Internet on 96.5 Inner FM’s website the webpage link for the Inner FM Web Radio – go to the Inner FM homepage at www.innerfm.org.au, simply click on the menu item “LISTEN LIVE” at the top of this page or click on the following link – https://right-click.com.au/rcPlayer2/index.php?c=innerfm
ILLUSTRATIONS  FROM THE OVERTURES ARCHIVES

Musical Theatre Melodies features the complete recording of Allegro

The next “Musical Theatre Melodies” to be broadcast on 96.5 FM on Tuesday, 10th October will feature a 70th Anniversary tribute to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s “Allegro”, from the 2008 New York studio cast recording with Laura Benanti, Norbert Leo Butz, Liz Callaway, Nathan Gunn, Judy Kuhn, Audra McDonald, Marni Nixon and Patrick Wilson.

This will be introduced by New York-based theatre critic and Internet columnist, Peter Filichia.


The broadcast will go “to air” between 9 – 11 p.m. EDT local Melbourne time; (= 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. BST in Britain; = 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. NZDT; = 6 – 8 a.m. EDT New York time; = 3 – 5 a.m. PDT Los Angeles time.)


N.B.  Melbourne is now on Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time, hence the earlier starting times elsewhere.


The on-line “address” of the 96.5 FM web-player has changed:

For those listening in via the Internet on 96.5 Inner FM’s website the webpage link for the Inner FM Web Radio – go to the Inner FM homepage at www.innerfm.org.au, simply click on the menu item “LISTEN LIVE” at the top of this page or click on the following link – https://right-click.com.au/rcPlayer2/index.php?c=innerfm
ILLUSTRATIONS  FROM THE OVERTURES ARCHIVES

Musical Theatre Melodies celebrates the 10th Birthday & opening of Young Frankenstein

Coinciding with the London premiere of Mel Brook’s “Young Frankenstein“, the next “Musical Theatre Melodies” broadcast on 96.5 FM on Tuesday, 3rd October will feature a 10th Anniversary tribute to the Broadway opening of “Young Frankenstein”, (based on the original film story and screenplay by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks), from the 2007 original Broadway cast recording starring Roger Bart, Megan Mullally, Sutton Foster, Shuler Hensley, Andrea Martin, Fred Applegate and Christopher Fitzgerald.

Mel Brooks and Susan Stroman’s London production have significant differences from the Broadway original with the London show having fewer numbers and some new ones and an all together more intimate feel.


The remainder of the programme will feature song highlights from the 2001 original Broadway cast recording of Mel Brooks’ The Producers, (based on the original film by Mel Brooks), starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick with Roger Bart, Gary Beach, Cady Huffman and Brad Oscar. 


The broadcast will go “to air” between 9 – 11 p.m. EDT local Melbourne time; (= 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. BST in Britain; = 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. NZDT; = 6 – 8 a.m. EDT New York time; = 3 – 5 a.m. PDT Los Angeles time.)
 


N.B.  Melbourne is now on Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time, hence the earlier starting times elsewhere.


The on-line “address” of the 96.5 FM web-player has changed:

For those listening in via the Internet on 96.5 Inner FM’s website the webpage link for the Inner FM Web Radio – go to the Inner FM homepage at www.innerfm.org.au, simply click on the menu item “LISTEN LIVE” at the top of this page or click on the following link – https://right-click.com.au/rcPlayer2/index.php?c=innerfm
ILLUSTRATIONS  FROM THE OVERTURES ARCHIVES

WEST SIDE STORY – MUSICAL THEATRE MELODIES MARK THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY

The next “Musical Theatre Melodies” broadcast on 96.5 FM on Tuesday, 26th September will feature a 60th Anniversary tribute to Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s “West Side Story“, from the 1957 original Broadway cast recording starring Carol Lawrence, Larry Kert and Chita Rivera, with Mickey Calin, Marilyn Cooper, Reri Grist, Eddie Roll, Grover Dale, Hank Brunjes, Tony Mordente and David Winters. This will be introduced by New York-based theatre critic and Internet columnist Peter Filichia. 

The remainder of the programme will feature an archival interview with leading-lady, Carol Lawrence talking about her career to Kevin Trask, (host of “That’s Entertainment”, heard on 96.5 FM each Sunday at 12 noon), during a visit to Melbourne in 1999.

The broadcast will go “to air” between 9 – 11 p.m. EST local Melbourne time; (= 12 noon – 2 p.m. BST in Britain; = 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. NZST; = 7 – 9 a.m. EDT New York time; = 4 – 6 a.m. PDT Los Angeles time.)

The on-line “address” of the 96.5 FM web-player has changed:

For those listening in via the Internet on 96.5 Inner FM’s website the webpage link for the Inner FM Web Radio – go to the Inner FM homepage at www.innerfm.org.au, simply click on the menu item “LISTEN LIVE” at the top of this page or click on the following link – https://right-click.com.au/rcPlayer2/index.php?c=innerfm
ILLUSTRATIONS  FROM THE OVERTURES ARCHIVES

First Recipient of the Overtures Award for SSSSPOTY gets Lead in Major Biopic

Of all the famous musicians that resonate across generations, Elton John is among the most deserving of being the subject of a biopic. So much so, in fact, that in 2011, it was reported that John would be producing “Rocketman”, a musical biopic about his life. However, the project has hit a number of obstacles the main one being finding the right actor that can sing the challenging songs.  However, now it’s been announced that Taron Egerton will play Elton John.

Taron Egerton had been having conversations with “Rocketman” producers Matthew Vaughn (Egerton’s Kingsman director) and Dexter Fletcher about boarding the biopic to play Elton John. Elton John, who also features in the new Kingsman movie, is reported to have loved working with Egerton and that he has experienced first hand that he has no problem with belting out tunes in a way that makes him ideal for the role. The “Rocketman” team is to start shooting the movie before 2017 is finished.

A 21 year old RADA student Taron Egerton won the coveted Stephen Sondheim Society Student Perfomer of The Year Award 2011 in the finale of the competition at the Queens Theatre in London’s West End. The competition featured all 12 finalists selected from the qualifying heats and required them to perform 2 songs, a Sondheim number and a new work from a musical theatre composer. Taron chose to sing ‘Giants In The Sky’ from “Into The Woods” and “May As Well And Why Not” by Craig Adams and Nona Shepherd. Asked why Taron stood out as the unanimous winner, judge, Kerry Ellis said one thing that set him apart was his totally believable, understated performance which was echoed by another of the judges, Timothy Sheader who had recently produced Into The Woods at the Regents Park Open Air. Anna Francolini thought that his ability to hit and hold every note made his performances faultless, whilst composer and musical director, Sarah Travis, thought that there was a magic in his ability to draw the audience into the songs that he performed. Edward Seckerson, chair of the judges, believed that in another year anyone of the 12 would have been good enough to win but Taron gave a complete performance and as it says in the title it is “Performer Of The Year”. Presenter Julia McKenzie told Taron that his performance was faultless – no faint praise.


Pictured is Taron reprising Giants In The Sky as the competition winner, and receiving the Award from Patrick Hayward, CEO of Overtures (The Bunnett-Muir Musical Theatre Archive Trust) and with judge Kerry Ellis.

Taron was brought up in North Wales where he established himself as a more than competent performer with Aberystwyth Arts Centre featuring in “Oliver!”, “Little Shop Of Horrors”, “The Tempest” & “Return To The Forbidden Planet”. With RADA he has excelled in “Three Sisters”, “A Doll’s House”, “Ajax” and “The Brothers Karamazov”, proving that he is much more than a one trick pony and he still had a further year before graduation.

 

Upon graduation he appeared in plays at the National Theatre and Royal Court before starring in a Sky TV series “Smoke” about the London fire brigade. His first film role was in the 2014 WWI drama “Testament Of Youth” and then his Hollywood career kicked off in 2014 (early 2015 in the U.S.) with the release of Kingsman: The Secret Service, where he played lead protagonist Gary “Eggsy” Unwin. Egerton has recently reprised Eggsy in “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” alongside Colin Firth and Elton John, which hits cinemas this week, but outside the world of finely-dressed British says, Egerton’s other notable credits include playing Edward ‘Mad Teddy’ Smith in the Krays biopic “Legend”,  the eponymous character”Eddie The Eagle” alongside Hugh Jackman (as his coach) and voicing Johnny in the animated movie “Sing”.

He also stars as “Robin Hood” from the director of tv’s ‘Peaky Blinders’ in next year’s big IMAX release. One completed film missing from this list is “The Billionaire Boys Club” where Egerton plays Dean Karny, a pro tennis player, alongside Kevin Spacey and although completed in 2016 no release date has been published. Suffice to say that Egerton has cemented himself as a notable talent, so him playing Elton John would be another boost for his rising fame.

The Elton John biopic is expected to explore several decades of the performer’s life, from when the young Reginald Dwight (Elton John’s real name) started going to the Royal Academy of Music through the time he became a pop sensation in the 1970s to the he was time scoring popular musicals, like The Lion King for Disney. Rocketman will also look at some of the “juicier details” of John’s personal life, but the movie’s main focus will be to show how John became one of the world’s greatest singer-composers and how he’s stayed relevant despite being hit by certain scandals.

 

Musical Theatre Melodies Heralds THE GLORIOUS ONES

The next “Musical Theatre Melodies” broadcast on 96.5 FM on Tuesday, 19th September will feature a 10th Anniversary tribute to Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s “The Glorious Ones“, (based on the novel by Francine Prose), from the 2007 New York Lincoln Center Theater cast recording starring Marc Kudisch, David Patrick Kelly, Natalie Venetia Belcon, Julyana Soelistyo, John Kassir, Erin Davie and Jeremy Webb.

There will also be highlights from the 1994 original London cast recording of Ahrens and Flaherty’s “Once On This Island” , (based on the novel “My Love, My Love” by Rosa Guy ), starring Lorna Brown, Anthony Corriette, Shezwae Powell, Johnny Worthy, Trevor Michael Georges, Clive Rowe and Suzanne Packer.

The broadcast will go “to air” between 9 – 11 p.m. EST local Melbourne time; (= 12 noon – 2 p.m. BST in Britain; = 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. NZST; = 7 – 9 a.m. EDT New York time; = 4 – 6 a.m. PDT Los Angeles time.)

The on-line “address” of the 96.5 FM web-player has changed:

For those listening in via the Internet on 96.5 Inner FM’s website the webpage link for the Inner FM Web Radio – go to the Inner FM homepage at www.innerfm.org.au, simply click on the menu item “LISTEN LIVE” at the top of this page or click on the following link – https://right-click.com.au/rcPlayer2/index.php?c=innerfm
ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE LONDON LANDOR PRODUCTION  FROM THE OVERTURES ARCHIVES

Remembering Bruce Forsyth and Jerry Lewis on the London Stage

Two giants of the business called show have left this world within days of each other.  They may or may not have met each other, but both came from the same background of variety / vaudeville.  One owed his initial fame to television, the other film.  One was American the other English.  Neither had extensive legitimate theatre credentials, but what they did was memorable.

English Bruce Forsyth was a man of television and a past master of hosting family orientated quiz games and inventing catch phrases.  Jerry Lewis made his name on film but hosted a marathon of charity fund raising on television.  Lewis was a knockabout, child-like comedian gaining his stardom in a duo with the singer and straight man Dean Martin.  Forsyth was multi-talented and earned the title of an all-round entertainer as well as becoming a ‘Sir’ late in life.

Film made Lewis a star on both sides of the Atlantic, and in the fifties he and Martin topped the bill at the London Palladium with huge success.  Forsyth attempted success on Broadway with his one-man show but left without succeeding.  Americans will only know him through his limited film spots such as playing Julie Andrew’s father in Star. 

Sir Bruce starred in two West End shows, the American import Little Me and a semi-revue of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse songs called The Travelling Music Show.  The first was a terrific hit for him, as it had been on Broadway for Sid Caesar.  Having to play many characters played to his talents.  These talents unfortunately could not save the other.

Jerry Lewis was to appear in a Broadway revival of Damn Yankees playing Applegate, the Faust character.  He took over from Victor Garber in the 1994 production and then toured with it around the States before bringing it to London in 1997.  He cleverly wove into his solo number ‘Those were the good old days’ a Vegas like cabaret act that landed right back into the story proper.  Unfortunately Lewis’s performance was not committed to disc.

The world of entertainment has lost two great and unique performers.

RSB