Silence in Golden Square

We have just come in from observing the 2 minutes silence to remember the victims of last weeks bomb attacks in London.

I have to admit that it was really quite emotional to be stood outside with 100s of others in Golden Square in the centre of London – absolute silence from all concerned, and with no traffic racing past. I normally don’t have a lot of faith in ‘human nature’, especially when atrocities like last weeks attacks happen, but it certainly restores that to some degree when you are part of something as simple as observing a silence and you can sense that everyone is of one mind about it.

Along with everyone with any shred of decency and humanity it was pretty appalling to watch the goings on last Thursday, and hard not to just want the worst for the people who organised and went through with such a hideous act.

But the strength of character of the victims last week, of those around helping them, and then the rest of us determined to carry on as usual, certainly felt like quite a unifying force against the perpetrators. Jokes of the British “stiff upper lip” aside, it felt good to stick two fingers up to those who had hoped to destroy and corrupt daily life.

Stepping Out with the Stars on Broadway…

I was very excited to come across a link to the show I was involved with onboard Cunard’s new Queen Mary 2 Cruise Ship last year.

www.eifoundation.org/events/42_and_vine_2004.html

This was a charity sow to raise money and awareness of Colon Cancer, and had quite a stellar cast! Rather chuffed that my name is appearing in a list along with people like Nathan Lane, Glenn Close, Danny Devito, Beyonce Knowles – & the Muppets!!!

I do actually appear in the photo that’s on that page, but (foolishly!) I managed to stand RIGHT BEHIND one of the Soprano’s guys. That’s me in the orange shirt – honest…

Inspiration on all fronts…

A few things have happened over the past few weeks that have inspired to get back to writing my Blog again. Especially as I haven’t written a new entry for months!

I was involved in two shows recently as part of the Greenwich Musical Futures series – a selection of 9 new musicals over 3 days, presented in a “showcase” format, at whatever stage of development they are in. It ranged from rehearsed readings (which was the case of one show I did – Mel Atkey’s “Perfect Timing”) to fully staged and costumed excerpts (such as the one for “Mendoza”) The performing side of things is always going to be fab, especially as for “Perfect Timing” it was mainly script based for my character, which is something I haven’t done for quite while. I am usually “utilised” for the vocal side of things, so to have a bit more text to get your teeth into is great.

In fact the last time that really applied was quite a few years ago in Ken Hill’s “Phantom Of The Opera” which I did in Lincoln. My character (Raoul) only had one solo, a duet, and then part of the sextet. The rest of his stage time is taken with text, which was great fun. And having the chance to play a character who can get some of the laugh lines as well is a joy.

But the real highlight for me was the chance to see, on the final evening, in fact the final show of the series “I Married Wyatt Earp” – by Sheilah Rae, Michele Brourman and Thomas Edward West. A great show with an amazing cast (especially for a showcase version) that totally rekindled my excitement for musical theatre again.

I think there is a specific sound, or emotional texture in pieces that I need to hear to get really fired up about a show. It isn’t always the most popular of shows, or the big block-buster mega-musicals necessarily, but something in the writing that grabs me. And I think must be something quite specific, because I am exposed to quite a wide range of shows and it is only on rare occasions that it really clicks.

I’m pleased to say that listening to “I Married Wyatt Earp” was certainly one of those occasions. And I had to write to Sheilah as soon as I got home to let her know!!

Musically, the style of the piece was an ideal mixture of modern form and standard “musical theatre” structure, without having to veer into pop or rock. The sort of melodies that have you itching to hear more, and some really exciting part work that made a fantastic sound when the whole ensemble were singing together. The added bonus was the calibre of the cast, which included some very well respected names of the Musical Theatre world. The whole cast was great, and included Becky Veer, Rebecca Thornhill, Josefina Gabrielle, Susie McKenna and on and on. Some of the best MT girls around – fab!

The only downside for me is that all the roles are female so I won’t ever get a chance to do the show 🙁

The other exciting thing has been my first faltering foray (f-f-f) into TV work. I have done a few TV jobs in the past, but only as a singer. I was filming a reconstruction for BBC’s Crimewatch (which is showing on the 15th June – in case you’re interested!) of a crime that happened recently. Admittedly it is hardly a starring role in a hit TV series – being a low life mugger – but we all have to start somewhere. It was great fun to film, and the Director was really nice, so I certainly enjoyed the experience.

More power to Wyatt Earp and the Thugs!

Start of a new year.

Happy New year 🙂

It is being quiet so far – but I have no problem with that! Running up to Christmas and the holiday season was quite busy, so a breather is ok… assuming it picks up again!

Just before New Year I was singing with Capital Voices in a “Rodgers & Hammerstein” concert at the Barbican with Claire Moore and Graham Bickley as soloists. It was great fun actually – if a little scary. We had quite a score to read, including a few solo numbers for the group and some fairly complex bits. All good fun though, and helped to blow the Christmas cobwebs away when you have to really concentrate on the music (although, since then I have been to have my eyes tested as I was sure they were failing during that concert – maybe I am just out of practise looking at so many dots!)

Looking forward I have a smattering of concerts coming up with the WestEnders from February onwards, and I’ve also been in discussion with a composer about the launch of a new piece he is writing which might mean some more travelling this year. Fingers crossed!

Add to that a couple of sessions, and some castings coming up, it’s shaping up OK so far.

…but then it is only the 7th

[The eyes are fine by the way – 20/20!]

Finally winding down

It’s been a bit of weekend. I have just got back from Birmingham after the last of the “White Christmas” concerts that I was involved in with Capital Voices. In the past 4 days I have performed in London, then Retford, then London again and finally Birmingham. I’m not complaining of course (!) but it will be nice to spend a while not having to drive 100s of miles every day.

Friday’s reading of the new show “The Silk Handkerchief” at the Royal Academy went well. We had one rehearsal the preceding weekend, and then performed for an audience of about 20 people. There were one or two ‘hairy’ moments as the lack of any real rehearsal time catches up with you and you slip in to panic mode – which I am sure an audience can see come over a performer, as the eyes glaze over for a second and the appearance of a rabbit caught in headlights comes on!! – but nothing too major. Hopefully it will have given the writers something to work with and take the show further.

The last minute job for the WestEnders was also lots of fun. I haven’t seen most of the team for a while as they have been working away on the QE2 for a month. (Sad to say they were all VERY suntanned, and I looked decidedly pasty next to them. Maybe I feel a sunbed coming on!) I was doing a track in the show which I haven’t done before, which kept things interesting. Luckily I have done the show enough times for it to be fairly easy to adjust what I normally do and work in the positions and the harmonies of the ‘other’ boy’s show. The Majestic Theatre in Retford was quite pretty, the staff were all very helpful, and the WestEnders now own their own mics so the sound was great too.

And of course, doing the “White Christmas” concerts at the Albert Hall and the Symphony Hall in B’ham is great fun, and a fab way to lead up to Christmas. I have been to see them in the audience in the past as you can’t beat a good sing to get you in the Festive spirit!

The next thing is not until the 29th December now for a Rodgers & Hammerstein celebration at the Festival Hall… need to get Christmas out of the way first!

Rushing up to Retford…

I’ve just been asked if I can make it up to Retford to do a show with the WestEnders this Saturday. It’s a bit last minute, but luckily it will fit in quite nicely – between the workshop this Friday of Silk Handkerchief and the White Christmas concert on Sunday.

The WestEnders have actually only just got back from an engagement on the QE2 – doing the South America itinerary. I decided this time round not to do the cruise with them, although there has been a number of times whilst they were away (for nearly a month… in the sun!) that I have wondered if I made the right decision! The last time we were booked for a month on a ship it did become quite difficult, being away from home for so long.

But when you’re stuck in the UK… in the rain… not working… a few weeks performing on the QE2 doesn’t seem half so bad!

Anyway, the show is in Retford, Notts. at the Majestic Theatre – so if you’re in the area, do come along! I’ll leave the rest of the gang up there to head off to Wales for their next gig on Sunday, whilst I head back down south ready for the Albert Hall. Busy, busy, busy!




Welcome to the Blog!
Welcome to the new Blog! I thought it would be quite fun to start one up and see how it goes – so I can post bits and pieces of information about the jobs I’m working on, or the places I am visiting.

And I think it would be a useful way to have an ongoing ‘diary’of what I am up to, as well as the bigger items on the News page.

Thanks for stopping by… feel free to leave me any comments you have.

Stephen