Ruthie Henshall, Darren Day, Sam Tutty and more star in an online 50th Anniversary concert of Stephen Schwartz’s Godspell
“Some men are born to live at ease, doing what they please”
We’ve all had to adjust our plans one way or another but not even a global pandemic is going to get in the way of Godspellcelebrating its 50th anniversary with this online tribute concert. Conceived and directed by Michael Strassen, it reunites stars like Ruthie Henshall, Darren Day and John Barr with a show for which they made a studio cast recording in 1993, and also features a host of additional musical theatre talents.
The musical, score by Stephen Schwartz and book by John-Michael Tebelak, draws on the Gospel of Matthew as it moves towards the Passion of the Christ. But this adaptation points a little more towards inspirational optimism than outright spirituality, whilst introducing a creatively interesting way of presenting the songs which sets it apart from many of the other online offerings of the last few months. Continue reading “Review: Godspell 50th anniversary concert”
The Original Cast Recording of Tina – The Tina Turner Musical captures much of what makes the show work so well, not least Adrienne Warren’s sensational lead performance
“Hot whispers in the night I’m captured by your spell”
As Tina – The Tina Turner Musical opens on Broadway, what better time to take a look at the Original Cast Recording, which is now available worldwide – to stream, download or order the CD, then visit Ghostlight Records here. The show opened in the West End last year and while I may not have loved the book unconditionally, there is no denying the 24 carat gold quality of the score with its selection from Turner’s frankly amazing back catalogue which spans rock’n’roll to rhythm’n’blues to pop to straight up soul.
Rather cannily, the Broadway production has retained the lead from the West End production as Adrienne Warren deservedly took the lion’s share of the plaudits. And it is her personality, allied to that rip-roaring voice, that shines through this cast recording, elevating it from the mere karaoke of way too many other jukebox show cast recordings. Listen to the passion of the moan that opens ‘A Fool in Love’, the hunger of ‘Better Be Good to Me’, the aching tenderness of ‘I Don’t Wanna Fight’ – this is a star-making performance. Continue reading “Album Review: Tina – The Tina Turner Musical Original Cast Recording”
Adrienne Warren absolutely shines in Tina the Musical at the Aldwych Theatre, though the bio-musical form has its limitations here
“It gets bigger baby, and heaven knows”
Mamma Mia has a lot to answer for. The jukebox musical is clearly the legacy project that people are looking to once music stars have retired or disbanded (or not even then, in some cases). But whether they take a fictional route (a la Viva Forever or Son of a Preacher Man) or go bio-musical (a la All Or Nothing), it really isn’t easy to make it work that well.
Newly opened at the Aldwych Theatre, Tina the Musical has the credentials to make you hope it can do just that. Directed by Mamma Mia’s Phyllida Lloyd, written by Olivier winner Katori Hall with Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins, and with the almighty back catalogue of Tina Turner to call on, there’s a thrilling sense of energy here which is perfectly encapsulated in the star-making performance of a fricking amazing Adrienne Warren. Continue reading “Review: Tina the Musical, Aldwych Theatre”
“I’d rather walk in blood than walk a slave for he thy Emperor!”
For every Blue Stockings, there’s been a Pitcairn, with a Bedlaminbetween. No matter the AD, the commitment to new writing in the later part of the summer season at Shakespeare’s Globe has thrown a marked inconsistency. And Tristan Bernays’ Boudicaproves no different, given an ambitious production by Eleanor Rhode which strives a little too hard to situate the play in an Emma Rice house-style, fun as it may come across.
So Game of Thrones-style storytelling mashes up against spirited covers of the likes of ‘London Calling’ and ‘I Fought The Law’, a great sense of energy percolating through this wooden O. But Bernays’ play doesn’t always fit easily with this treatment, written in blank verse that has to balance the required info-dump to flesh out this historical fiction with something more fascinatingly insightful about what might have driven the Queen of the Iceni. Continue reading “Review: Boudica, Shakespeare’s Globe”
“Fingers crossed Make a wish What gruesome game of chance is this? Cross your chest Count 1 in 3 And pray it doesn’t grow in me”
A musical about cancer? As unlikely as it might seem, A Pacifist’s Guide To The War On Cancerisn’t even the first one that I’ve seen. That dubious honour goes to Happy Ending, one of the most misjudged shows I saw last year, but fortunately this Complicite and National Theatre co-production in association with HOME Manchester rejoices in a much stronger pedigree, a collaboration between performance artist Bryony Kimmings (book and lyrics), Brian Lobel (book) and Tom Parkinson (music).
A Pacifist’s Guide… posits itself as “an all-singing, all-dancing celebration of ordinary life and death” and this it does by collating varying stories of people diagnosed with cancer into a single hospital waiting room, watched over by Emma, a single mother waiting for some tests or suspected bone cancer to be conducted on her baby son. And over the course of a long night, we hear their tales of living with the disease, the trials of having to deal with other people’s reactions to it, the wells of emotion it taps into. Continue reading “Review: A Pacifist’s Guide To The War On Cancer, National”