In one of my very first blogs for this site, I wrote about the ‘revolving doors’ of the West End with regards to the continual cycle of shows that come and go, although it would perhaps be more fitting to compare it to Les Mis’ revolve…
Shows will close to make room for others; that’s an inevitability of theatre life. You can’t make room for the new without first clearing out some of the old. Variety may be the spice of life, but it is also the lifeline of the theatre industry – if you eat at the same restaurant every night, eventually you’re going to get bored of the menu. Exciting (and neccessary) as change is though, it will of course bring sadness with it as fans have to say goodbye to some of their favourite shows. There are many reasons why a show will close: sometimes a limited run is all it was awarded, sometimes it’s due to financial reasons and sometimes, well, it’s just its time. Every show has its following, whether it is a global hit or the equivalent of a ‘cult classic’, and will be missed by someone. In the world of theatre though, no show is ever truly gone.
The core of any musical is, unsurprisingly, its music – perhaps that’s why it takes up the majority of the word? So even though a show may have packed up its bags and disappeared off into the sunset, it will always live on through its music. It takes a very special show to have its full score appreciated; more likely than not, there will always be one or two stand-out songs that firmly house themselves in people’s hearts. Everyone’s taste is different though and sometimes it’s the ‘filler’ numbers which take that place. Whatever songs it is that take your fancy, chances are that they will pop up again as part of a cabaret or concert performance somewhere along the line.
The event coming up this Monday (23rd April 2012) at the Landor Theatre is a prime example of the seemingly eternalness of the stage musical. If It Only Even Runs A Minute is a concert series that started off in New York and celebrates the shows which left the theatre scene too soon and the less-appreciated musical theatre songs through live performance, behind the scenes stories and photos. In its UK debut, produced and hosted by Oliver Southgate and Lydia Grant, If It Only Even Runs A Minute features London theatre names such as Thomas Sutcliffe, Nicole Faraday, Rachael Bingham, Christopher Barratt, Ross Aldred, Kelly Chinery and more. They will be performing songs from musicals like The Fantasticks, Annie Get Your Gun, Lend Me A Tenor, Betty Blue Eyes and Ordinary Days, along with many others.
Musical theatre never dies. There are some shows which are repeatedly revived and always seem to keep their sparkle – the revival of Crazy For You and the more recent return of Singin’ in the Rain serve to prove this point. For those which can’t quite seem to find their way back however, it’s outlets like concerts/cabarets that keep them alive.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Friday 20th April 2012