At any point in time, there is a multitude of new musical productions opening in theatres throughout London. Sometimes they will be the big, anticipatory smash hit musicals like Sweeney Todd and Matilda The Musical in the West End, and sometimes they will be the smaller (in scope, but not quality), more intimate musicals. These latter ones can be well-known productions such as the recent revival of Jekyll and Hyde which is playing at the Union Theatre, or the premiere of a brand new show.
The students of the Arts Educational School London are staging the production of Concrete Jungle, an original work from American composer Bobby Cronin which opened at the Studio Theatre on 8th June 2012 and runs till 16th June 2012. Concrete Jungle ‘follows the lives and loves of a group of young singletons who have just moved to New York City as they share stories in their local bar, The Concrete Jungle.’
Bobby Cronin has performed concerts around the world, making his London debut at the New Players Theatre in February 2011. He has also won a number of awards for his compositions, including the 2011 NJ Playwrights Contest for the musical Daybreak, which premiered in both America and the UK this month (William Patterson University, New Jersey – 7th June 2012/Tristan Bates Theatre, London – 5th June 2012). His previous works include Welcome To My Life, Til Death Do Us Part, A Christmas Carol, Cyrana and Ten Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You.
Concrete Jungle was specially penned by Cronin for the Arts Educational School London. The drama school has been training students for the past 90 years, its origin based in schools founded by Grace Cone and Olivia Ripman, which amalgamated in 1939 to become the Cone Ripman School. It reopened after World War II and was renamed in 1947. Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber became president of the school in 2007 after the death of former president Dame Alicia Markova. Well-known alumni include such renowned names as Martin Clunes, Julie Andrews, Nigel Harman and Jane Seymour, as well as those currently performing in West End shows like Oliver Thompsett (Rock of Ages), Sally-Ann Triplett (Mamma Mia) and the Strallen sisters (Summer – Top Hat, Zizi – Rock of Ages, Scarlett – Singin’ in the Rain).
As well as writing and composing Concrete Jungle, Cronin is also the show’s director. Lewis Butler and Kathleen Gilbert choreograph, with musical direction from Mike Haslam. Concrete Jungle was commissioned by ArtsEd’s director of Musical Theatre, Chris Hocking, with special arrangement by James Beresford (Shepherd Management) and Penny Luedtke (The Luedtke Agency).
The show only runs until Saturday, so if you haven’t yet seen it, it would be well worth your time to head down to the Studio Theatre before it closes. Concrete Jungle has had a very positive response from audiences so far, which is no small surprise; the talented students of ArtsEd have a high-quality reputation and Cronin is one of the most exciting new writers of musical theatre around right now. Whether you’re a fan of new writing or just of the theatre in general, Concrete Jungle is a musical which avid theatregoers will want to see.
By Julie Robinson (@miss julie25)
Tuesday 12th June 2012