In the lead up to Christmas, most people’s minds are solely preoccupied with what presents to buy for friends and family. As gratifying as it is to give to others, it’s always nice to treat yourself as well, and what better gift to give yourself than the gift of musical theatre. There are some great cabarets coming up in December, so here is a pick of three not-to-be-missed nights to get you in the mood for Christmas.
1) First up is the London debut of American composing duo Kooman and Dimond on Sunday 2nd December. Out of Our Heads: The Music of Kooman & Dimond introduces UK audiences to the music of the award-winning Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond. The two have collaborated together on several musicals, such as Golden Gate, Homemade Fusion, the Christmas-themed Junior Claus and Dani Girl, which was work-shopped at a number of theatres and has seen productions at venues in Boston, Dallas, Toronto and Australia. They released their debut album in 2011, titled Out of Our Heads, which featured a range of original songs in a cross between musical theatre and pop, with the vocals by top Broadway stars such as Anderson Davis, Patina Miller and Natalie Weiss.
For their first London concert, they’ve gathered together an impressive line-up of West End stars to perform songs from their album – including ‘The Temp and The Receptionist’, ‘Random Black Girl’ and ‘Out of My Head’ – and their back-catalogue of work, as well as an exclusive sneak peek at the original new musical commissioned by the Kennedy Center, The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes. Confirmed to perform on the night are: Kelly-Anne Gower (Les Miserables, Blood Brothers), Paul Ayres (Ghost), Matthew Barrow (The Wizard of Oz), Cassie Compton (Wicked), Liam Doyle (Mamma Mia), Carley Stenson (Shrek), Rebecca Trehearn (Ghost), Chris Thatcher (Avenue Q), Hannah Levane (We Will Rock You, Sister Act), Ceili O’Connor (The Wizard of Oz), Joe Tracini (A Chorus Line, Hollyoaks), Chloe Hart (Hairspray, Wicked), Jonathan Williams (Les Miserables), Oliver Brenin (Wicked) and Sam Lupton (Avenue Q), with the wonderful George Dyer as MD. Out of Our Heads: The Music of Kooman and Dimond is presented by ILIADebuts (Introducing Live International Artiste’s Debuts – formerly Conrow Productions) in their third venture showcasing the work of American musical theatre composers: their previous events, which included the London premieres of Jonathan Reid Gealt and David A. Reiser, were both hugely successful nights and this one promises to deliver too. It’s not just the audience who are waiting for it with eager anticipation though; Kooman and Dimond are looking forward to their first UK experience, saying: “We are ecstatic to be planning a concert in London this fall…We look forward to working with some amazing performers and introducing a new audience to our music.”
Out of Our Heads: The Music of Kooman and Dimond takes place at St Andrews Holborn on Sunday 2nd December, 7.30pm.
2) Following just four days later is the latest charity gig from Joel Marvin. Last Christmas, he produced the cabaret Jingle Balls to raise funds in aid of Cancer Research UK, supporting testicular cancer, with the help of a (mostly) all-male West End line-up. For 2012, he’s following the success of that night with its female equivalent, Jingle Belles. On Thursday 6th December, a collection of leading ladies of the West End and up-and-coming performers will sing for the worthy cause of Cancer Research UK once again in a fundraising evening like no other. The all-female line-up includes: Sierra Boggess (Love Never Dies, Les Miserables), Maeve Byrne (Rent), The Goldstone girls, Danielle Hope (The Wizard of Oz, Les Miserables), Melissa Jacques (Mamma Mia), Sejal Keshwala (After The Turn), Rebecca Louis (Betty Blue Eyes), Sally Plumb (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice), Verity Rivett, Laura Tebbutt (The Wizard of Oz) and Francesca Whiffin.
Jingle Belles will takes place at the Leicester Square Theatre on Thursday 6th December 2012, 11pm.
3) Rounding off the trio is the latest event from SimG Productions with the increasingly popular tradition of the seasonal cabaret. Simon Greiff has already staged such cabarets as Easter With… and Summer With… featuring the likes of Caroline Sheen, Jack Shalloo, Ashleigh Gray and some of the UK’s most talented musical theatre composers, along with an inspired selection of West End guest vocalists. Now, the UK’s ‘foremost champion of new musical theatre writing’ is giving theatre-lovers an all-new cabaret experience with Christmas With…Friends. A number of West End faces will gather on Sunday 16th December to celebrate, not only two whole years of seasonal cabarets, but the jolly holiday of Christmas with an array of old and new festive songs. Hosting the event will be SimG cabaret regular Annalene Beechey (Wicked, BBC Proms), who has invited several of her friends to join the celebration, including special guest Rebecca Lock (Avenue Q). Lending a dash of West End leading man to the mix are The Two Raoul’s, Simon Bailey and Simon Thomas, who are both performing the role of ‘Vicompte de Chagney’ in The Phantom of The Opera 25th anniversary UK tour and West End production respectively. SimG Productions will also be releasing Bailey’s debut album Looking Up this winter. Under the talented ear of MD Inga Davis-Rutter, the evening is sure to be just as entertaining as last Christmas’ sell-out performance.
ChristmasWith… Friends takes place at the Battersea Barge on Sunday 16th December 2012, 7.30pm.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)