People are individuals. It’s one of our best qualities as a race, I believe, as diversity and difference of opinion is what keeps life fresh and interesting. A world in which everyone looks and thinks the same is not a world I would want to exist in, that’s for sure. Our individuality manifests itself in every walk of life, with musical theatre being no exception. Musical theatre is an art form with which every show appeals to individual taste and can mean something very different to each and every person who sees it. Certain shows are fortunate enough to get enough of the ingrediants right so as to enjoy a universal popularity – shows such as Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera. Others however, can either completely divide opinion or just somehow fail to attract the level of attention they perhaps deserve.
One example of this which always springs to mind for me was the 2011 production of Lend Me A Tenor at the Gielgud Theatre. I was sent to review the musical, which starred Damian Humbley, Michael Matus, Cassidy Janson, Joanna Riding and Matthew Kelly, and gave it a deservedly glowing write-up as it was probably up there as one of the most enjoyable nights at the theatre I’ve experienced. The show mainly received a highly positive critical response but closed early after a run of just two months, with producers Martin Platt and David Elliot saying: “Despite mostly wonderful notices from the press, great feedback from our audiences and nightly standing ovations, this has not translated into growing sales and we feel it is in everyone’s best interests to close the production.”
This is not the only time I’ve found myself a fan of a show which hasn’t managed to find its way into the hearts of the majority of its audiences. I visited Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom sequel, Love Never Dies, on several occasions, and though I will openly admit that it had its share of problems, I still fell in love with its glorious score, stunning visuality and star performances. Not everyone shared my opinion however. In fact, most people outright detested it and a hate group trying to deter people from seeing it even sprung up.
At the end of the day, I don’t think it matters if you’re in the minority when it comes to particular musical theatre shows. As long as there are people out there who do appreciate them, they have a place, and that is exactly what If It Only Even Runs A Minute provides; a place for them.
This concert series originated in New York and made its UK debut back in April 2012, with such musical theatre performers as Cassidy Janson and Nicole Faraday kicking off the London edition at the Landor Theatre. For those who may not know, If It Only Even Runs A Minute is a concert evening which celebrates, “great musical theatre that’s been left unappreciated by today’s audiences.” The cast revisit those shows which left the theatre scene too soon through live performance and behind the scenes stories and photos, with last year’s concert featuring songs from musicals like The Fantasticks, Betty Blue Eyes and Ordinary Days.
A whole new batch of unappreciated musicals are being celebrated in London once again as If It Only Ever Runs A Minute returns to the UK for 2013. Fourteen musicals. Thirteen singers. Five musician. All in just one night of unique entertainment which any proud musical theatre fan would not want to miss out on. Presented by Oliver Southgate for Tinyhuge Ltd (in association with Ava Eldred) at the Hippodrome Casino on Sunday 20th October 2013, the cast for this year’s edition of the popular series are led by West End stars Simon Bailey (Phantom, Les Miserables, Passion) and Natalie Casey (Legally Blonde, Abigail’s Party, 9 to 5). They will be performing alongside such other West End talent as Damian Humbley, Sarah Ingram, Michael Matus and Matthew Rowland, as well as series regulars, Christopher Bartlett, Georgia Thomas and hosts/producers Oliver Southgate and Lydia Grant. There will also be special guest appearances from Richard Free and Ashley Stirling. This line-up of stage stars will be celebrating such musicals as The Biograph Girl, Romeo and Juliet, Nine Wives, Murderous Instincts, Dance A Little Closer, Lend Me A Tenor, Bat Boy, Evening Primrose, Dogfight, Kelly, The Wedding Singer and YEE-HAW!!
This award-winning concert series offers a rare opportunity to see these lesser-known musicals back on the stage for just one night only, with the added bonus of a stellar West End cast and live band. Musicals come and go, that is just the nature of this business. Sometimes though, they go before their time and are never afforded that chance to be fully appreciated for what they are. It’s an impossible task to please everyone, but the pleasure of the few is still nothing to be under-appreciated either. If It Only Even Runs A Minute is there for those theatre fans. Shows like Lend Me A Tenor, The Wedding Singer and The Fantasticks all had their own following, and even though they may not have run for very long, they were all still important parts of the theatre industry. This Sunday, a West End cast and their audience are going to come together to celebrate these fallen productions and prove that, though they may be gone, in the minds of many, they have not been forgotten.
By Julie Robinson (missjulie25)
Tuesday 15th October 2013
If It Only Even Runs A Minute takes place at the London Hippodrome Casino on Sunday 20th October 2013.