In recent months, there have been several not-to-miss nights of musical theatre entertainment, standing apart from the West End and Off West End productions to be found in London. The Giggin4Good summer showcase for example, which took place at The Actor’s Church on 31st July 2013, was featured in one of my blogs not so long ago. If there have been some special events already been and gone though, there are plenty more still to come. One of these is the return performance of a promising composing talent from across the Pond: Jonathan Reid Gealt.
This American singer/songwriter is someone who is making waves in the musical theatre world big enough to reach our shores. Having previously performed in the UK, he is coming back to regale our London theatre fans once again with a selection of his addictively listenable compositions as part of the St James’ Studio Cabaret Weekend. On Sunday 15th September, Gealt will be showcasing songs from both his albums and exclusives from his new work-in-progress musical adaption of Dust and Shadow – with a little help from some familiar faces.
His new album, Here For You: Ballads for Broadway Impact, was released earlier this year (30th April 2013) and has an array of performances to knock you off your feet, featuring the vocal talents of such names as Caissie Levy, Loren Allred, Jeremy Jordan and Natalie Weiss, to name a few. Produced by Gealt alongside James Bilodeau, Matt Hinkley and Brian Parker (Parker & Friends Inc.), a portion of all album sales are to be donated to Broadway Impact, an organisation comprised of people from both in and out of the theatre industry in support of marriage equality. The album has sold all around the world and rivalled some of its most successful artists, such as Beyonce. He’ll be celebrating this success, and also that from his first time around, by asking some of his favourite West End stars to join him on 25th September for a unique display of his musical creativity. Guest vocalists already confirmed to be performing at the UK concert are West End stars include:
Matthew Barrow, Craig Colton, Scott Garnham, Kelly-Anne Gower, Danielle Hope, Stuart Matthew Price, Ceili O’Connor, Gloria Onitiri, Jennifer Tierney and Rebecca Trehearn.
Gealt’s UK premiere came at St Andrew Holburn in November 2011. The Songs of Jonathan Read Gealt showcased songs from his debut album, Thirteen Stories Down, which featured 13 tracks reflecting events from his own life. I attended the concert after being introduced to his music and have rarely found myself so praising of an unknown’s work, which is why the news of his return-performance is worth reporting on.
There is also an added bonus attached to Gealt’s concert, which offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform one of his songs onstage. He is to select a winner from the selection of hopefuls who have submitted video applications, who will then join Gealt onstage on the night to perform his signature song ‘Quiet’. Where only one lucky member of the public was originally to be chosen, the overwhelming demand for the concert has led to Gealt adding a second date – and a second winner. Another live concert will now take place on Saturday 14th September 2013 at the same venue, and there will be a winning performer for each concert.
Jonathan Reid Gealt is a name that you may or may not be familiar with, but it is one that every theatre fan should certainly know. A brilliant talent, he is one of that select group of promising composers who may just be the future of musical theatre. His return concerts offer the chance to get a little glimpse of that future, right now.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Thursday 22nd August 2013