Metta Theatre and Aria Entertainment – two of the UK’s leading production companies devoted to British musical theatre – are pleased to announce that they are joining forces to produce a brand-new life-affirming musical THE RHYTHMICS. With book and lyrics by Metta’s Artistic Director Poppy Burton-Morgan, and music & lyrics from Stiles&Drewe award winner Ben Glasstone (Reanimator), THE RHYTHMICS explores the crisis of masculinity via a collection of oddballs belting their way through a thrillingly catchy guitar-led score.
Hapless single-dad Grey is in a rut. Teenage daughter Silva packs him off to revive his rockstar dreams, successfully auditioning for ‘Nick & the Rhythmics’ only to realise… he’s actually signed up for an All-male Rhythmic Gymnastics troupe. Against the odds these burly blokes make it as far as the World Championships – twirling their ‘ribbons of fire’ – and along the way Grey finally learns to commit to life. Calendar Girls meets Full Monty in this joyous new British musical.
Thanks to emergency support from Arts Council England, a hugely successful Crowdfunder campaign, which exceeded its original target, alongside Metta Theatre reserve funds, the producers have been able to record the entire cast album (under socially distanced rules in the studio). Artists involved include Neil McDermott (EastEnders, Pretty Woman) and Olivier award nominee Kelly Price (A Little Night Music, Sunday In the Park With George).
The producers are pleased to be able to release the first exclusive track ‘WAITING TO BEGIN’ ahead of the full release of the album on Spotify and iTunes in August, as well as an accompanying video.
‘WAITING TO BEGIN’ (one of the winners for the Stiles& Drewe song prize 2019) is sung by Stage debut Award winner Sam Thomas (‘Connor’) and Kinny Gardner (‘Sid’). In this number, Connor and Sid are two members of Nick and The Rhythmics – Manchester’s premier all-male rhythmic gymnastics performance ensemble. Despite the 40-year age gap they find each-other bonding together in the pub, over their shared sense of never having quite found their ‘thing’ in life. The video includes footage from a 2019 workshop, as well as Thomas and Gardner recording in isolation at home in June.
As well as the cast album, the producers are working on a full music video of the track ‘GOT YOUR BACK’ with fully integrated BSL choreography from Mark Smith (Artistic Director for Deaf Men Dancing), as well as captioning, in order to make it fully accessible to deaf and hard of hearing audiences. This will also be released in August.
Established in 2005 by Poppy Burton-Morgan and Motley trained Designer William Reynolds, Metta Theatre has been at the forefront of new work – with a strong focus on the development of new British musical theatre. After their smash hit street-dance Jungle Book (Theatre Royal Windsor & UK tour), circus-musical Little Mermaid (Theatre By The Lake & UK tour) and In The Willows (Exeter Northcott & UK tour) the award-winning Metta Theatre bring you their first original British musical. Other productions include Mouthful (Trafalgar Studios) and Arab Nights (Soho Theatre & UK tour). They are known for combining emotionally powerful performances with imaginative theatricality and striking visual style. Metta Theatre is one of the UK’s leading mid-scale touring companies – making exceptional theatre and opera that represents and celebrates the diversity of our world.
Aria Entertainment was founded in 2012 by Katy Lipson. In 2017, Katy was awarded the Best Producer award by the Off-West End Awards and is a recipient of a Stage One Bursary and Start Up Award. She took part in the first-ever UK/US Producer Exchange in 2019 and was nominated for International Producer Of The Year in 2020 by the League Of Professional Women in New York. She made “The Stage 100” a list of the most influential people working in British Theatre in 2018, 2019 and 2020 for her work as producing artistic director of the Hope Mill Theatre.
Poppy Burton-Morgan, who earlier this year won the Writers Guild of Great Britain Award for musical theatre book writing for In the Willows – The Hip Hop musical (which toured the UK in 2019), said “The future may remain uncertain, but I know that when theatres do reopen there’s going to be such a hunger for the kind of emotionally rich and complex new musical theatre that I write. I’m so thrilled that Katy shares our passion for this life-affirming show. We can’t wait to share the songs with you all very soon, and hopefully dates for the world premiere too…”
Waiting To Begin
Katy Lipson said, “I couldn’t be more excited to be collaborating with Metta Theatre on this heartening new show and I hope it is the first of many future collaborations. As soon as I read the synopsis and heard a few tracks of the material, I knew I wanted to be part of its journey. I am looking forward to sharing these characters and their story and this great score with audiences.”