Before Christmas, I wrote a blog about the Jingle Balls cabaret night at the Delfont Room, making mention that it was the last cabaret of 2011. Well guess what, it’s not 2011 anymore. No, we’ve entered the grand old age of 2012, which means the start of an all-new cabaret season and, in celebration of this, I’ve listed my Top Three picks (in date order, not preference) for upcoming cabarets in these next few months:
JANUARY – An Evening With Chris Passey and Friends
Midlands-based musical theatre composer, Chris Passey, released his debut album in November 2011 – Self Taught, Still Learning: The Songs of Chris Passey – which features eleven original compositions from his concept musical, Bridges. Passey’s songs are predominantly big, emotional ballads, performed on the album by some of the West End’s biggest stars, such as Liam Tamne (Les Mis), Simon Lipkin (Rock of Ages), Siobhan Dillon (Ghost), Ross Hunter (Legally Blonde) Mark Evans (Ghost), and more. With its soaring melodies and heartfelt lyrics, it’s no wonder Passey’s music has been so widely well-received; the album was named ‘The Best CD Release of 2011’ yesterday in an online theatre poll and has helped to establish Passey as one of the UK’s best and brightest young composers.
Carrie James Productions, the up-and-coming production company behind recent cabaret We’ll Meet Again, is celebrating Passey’s recent success (in collaboration with Big World Theatre Company) by presenting An Evening With Chris Passey and Friends at the Leicester Square Theatre on 22nd January 2012. To help him showcase a selection of songs from the album, Passey has invited along some special guests: Stephen Webb, Nathan Taylor, Joseph Connor, Allyson Ava-Brown, Kieran Brown, David Brewis, Matthew Barrow, Nadine Cox, Ziggie Sky Ward and Danny Lane, supported by students from the MTA. He will also be joined by Mark Petty of exciting composing team, Anderson & Petty, with Kieran Brown and Shona White performing some of their work. Speaking about the cabaret, Passey said, “I am overwhelmed and excited about the entire evening and can’t believe the amazing guests and friends that are involved, giving their time freely for charity and new musical theatre!”
Proceeds from albums sales are divided between Cancer Research UK and MS Society and An Evening With…is, along with raising awareness for both charities, donating all funds raised through the event as well. With so many reasons to come along, you can take your pick – just so long as you’re there.
FEBRUARY – Gigging4Good
Everyone loves a great musical gig, so if you’re organising one, why not do some good through it too? That is exactly what Giggin4Good aims to do with its seasonal cabarets. Its last event was the 2011 Summer Showcase, which featured the likes of Tim Prottey-Jones, the composer behind new musical After The Turn at the Courtyard Theatre this month, and West End stars Liam Tamne (Les Mis), Alexia Khadime (Les Mis), Hannah Levane (Sister Act UK tour), Lincoln Stone (Legally Blonde), Victoria Hamilton Barritt (Flashdance) and George Ure (Wicked), who said of Giggin4Good, “It does exactly what it says on the tin. It offers a wonderfully diverse evening of entertainment in aid of a truly worthy cause”.
Now, Giggin4Good is coming back to St Paul’s (The Actors’) Church in Covent Garden once again with their 2012 Winter Showcase on 5th February and it’s looking to be a corker. As they did in the summer, they are fundraising in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital – last year’s event raised a total of £2,000 for the charity. The wonderful performers mentioned above are returning to lend their vocal talents to the cause, but this time they’ve got some new faces to keep them company. Sabrina Aloueche, who was most recently seen playing Scaramouche in hit musical We Will Rock You, will be joining the party, along with Rock of Ages’ Twinnie Lee Moore, Rosa O’Reilly, Sarah Lark, Rosie Clarkson and Queen of the Sopranos, Rebecca Caine.
Giggin4Good also continues to support new writing by inviting singer/songwriter Joe Sterling along. Sterling, who is currently touring with The Jungle Book, is working on his debut album, which features guest vocalists such as Jonathan Williams, Rhiannon Porter, Jack Shalloo, Ashleigh Jones, Adam Bayjou and Killian Donnelly. You can hear three of the album tracks on the night, performed by Ross Hunter, Christopher Orton and Joe himself. Even more exciting though is the inclusion of the new musical, My Land’s Shore. From the creative minds of Christopher Orton and Robert Gould, My Land’s Shore has been in development for the past ten years and is finally making its mark on the theatrical world. It boasts a stellar cast which includes Jonathan Williams, Kelly-Anne Gower, Gareth Richards, Sarah Lark, Rhiannon Porter, Killian Donnelly, Alexis James, as well as a phenomenal ensemble. The CD of a selection of the musical’s songs is due for release in the next few weeks and at Giggin4Good, a thirty-minute slot has been presented to the MLS cast and creatives to showcase some of those songs. Gloriously rich music, powerful lyrics and some truly stunning voices – and with the added bonus of the church surroundings and acoustics – you really don’t want to miss out on the experience of hearing the songs of MLS performed live in front of you.
MARCH – Rebecca Caine LIVE at The Pheasantry
Whether you are a fan of the theatre or not, you will have most likely heard the name of Rebecca Caine at some point. Best known in musical theatre circles for originating the role of Cosette in Les Miserables and playing Christine in The Phantom of the Opera opposite Colm Wilkinson, Rebecca Caine is equally celebrated for her contributions to the world of Opera.
Last year, she appeared at The King’s Head in a re-worked jazz-themed production of Italian opera The Coronation of Poppea by Mark Ravenhill and Alex Silverman and regularly performed with John Owen-Jones, Earl Carpenter and Matthew Camelle in The Three Phantoms concert tours around the UK. She was also involved in the Dress Circle Benefit Gala, performing with Jon Robyns and Frances Ruffelle for ‘A Heart Full of Love’ and a reprisal of ‘Think of Me’.
On 25th March 2012, you can head down to popular cabaret spot, The Pheasantry, for a night with Rebecca Caine, who will be hosting a solo concert there. In this wonderfully intimate venue, you have the opportunity to experience her beautiful soprano tones up close and personal; an opportunity not to be missed. With her wicked wit, up-front honesty and performing numbers such as The Pole-Dancing aria from Anna Nicole – The Opera, it’s sure to be a highly entertaining night.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
6th January 2012