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West End concerts: BRAVA and The Very Best of Rodgers and Hammerstein

One of the virtues of theatre is the variety available to theatre fans – and I don’t just mean in the content of West End shows. There are always plenty of opportunities out there to see your favourite performers or hear the music of a favoured composer and in the coming months, there are a number of pretty great ones.

I wrote a blog this week on Momentous Musicals, the gala concert that is being presented in July by Speckulation Entertainment and headed by Gareth Gates and Rachael Wooding. There are another two musical theatre concert events coming up in April that merit a little mentioning – the first being BRAVA.

BRAVA is a charity musical theatre concert which is fundraising for Shooting Star CHASE, the Surrey-based hospice charity that cares for local families with a child or teenager with a life-limiting condition. Presented by Alex Parker Productions in their debut event on 1st April 2012 at G Live, BRAVA will feature songs from all genres of musical theatre, performed by a long line-up of West End singers. Names already announced include Fra Fee (Dirty Dancing, Les Miserables), Ashley Robinson (Wicked, Floyd Collins), Clive Rowe (Guys and Dolls, Company), Lucy Schaufer (The Light in the Piazza, On The Town) Caroline Sheen (Mary Poppins, Les Miserables) and Laura Tebbutt (Les Miserables, The Wizard of Oz), led by the renowned Maria Friedman (The Woman in White, Passion, Ragtime, The Witches of Eastwick).  Other big names involved in the concert are TV funnyman Matt Lucas, who enjoyed a recent West End run as Thernadier in Les Miserables following his performance in the 25th Anniversary concert at the O2, and the successful British composing team of George Stiles and Antony Drewe who have written popular shows such as Honk!, Betty Blue Eyes, Mary Poppins and Soho Cinders. Students from the GSA will also be performing onstage in the concert, which will include a full orchestra conducted by Alex Parker and led by Emily Davis. Songs which feature on the night come from a wide wealth of material, with contributions from the works of Stephen Sondheim, Marvin Hamlisch, Jason Carr, Adam Guetell, Stiles & Drewe and Rodgers & Hammerstein being but a few of them.

The last composing duo listed there leads me nicely on to the other concert event I wanted to make mention of. On 15th April 2012 at the Royal Albert Hall, several West End performers take to the stage for a Sunday afternoon in celebration of the music of the esteemed Rodgers & Hammerstein. The Very Best of Rodgers and Hammerstein will feature some of the greatest songs from the America composing team, including Oh, What A Beautiful Morning (Oklahoma), My Favourite Things, Climb Ev’ry Mountain (The Sound of Music), When I Marry Mr Snow, You’ll Never Walk Alone (Carousel), I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair, Some Enchanted Evening (South Pacific) and Shall We Dance?, Getting To Know You, I Have Dreamed (The King and I). Performing these classic songs and many more will be West End vocalists Mary Carewe, Ria Jones, Graham Bickley and Michael Dore. Musical accompaniment comes from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with musical direction by David Firmin.

Between the shows in the West End, the regular number of cabarets with talented West End performers and such prestigious concerts as these, theatregoers are certainly looking to be spoiled for choice in deciding what to see in 2012.

By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)

Sunday 25th March 2012


  • MissJulie

    Julie is a theatre enthusiast, and is particularly keen on new writing. She writes articles each week for our website including a popular weekly ‘In Profile’ which features actors and actresses that are not in lead roles and are often in the Ensemble.

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