A fantastic new event launches this month: the York New Musical Festival. The festival has been launched to encourage the writing and performing of one Britain’s greatest art forms: musical theatre.
Held at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, it aims to be a launching pad for a diverse array of new musicals, and provide an affordable way for artists to mount professional productions.
“We hope to discover, nurture, and promote promising artists at all stages of development, and seek to inspire diverse audiences through vibrant, accessible, powerful new work,” said Jim Welsman, performer and festival director.
We asked Jim to choose his six favourite musicals of all time. Here are his choices…
A brilliant stage show now made in to a film. Still like the stage show best. Would die for a chance to play Thenardier…
Fiddler On The Roof
Having played the part of Tevye this is a musical which has everything – humour, pathos, laughter and tears – great family entertainment.
Titanic The Musical
Having been instrumental in securing the rights to perform the UK premiere, this story of one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century is brilliantly told, built around the lives of real people with stunning music. As Captain Smith, the cast and I tried to empathise with the many well known real people that have been depicted in countless films.
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Another classic story with atmospheric music by Frank Wildhorn who also wrote the musical Jekyll & Hyde. The Scarlet Pimpernel (Sir Percy Blakeney) and his gang of English aristocrats have a romping good time as fops in the English court and then transform to daring adventurers thwarting the reign of terror in France by rescuing their french counterparts with the inevitable love story thrown in for good measure!
The Boy Friend
This musical by Sandy Wilson is typically English recounting the exploits of the English upper classes on holiday on the French Riviera during the Roaring Twenties. The story is frothy and fun, charming and silly, with toe tapping songs and I loved being a “sugar daddy” of a character, monocle and all!
Wright and Forrest magically translated the music of Borodin into an Arabian Nights tale. The stage show (of its time) was a spectacle to see with great songs. As the Wazir I took great delight in my harem of “delights”. Later made into a film with lavish costumes and set, starring Howard Keel, Ann Blyth and Dolores Gray.