The top 5 gay musicals… that aren’t

As someone who used to work in online LGBT news media, and who now works in theatrical media, Pink Paper’s “Top 5 gay West End musicals” article piqued my interest for multiple reasons when it turned up on Twitter.

Unfortunately, it’s so riddled with errors that it’s almost laughable.

The West End has never had so much competition attracting tourists as the capital has become the place to be this summer.

Rather than give up, the industry has pulled out all the stops to entice eager theatre fans, and it seems they have followed the advice of theatre producer Max Bialystock, following the manta: “whatever you do on the stage, keep it snappy, keep it happy, keep it gay!”.

Unfortunately, while that quote does indeed come from The Producers, where Max Bialystock and business Leo Bloom attempt to create an über-camp pro-Nazi musical with the hope of fleecing their investors, the line quoted comes from the director they hire, Roger De Bris, and not Bialystock.

And if West End producers really were following the “manta” [sic], surely all five musicals would be gay, or gay-themed? Instead, only one of the five could be said to be gay-themed – and it’s neither a musical nor in the West End.

Continue reading The top 5 gay musicals… that aren’t

South Downs/The Browning Version press night party

I didn’t get to see South Downs/The Browning Version on Tuesday, which was press night – we went on Wednesday instead – but I was there at the party afterwards to take photos for The Stage, a selection of which are below.

The slideshow requires Flash: to see the full set of photos, you can also visit my Flickr pages.

All rights reserved. Do not copy any photographs without permission.

Coming soon: Our House the Musical comes to HIgh Wycombe

I get a load of press releases about theatrical productions at work. Mostly I either ignore them, or pass them on to more relevant people*. However, I just wanted to share this poster for the Wycombe Swan’s forthcoming youth project – a production of the Madness jukebox musical Our House:

[media-credit name=”Jamie Sansom” align=”aligncenter” width=”415″]Our House - Wycombe Swan[/media-credit]It always gladdens the heart when a design comes through that is more than just a photo with a couple of straplines attached.

Continue reading Coming soon: Our House the Musical comes to HIgh Wycombe

The Union ♥ Wilton’s aftershow party

While we’re on the subject of photoshoots, exactly a week prior to seeing Children of Eden, I was fulfilling a similar function at The Union ♥ Wilton’s, a showcase of numbers from The Union Theatre’s recent repertoire of musicals, performed at (and in aid of) Wilton’s Music Hall in East London. Wilton’s has a unique atmosphere (and I don’t mean in that musty, damp way that the Union itself had) – it’s a genuinely beautiful, character-filled space which also lends a unique acoustic air to shows that are put on there. Unfortunately it is literally falling apart at the seams, and after being turned down for Lottery funding its present Capital Fund is struggling to maintain the building in its current state, let alone perform the repairs that can ensure this magnificent space can be savoured for generations to come.

It was a beautiful evening of theatre, and I’d like to thank the organisers of the evening for the invitation to share it with them.

To find out more about Wilton’s and its Capital project, go to www.wiltons.org.uk.

Children of Eden aftershow party

Yesterday, I was kindly invited by Kevin Wilson PR to attend a charity concert in aid of Crohn’s and Colitis UK, with a one-off performance of Stephen Schwartz’s musical Children of Eden. With a book by John Caird and best on the book of Genesis, as Bibically inspired musicals go, it’s… well, it’s better than Godspell.

Seriously, there were some great musical performances (especially from Louise Dearman and Lauren Samuels) and it was great to see so many current and future West End stars come together, donating their time for such a worthy cause.

The reason I was invited was, once again, to take party pictures for The Stage. Because Friday was the company’s own annual party, the pictures won’t be in the paper until February 8 at the earliest, but you can see them here first. They’re also visible on my Flickr account.

Crohn’s and Colitis UK homepage

Above the Stag’s 3rd birthday party

For the third of my party collections to be featured in this week’s issue of The Stage (see also the Sheffied Crucible 40th birthday party and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas press night), I went to Above the Stag’s 3rd birthday party.

This theatre, established in a room above the Stag gay pub in Victoria, has established a reputation of hosting mostly gay, often musical productions that are usually highly enjoyable. Monday’s event saw a collection of monologues, short scenes and musical numbers from recent shows. Even those productions which didn’t work too well in full length could contribute something pithy, moving and/or funny to the mix, resulting in a highly enjoyable evening.

Best Little Whorehouse in Texas press night photos

The same day as the Sheffield Crucible 40th birthday party, I went to the Union Theatre to see a revival of the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, which I reviewed for The Stage. And then after the show, the Union’s small bar space played host to the cast and producers.

Sheffield Crucible’s 40th birthday party

I haven’t updated the blog recently — a sign, as ever, that I’m quite busy. I’ve been at several parties recently as a photographer for The Stage – so much so that, once again, this week’s back page ‘Scene Around’ section exclusively uses my photos.

The first party of the batch was a lunchtime celebration marking the Sheffield Crucible’s 40th anniversary. The actual anniversary is next month and will be marked by events at the Crucible itself, but last week artistic director Daniel Evans and the Crucible team came down to the Delfont Room in the Prince of Wales Theatre to celebrate with their London-based friends.

Third Floor press night afterparty

Last night I went to the press night of Third Floor, a new play by Jason Hall, starring Craig Gazey and Emily Head – both most recognisable in public eyes for their recent television roles (Coronation Street and The Inbetweeners respectively).

Afterwards, I went along to the afterparty for the usual The Stage photo duties. A selection will be in next week’s paper, but some are included below.

Cool Hand Luke afterparty

Last night, I went to the press night of Cool Hand Luke, a new stage adaptation of the book that was previously adapted as a film starring Paul Newman. I may well write up a review shortly, but I have a pile of hard-boiled eggs to get through first…

Anyway, the main reason I was there was, once again, to snap some pictures for The Stage‘s party pages. The sprawling party, spread across several huge rooms of the Waldorf Astoria, made it hard to find all the celebrities who were there – but a selection of snaps I did manage to get are below.