A Night At The Musicals 2014 | Bangkok Post: Lifestyle


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A Night At The Musicals 2014


Period:17 Oct 2014 - 17 Oct 2014

Address:14, Ratchadaphisek Rd., Huai Khwang, Huai Khwang, Bangkok 10310 Thailand

Tel:+662-254-4954, +662-255-6617/8

Service day:Friday, Service hours: 20:00-00:00

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Official description

Another feast of favourite show tunes will be presented by the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra Foundation at the Thailand Cultural Centre, on Oct 17 at 8pm.

Held as part of the “Great Artists Concert Series 2014”, the “A Night At The Musicals” concert will see the return of maestro Michael England, renowned musical director from London’s West End, who last year directed a similar event at the same venue.

He will be joined by the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra and two star vocalists — John Owen-Jones and Leila Benn Harris, who will sing a mixture of solo numbers and duets from 14 hit musicals.

The programme will feature classic songs from The Phantom Of The Opera, Miss Saigon, A Chorus Line, The Sound Of Music and Guys And Dolls.

There will also be songs from Les Misérables,
a production in which Owen-Jones and Benn Harris have both starred. Owen-Jones was the youngest actor ever to play Jean Valjean in the play’s West End production. In a worldwide poll, fans of the show voted him the “Best Ever Valjean”. He is one of only a few actors to have also starred in the role on Broadway. Benn Harris has played the role of Eponine many times, and will perform the character’s powerful song On My Own during the concert.

Tickets cost 500-2,500 baht and can be purchased from Thai Ticket Major (www.thaiticketmajor.com).

Visit www.bangkoksymphony.org or call 02-255-6617/8 or 02-254-4954.


Editorial Reviews

Another feast of favourite show tunes will be presented by the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra Foundation at the Thailand Cultural Centre, on Oct 17 at 8pm.

Tiny Tim, the Sex Pistols and English men and women for 90 years have been singing There Will Always Be An England.

And for the second time in the past two years, Bangkok will hum along with the English musical spirit, with a show including razzmatazz, sentiment, old favourites and even a few songs from that ex-colony across the Atlantic Ocean called America, in "A Night At The Musicals" on Friday.

For Bangkok audiences, though, there will always be a Michael England. As he did last year for a sold out, highly enthusiastic audience, this distinguished conductor, orchestrator and musical director will be leading the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra. Bangkok’s gain is the West End’s loss, since Michael England was musical director for the area’s production of Les Misérables, The Phantom Of The Opera, Spamalot, The Producers, Jerry Springer: The Opera and Doctor Doolittle. He also served as assistant musical director for London’s production of Miss Saigon.

Just three years ago, England made his conducting debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra in a concert at Buckingham Palace, in the presence of Prince Charles. He has also worked at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and has conducted symphony orchestras worldwide including the Royal Scottish National Symphony, National Symphony, Stockholm Sinfonietta and the Slovenia Radio Symphony.

The last time around, highlights of the England-BSO concert included songs from the West End’s most exciting shows. This year, some of these same shows will make an appearance, some with the same songs, others with new numbers, including the evening’s especially-composed West End Overture.

Andrew Lloyd Webber will be the show-stopping composer of the evening, with no less than four of his shows highlighted. I Believe My Heart comes from The Woman In White. Then come the theme songs from Love Never Dies and Starlight Express, with an addition from Love Never Dies — Til I Hear You Sing. From Aspects Of Love comes the number Love Changes Everything. A suite from Evita will also be performed.

Claude-Michel Schoenberg was composer for what is perhaps the most popular show ever on Broadway, the West End and stages worldwide — Les Misérables. On Friday’s show John Owen-Jones, who is considered one of the classic performers of Jean Valjean, will sing four songs, along with actress Leila Benn Harris. Owen-Jones has played the role many times, including a specially commissioned concert version on BBC Radio 2, as well as its 21st anniversary production.

In a worldwide online poll, Owen-Jones was voted the “Best Ever Valjean” and “Best Ever Performer” in Les Miserables by fans of the show. He is one of few actors to have played the role of Valjean in the West End and on Broadway.

Schoenberg is equally well-known for Miss Saigon, and the Bangkok orchestra will play a suite from the show, arranged by England, along with the song that brought down the Bangkok house last year, The Last Night Of The World. The big difference between last year and this year’s concert will be the inclusion of US numbers. Bangkok has long been in love with The Sound Of Music, and Harris will take the place of Julie Andrews in a rendition of its theme song.

Harris is perhaps the ideal actress for this part. Trained at the Arts Educational School, her theatre credits include a role in Enron at the Royal Court Theatre and UK Tour; Laurey in Oklahoma! at the Chichester Festival Theatre; Rebecca in Imagine This at the New London Theatre; Christine in The Phantom Of The Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre; Carmen in Fame — The Musical at the Aldwych Theatre and UK Tour; and Chess In Concert (selections from which she will also offer here) at the Royal Albert Hall.

Another American musical, one which revolutionised the musical industry, is Chorus Line, from which the orchestra will play a suite, as well as the music from Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Nearly all the music was written in the second golden age of musicals, a time spanning the past few decades. England has added even more songs from more musicals, even some encores (which will remain secret until the performance).

From the first golden age — that of George Gershwin and Rodgers and Hart — comes one of the most extraordinary composers and lyricists in the history of music. Cole Porter can stand rank alongside Stephen Sondheim and Noel Coward, with words and music than have remained relevant for almost a century.

The words of You’re The Top, from the musical Anything Goes, which will be performed, have changed for each era. But who isn’t still entranced with the words? (“You’re the top!/You’re Mahatma Gandhi/You’re the top!/You’re Napoleon Brandy/You’re the purple light/Of a summer night in Spain/You’re the National Gallery/ You’re Garbo’s salary/You’re cellophane.”)

So for this Bangkok show, why not substitute a new verse?

Such as, “You’re the top!/ You’re a Webber vocal./ You’re the Top! /Both worldwide and local./ You’re Mike E’s baton, /Owen-Jones, John, Benn Harris too/ With the Bangkok strings/So many things/ And all on cue.”

On the other hand, let’s stick with Cole Porter’s original.

"A Night At The Musicals" will take place at Thailand Cultural Centre, on Friday at 8pm. Tickets cost 500-2,500 baht and are available from Thai Ticket Major (www.thaiticketmajor.com). Visit www.bangkoksymphony.org or call 02-255-6617–8 or 02-254-4954.

John Owen-Jones.
Leila Benn Harris.
Michael England.


14, Ratchadaphisek Rd., Huai Khwang, Huai Khwang, Bangkok 10310 Thailand

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