This year Her Majesty the Queen will become the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years’ of outstanding service to the nation. Harrogate Theatre Choir is honouring this magnificent anniversary by theming our 2022 concert season ‘SEVENTY GLORIOUS YEARS (OF THE MUSICAL)’, and we are very much looking forward to singing some of the greatest songs from this period for our audiences.
People love musicals for many different reasons. Some love the music, some the meaningful lyrics, others love the whole magical atmosphere of the theatre. It’s also intriguing that just about any story can be told in a musical form. From the life and reputation of America’s first Secretary of the Treasury, to a barber with a desire for vengeance, slitting throats randomly while his partner in crime bakes them into meat pies….don’t we just love them all!
So looking back over the decades, our first stop is the 1950s and what a rich seam of music we find there. Firstly, the American film ‘Sunset Boulevard’. Gloria Swanson starred in the role of Norma Desmond, an ageing silent movie star who dreamt of returning to the big screen. Andrew Lloyd Webber brought ‘Sunset Boulevard’ to the West End in 1993 and we will be performing the beautiful ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye’ for our audiences. However, don’t think for a minute that we could possibly miss out a few songs from ‘South Pacific’ and ‘West Side Story’! We also couldn’t overlook ‘Singing in the Rain’, a 1952 film co-directed by, and co-starring, the energetic and athletic dancer Gene Kelly. He transformed the movie musical and did much to change the public’s perception of male dancers at that time.
Didn’t the 1960s bring us so many classic musicals? So many to choose from but we’ll definitely be taking you down memory lane with a selection of timeless and spirited songs from ‘Oliver’. From all the many great 1960s films and shows, how could we possibly leave out two of our favourites….. ‘Moon River’ from ‘Breakfast at Tiffanys’, as well as ‘Big Spender’ from ‘Sweet Charity’?
‘Hair’, ‘Cabaret’, ‘Evita’, ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, ‘Oklahoma!’, all hit the stage in the 1970s…. and some of the songs from these great shows are just as popular today as they were back then. We may well dip into a few of these but, for your enjoyment, we’ve also chosen to sing some of our favourites from ‘A Chorus Line’, ‘Sweeney Todd’ and ‘Chicago’. We’ll leave you to guess which ones they’ll be! One of Stephen Sondheim’s greatest musicals was his 1973 Broadway production of ‘A Little Light Music’. A small ensemble of sopranos and altos are busy practising one of the most popular songs from this musical, ‘Send In The Clowns’ which is always well received by our audiences.
It wasn’t easy choosing songs from the many great musicals of the 1980s….this was the decade that brought us ‘Les Miserables’, ‘Phantom of the Opera’, and ‘Miss Saigon’, to name but a few. Rest assured that we will be revisiting our back catalogue for a few of our favourites from this period. Another stand out musical of the 1980s was ‘Blood Brothers’ and we’ll definitely be including in our concert repertoire the beautiful song ‘Tell Me It’s Not True’.
One of our tributes to the 90s is the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical adaptation of ‘Whistle Down the Wind’. Originally a novel by Mary Bell, she based the three children in the story on her own children, including Hayley Mills. The book was made into a hugely successful film, being nominated for 4 BAFTA awards. The titular song ‘Whistle Down The Wind’ was one of the highlights from ALW’s musical version of this tremendous film and it’s a beautiful song for a choir.
Those who have listened to our debut album “BINGE”, will know that ‘Seasons of Love’ from the musical ‘Rent’ is in our repertoire. Not as well known as many, ‘Rent’ is loosely based on the opera ‘La Boheme’, and follows the ups and downs of a group of impoverished, artistic friends.
That takes care of 50 years….but who knew what treats were in store from 2000 onwards? Moving into the new millennium, one of the stand out musicals of the era was ‘Wicked’ which has broken box office records around the world. The song that just had to go into our repertoire is the signature song from the show, ‘Defying Gravity’. There were many great musicals in the Noughties……’Spring Awakening’ and ‘Billy Elliot’ are just two that we may dip into!
We’re definitely enjoying rehearsing and perfecting songs that have been written and performed over the last 70 years and we’ve still got a few more musicals up our sleeve from the modern era to add to our repertoire. 2010 saw Gary Barlow’s ‘The Girls’ hit the stage (based on the hugely successful film ‘Calendar Girls’) and the wonderful contemporary musical ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ opened on Broadway in 2016. If only we could sing them all….
A constant over the last 2-3 years for Harrogate Theatre Choir has been the songs from the 2017 film ’The Greatest Showman’ and one of our favourites is ‘From Now On’. It’s a powerful, emotional song performed by the character P T Barnum when he realises that he’s lost everything. We all enjoy singing this one so it had to be included in our concert repertoire!
The talk of the West End at the moment is the hit musical ‘Hamilton’ and we’re currently rehearsing one of the most popular songs of the show, “You’ll Be Back”. It’s a brilliant song, we thoroughly enjoy singing it and we aim to do it justice. We’ll let you be the judge of that!
So come and join us at one of our concerts this year…..and if you enjoy a sing along, all the better!
Join us for a most entertaining evening that takes a stroll through the feel good musicals of the 1940s and 50s, often known as the Golden Age Musicals. We’ll be singing favourites from Oklahoma, The King and I, The Sound of Music, South Pacific, Carousel, to name just a few. Our concert also aims to raise funds for the Boroughbridge Community Charity.Read more