I’ve always wanted to use today’s post title, but never quite found a good enough reason to do so. However, today I think I have a good enough reason.
I am privileged to announce that I am going out on a very lengthy tour, for the first time in many a year, as Musical Director for the first UK/Eire tour of Wicked. This Musical is undoubtedy a phenomenon having now been running on Broadway for ten years and here in London’s West End for seven, but it’s longevity; so often put down to the favour it is held in by a broad audience demographic and the portrayal of two feisty, strong women, actually belies the fact that the piece is supremely crafted in every detail. In actuality its immediate popularity, with that sense of easy familiarity for audiences, is an illusion of finely wrought and beautifully disguised narrative genius through its three contingent structural aspects: music, lyrics and book.
Exactly how all this works will no doubt be forthcoming in a to-be-published book by Paul R. Laird, who is also the author of Wicked: A Musical Biography, and so I don’t need to say anything more on this. When it comes out, read it. Mr. Laird writes in a very engaging style.
The cast for the 10th Anniversary UK/Eire tour includes former West End cast members Nikki Davis-Jones, Emily Tierney and George Ure will star as Elphaba, Glinda and Boq respectively. Also heading the forthcoming tour cast will be Liam Doyle as Fiyero, Marilyn Cutts as Madame Morrible, Dale Rapley as The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond, Carina Gillespie as Nessarose and Jemma Alexander as Standby Elphaba. It’s a wonderful cast and I am very much looking forward to working with each and every member of the ensemble.
We also have an exceptional orchestra for the tour who travel with us. So many truly fine, talented and generous folk in this outfit. I feel like I’m being spoiled frankly. The Music Supervisor is Wicked London’s MD, James Draisey and it is a tremendous pleasure to work with him.
What really impresses me about the people who put all this together (the executive producer, producers, general management, casting director et al.) is not their expertise and professionalism – you just take that ‘as read’ – but their absolute passion for excellence in every aspect of what they do. It’s quite tangible when you experience it. The impact of this, is that it makes individual, small contributions; including mine, to what will be an undoubted standout tour, that so much more pleasurable. Thank you to everyone at Playful Productions.
Hopefully whilst on tour, I’ll get some opportunities to talk to young performers wanting to learn musical theatre songs and meet aspiring musical theatre songwriters and lyricists throughout the UK. This is one of the great joys of touring – meeting new people! Come and say hello. I’ll be the guy in black, with the stick, with his back to the audience!