Cyril Ornadel: The Doyen of British Musical Theatre Direction

Pickwick LP Cover
I just have to note the passing of the great British Musical Director and Composer, Cyril Ornadel (1924-2011) who passed away on June 22.

Cyril Ornadel (born 2 December 1924) was a British conductor, songwriter and composer chiefly in musical theatre.  Born in London, he studied at the Royal College of Music.  As well as being musical director for a number of major West End shows, he composed several musicals of his own, including Pickwick (1963) (lyrics by Leslie Bricusse), starring Sir Harry Secombe, Great Expectations (1975) starring Sir John Mills; both adapted from Charles Dickens, and Treasure Island (1973) adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson. Great Expectations and Treasure Island (both with lyrics by Hal Shaper) were designated Best British Musical at the Ivor Novello Awards. Continue Reading →

“The Mapmaker’s Opera (A New Musical)”

MapMakersOpera_Cue_25_Screen_ShotIt is with both relief and subdued excitement that we can announce the new Kazan/Purcell Musical, The Mapmaker’s Opera; based on the novel of the same name by Canadian author, Béa Gonzalez, is finally underway.

For those of you who do not know this novel, go buy it and read!

I know this has been on the backburner for far too long, and too many followers and fans of Rebecca-The Musical had given up all hope that I would ever start this piece, but the good news is that music and demos are forthcoming. The MMO web site needs some serious updating which we’ll be doing in the near future and lots of new content will be added.

So, what are the main issues to have caused the unprecedented delay in moving this project forward? In a word – FLAMENCO! Continue Reading →

“The Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space” PART 1

Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and SpaceI am absolutely thrilled to be part of the nine-person international jury for the forthcoming Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space – affectionately referred to as ‘PQ11’

Centred around a competitive world exhibition of theatre design (sound, sets, lights, projection and new technologies) with 62 countries represented, the upcoming edition of the Prague Quadrennial (the 12th) will also showcase designs from Continue Reading →

“The Curse of Opera and the Magic of Musical Theatre”

Kevin Purcell with Kristin Chenoweth at New York City Opera Gala, 21 April 2011

Kevin Purcell with Kristin Chenoweth at New York City Opera Gala, 21 April 2011

I have never been one for writing a Letter-to-the-Editor at a newspaper to complain (is it ever for any other purpose than to express outraged indignation, I wonder?) about asinine and ignorant comments proffered by a music or theatre critic.  Why?  I’ve never believed that people who actually read concert or theatre reviews care, or believe, what a critic really thinks: eschewing any tendencies to vicariousness – just as we do with weather forecasts by analogy now that I think about it – therein avoiding any possibility of self-recrimination in the certainty that the opposite must be true.

Alas, this perception was reinforced this week in a remarkably torpid review in The New York Times. Continue Reading →