Andrew Corcoran

musical direction - piano/keyboards - music preparation

Off to Curve

Today, rehearsals for the Matilda tour reached a milestone. After eight weeks, we had completed our work in the rehearsal rooms and are now ready to begin our next month of preparation. The days have often been long, running 10am-8pm up to six days a week, but the sheer fact that it is this wonderful score and script that we get to work on has kept a bounce in the step of every company member as we have strode in to work each frosty morning.

The reason for the lengthier rehearsal process is to ensure the children are as knowledgable as possible in regards to every aspect of their show, especially when it comes to safely performing the staging and choreography. Also as there are up to three children covering each character (four in the case of Matilda), sequences have to be run multiple times. This week alone we have had to do four full runs of the show in the main hall.

I'm having a truly wonderful time discovering the score. There are so many layers to peel back and still much work to be done, especially in regards to adding in the band and working with sound. There are just over four weeks to go until our first performance. All the songs have now been taught, so in that respect it's a case of maintaining the high standard we have set.

There are moments in the rehearsal room where I've figuratively stepped back and reminded myself what an incredible tour this is to be a part of. The children are ridiculously inspirational and I have a feeling this is all going to be a lot of fun on the road! Tomorrow I leave for week 1 of 7 in Leicester, ready for technical rehearsals to begin at Curve on Monday. Soon the tour will really feel underway.

In The Beginning

2018 officially begins, although for me the new year began on December 11th when rehearsals for the Matilda tour got underway.

We have spent three weeks concentrating on songs, choreography and scenes that involve the children in the cast. The sheer amount of information they have to take in means all of this extra time before the adults start is very much used! These preliminary weeks also allow stage management, wardrobe and the rest of the production staff to ready the rehearsal spaces properly for rehearsals in January, with brand new props and elements of the set appearing in the space. Tomorrow, Tuesday 2nd January, is when the adults begin their rehearsals ahead of the official company Meet & Greet on Wednesday.

The children have been working very hard, especially impressive considering they've had to battle the distraction of the festive season! I managed a quick visit to Cheshire to spend Christmas itself with my parents. It was just the three of us this year, as my sister and her husband are working in Berlin through the winter, but a very pleasant (and relaxing) day was had. I am now once again trying to relax on New Year's Day before the madness of rehearsal gets going again!

January is fairly straightforward: rehearse the Matilda company six days a week, rest on the seventh. Any divine intervention is of course welcome.

Hamilton was excellent, by the way. I managed to see a preview performance. I'm sure you're all planning to go and see it at some point, so there's no real reason for me to go on about it. Have a wonderful 2018, everyone!


October was in many ways a very ordinary month of touring: a week in Belfast, Glasgow, Wolverhampton & Milton Keynes apiece. It has been a busy schedule as we prepare the show for its transition to Singapore next month, and every single working day for me in October started at lunchtime and ended well after 10pm. However, The Addams Family only does performances Tuesdays-Saturdays due to the amount of time it takes to shift the set from city to city, so I have enjoyed - and certainly made the most of! - a two-day Sunday-Monday weekend every week.

The UK tour finishes this week in Dartford - a complete sell-out as the perfect storm of Halloween, London interest & the end of the tour saw a real ticket rush. We say goodbye to Sam Womack, Les Dennis, Jess Buckby (a member of our fabulous ensemble) as well as the UK band. We then have just one week off before we head over to Singapore to get used to our identically-built set and our Singapore set of musicians ready for our three-week run over there. In the interim I will be continuing to prep for the beginning of Matilda rehearsals, which for me get going almost as soon as I step off the plane from Singapore in December!

Fun with the Family

A busy month on the Addams Family tour, finishing up a great run in Salford, followed by a week each in Sheffield, Bristol & Woking. All four cities brought with them fantastic audiences which really buoyed the performers and ultimately makes the show such great fun to conduct each night!

We welcomed some new recruits to the tour this month: I have a new Assistant MD starting, Joe Hood, who takes over from John Donovan (who heads off to MD The Band). We also met some new cast members who are being rehearsed in to the show ready for our run in Singapore: Lavinia, a new ensemble member, Corey English who will be Fester, and Rebecca Thornhill, who takes over as Morticia. I will in fact be working with Rebecca for quite a while, as she will also be reprising her role of Mrs Wormwood on the forthcoming Matilda tour!

Talking of which, there was another quick visit to London this month to drop in on the London production of Matilda. I had another fabulous insight into the rehearsal process, sitting in on the day of the full sound check with the band. It felt like a concert performance and is a really good way to hear the orchestrations, harmonies and sound effects all working in sync for the first time with the new cast. It makes me all the more excited to get started with the tour.

October kicks off with a brief visit back to Cheshire to wish my mum a happy 64th birthday today. We're sat drinking Champagne as I type! Apologies for any spelling errors as a direct result. Tomorrow I fly to Belfast to enjoy a week of Guinness and Bushmills, as well as of course more Addams Family fun. Later in the month we take the show to Glasgow, Wolverhampton & Milton Keynes before culminating in a Halloween performance in Dartford, our final UK venue. Time really does fly when you're having fun!

Back at the Quays

The Lyric Theatre in Salford Quays is probably the theatre I've visited the most in regards to different productions, having performed a dozen or so different Showcase concerts, plus Hairspray, Wicked and now The Addams Family within its hallowed walls. Having rattled around in the metallic acoustics of the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin, for the past fortnight, the warmer curtaining & carpeting of the Lyric's auditorium is taking some getting used to!

The Quays itself is, as ever, sparkling in the August sunshine. It's always a joy to come back to find even more restaurants and bars appearing around the area, having remembered a time when the canal side was merely just an outlet mall and the theatre. Today alone, The Botanist and The Alchemist both open bars alongside the complex.

It means for me that I get to stay at my parents' cottage in the Cheshire countryside. They are away in France at the moment on holiday so I get the place pretty much to myself, bar a pet cat or two. One of the things that makes touring bearable is knowing that Smithy Cottage awaits in the middle of the United Kingdom when I'm on my travels!

August was of course largely dominated with being on the road with the Addams Family, which played in the large theatres in Cardiff & Dublin, meaning we've had six long summer(ish) weeks performing shows by the waterside. The show continues to go down well, although being an unfamiliar musical largely requires on word of mouth to fill the auditorium each night.

There was quite a lot of journeying back-and-forth between Cardiff and London, in part due to continuing to familiarise myself with Matilda the Musical whilst West End rehearsals continue, but also to witness the fabulous spectacle that was the World Athletics Championships in London, bringing back all the memories of the Olympics in 2012. Juggling all three made for quite the whistle-stop fortnight, but it was quite exhilarating!

September sees The Addams Family tour continue, alongside a little more Matilda-watching. We have another week in Salford to go, then off to Sheffield, Bristol and then closer to the London area with a week in Woking.

On With The Show(s)

Wow, that was a busy month! And this is just the start...

So I'm up and running as Musical Director for THE ADDAMS FAMILY UK Tour now. I've completed my first full venue and I'm LOVING it. The company are really rather fantastic: a brilliant cast, hard-working and lovely technical team and a band who are nightly knocking seven bells out of this fab score. We're currently all on our way to Cardiff for the Welsh premiere of the show, then later in August it'll be time for the Irish premiere in Dublin. Considering I've just come from playing the piano-heavy Poppins score, this next statement is rather telling: save for the odd am-dram, I don't think I've ever played so much piano during a show as I have done with THE ADDAMS FAMILY!

There were a couple of days available to finish and record the song for Tram Tracks that I wrote with my sister. You can hear the results below. I'm quite pleased with how my first song has turned out! It serves its purpose, if perhaps running a little long. Laura & I quite like the idea though of an epic adventure-style song detailing what would otherwise be a rather run-of-the-mill journey. It went down brilliantly in a concert jam-packed with similar songs at the Bridgwater Hall.

I had some very exciting news this month regarding work in 2018: I'm going to be Musical Director for the very first MATILDA THE MUSICAL UK Tour! It's already highly anticipated and tickets are selling fast, and I simply cannot wait to take this beautiful show to some of the greatest theatres in the land. See my Now & Next page for tour details. I've joined the team at an auspicious time as they are just wrapping up adult cast auditions, as well as rehearsing a new cast for the London production. Both processes are extremely useful for me to observe ahead of rehearsals starting in earnest in the winter. Every day spent with the RSC troupe has been an absolute joy, and every single person I've met has been so welcoming. The tour is expected to continue well into 2019.

Back in the present, August is of course centred around my current tour. I leave for Cardiff in an hour or so and, other than a couple of brief returns to the capital to witness what is going to surely be an incredible World Athletics Championships, will be away from London for the duration. I'm also very much looking forward to the Guinness awaiting me in the Irish capital later this month!

Clicking Into Place

It's been a satisfyingly busy June. I've largely been kept out of trouble on three fronts: playing occasional performances of ON THE TOWN in the middle of Regent's Park, writing songs with my sister for Bridgewater Hall & Metrolink's TRAM TRACKS programme and getting to grips with THE ADDAMS FAMILY score ready for my first performances next week.

Depping in Regent's Park has been my first experience of playing at its Open Air Theatre venue. Obviously the British weather has had its say once in a while, but truly when the sky is clear and the temperature warm, there's nothing quite like it. Those big gulps of (almost) fresh air as you play some top-quality Bernstein has made it really lovely to pop in and play with the exquisite band. As I write this, the show is readying itself for its final two performances, one of which I'm playing, the other (this evening) I'm watching.

As for writing with my sister, composition isn't something I've done to any great effect since my school days, and the initial "blank page" moments were a little bit tough. But we have two songs, one for the Lowry Chorus to sing and one that my sister will perform, and I'm pretty happy with how both are sounding! We have one more week to get them ready, so some final tinkerings lie ahead. Hopefully I'll have a track or two to share with you on here next month.

It's a really special feeling to sit there guffawing your way through a show that you are meant to be learning. Something I haven't felt since the days of learning JERRY SPRINGER THE OPERA or OUR HOUSE. But, my word, THE ADDAMS FAMILY is utterly hilarious. Performances to die for (see what I did there?) and a really meaty score to get under the fingers. The Musical Director has his work cut out on piano now that the show has been re-orchestrated for eight players, which suits me down to the ground. Andrew Hilton has been doing a brilliant job as out-going MD as he moves comic-horror genres into YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN territory. I get to play a few shows as part of the takeover period next week before taking over full-time from the middle of July. For now, I must get back to practising!

I had the pleasure of hosting my mother for a few days when she travelled down to London to take in some fine West End fodder. My 2nd visit to 42ND STREET was made extra special by landing on my feet with an incredible view of the stage: seats C20-21 in the Grand Circle, my top tip! We also saw BEAUTIFUL before it closes in London (which made my mum cry - in a good way, obviously) and DREAMGIRLS, which totally lived up to the hype around it. She then of course saw ON THE TOWN on an evening when I was playing and absolutely loved it. By all accounts it was a successful trip to London!

So July for me is dominated by joining THE ADDAMS FAMILY tour, although mercifully the company get a week off before I properly start, so I've potentially got some time to enjoy Wimbledon, as well as my birthday. A few of us are renting a big house in Cornwall for a few days around then, which should prove fun!

Back On The Town

With my latest tour done and dusted 10 days ago, Mary Poppins finally flew off and we flew back into Heathrow with the aim of getting back some sort of normality. Dubai lived up to the adventure, having been driven around the nearby desert, sailed around the Palm Jumeirah, thrown myself down slides at the nearby waterpark and enjoyed some amazing local foodstuffs. 30C temperatures awaited us back in London, a bit of a shock to the system after a month of 40C...! OK, not really.

After a weekend of relaxing and re-acclimatising, I got straight back into London life, learning two of the three keyboard chairs for ON THE TOWN, a new run of the show taking place outdoors at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. I spent most of last week there, sitting in and playing for some of the performances. I can't wait to see it from out front, but from my vantage point within the band tent, it sounds spectacular. The audiences appear to quite like it, too!

As well as that, this month is largely about prepping for two other projects: a collaboration with my sister, writing two songs for the Tram Tracks project, celebrating 25 years of Manchester's Metrolink, commissioned by the Bridgwater Hall, due to be performed later this summer. In all, over 90 songs are being written, one for each stop on the network. We have been asked to write a song for Timperley, the station near to where we both get up, and Broadway, a stop in Salford Quays within proximity of The Lowry. The latter song is being written for the Lowry Chorus to sing.

My other project, equally as exciting, involves taking over as Musical Director on THE ADDAMS FAMILY UK Tour from mid-July. It's a show I'm only mildly familiar with and it's tremendously exciting to be joining a brand-new production, especially one that I've been hearing hugely positive feedback about. My tenure with the show kicks off in Southampton and the tour currently runs through until early November.

I'm also looking forward to another few days back with my parents in Cheshire, once again perfectly timed with Father's Day, as well as catching some West End shows when my mum pops down South for a visit. All in all, I think that's June sorted! See you in July.

Corry & Curry

It's been almost an entire month spent in one place: Bradford. Inevitably this has led to some fabulous curries, and of course the reason I'm here in the first place has been to continue my stint playing on the Mary Poppins tour. It's been lovely to do so many performances on the trot, and being "up north" has meant I've been able to get back to see my parents in nearby Cheshire every Sunday. The log fire and cat on the lap has been something to look forward to!

Exciting developments for 2017 in terms of keeping me busy have been set in motion, which I hope to share with you soon. In the meantime I finally head back home to London next week and, for most of December, I'll largely be covering at Jersey Boys. Hopefully the dance moves and backing vocals are still somewhere in my muscle memory!

I'm also looking forward to spending Christmas in Austria, as my sister is working out there and makes for a great excuse for an Alpine retreat with the family. Bring on the snow!


A slightly odd start to October, as an entire week went past without a single piece of work coming my way. No shows. No rehearsals. No auditions. No worry, though, as every week up until Christmas was full of work after that, and indeed I've managed to sow up a busy diary now until late May! More on that in a future post.

So the week off was very useful before heading away from London for an extended period of time. First: get the Sky Planner emptied as best I could; Second: get as many promised catch-up drinks sorted as possible. In the end I was meeting up with old friends from previous shows, university and even secondary school practically every day, and I felt very refreshed ready to tackle the final quarter of the year.

First up: the Chicago tour. As luck would have it they very kindly plonked the set into the Churchill Theatre, Bromley, a mere 4 miles from my flat, allowing for another week sorting out at home before leaving properly. It really took me back a few years to do a full 8-show week (in a good way!!) and a pleasure to play with what is surely one of the best set of musicians on a musical in the UK at the moment.

Then it was straight up to Newcastle to begin my seven-week stint on Mary Poppins. It's proving to be a busy period: a couple of 9-show weeks to kick off with, then straight into rehearsals for a new adult cast member before the tour is joined by new principal children. Now that I'm there effectively full-time, they've promised to use my piano fingers to their fullest extent! Well, it will certainly keep me amused in the production's' November venue, Bradford, aside from the contractual curry nights, that is.

November's getting off to quite the start, though, as I head into the Piccadilly Theatre this afternoon for my first conduct of Jersey Boys in London. Yes, the freelance work carries on, too!

c'est la vie

September was very much a month to get back properly into my freelance rhythm, especially as it appears this is shaping up to be one of the more extended periods of my career without my own show or chair to worry about. I made appearances at all five of the shows I currently play on, heading to the Piccadilly to cover for a week while the MD of Jersey Boys took some time away, then to Liverpool to help out again on Chicago, straight to Newcastle to catch up with the folks at the Mary Poppins tour, and popped my head round the corner of the stage door of the Queen's & Cambridge Theatres to keep tabs on Les Mis & Matilda respectively.

The fallibility of this industry reared its head again, though, as the company of Jersey Boys were informed last week that the London run will shutter in six months' time. With that finishing, plus the tours of Chicago & Mary Poppins reaching the end of their course, I'll be on the lookout for some new challenges come the early part of 2017.

Elsewhere, it was great to be back in the loving four-breasted bosom of Morphic Graffiti once again, as Luke & Stewart did their usual trick of working themselves to the bone to give a justifiably wonderful presentation of one of their earlier triumphs, The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes, to prospective theatre owners. The cast and I had great fun performing the scant-heard Leslie Bricusse songs in front of the composer himself in a condensed 30-minute version of the show, and fingers crossed that it can become a full-scale production somewhere down the line!

I had a small city break to Paris in the past month, as you do. I'd never been before, and I'd promised to take my sister around Disneyland as a 30th birthday treat (she's 31 now - that's how long it's taken to get around to it). We were fortunate to have stunning late-summer weather for the two-day trip, taking the Eurostar through the Kent & Northern France countryside. The theme parks were nice and quiet and the city looked in stunning shape from the upper deck of the open top bus. And lots of yummy food and drink helped to tie the experience off very nicely!

I took myself to see two things in London last month: Groundhog Day at the Old Vic, a new musical by the team behind Matilda, was stunning as I fully expected. Very much a "Version 1.0", the ink on the score & script was still wet, but it's in fabulous form ready to be tinkered with for a US audience ahead of its Broadway debut. I'm intrigued to see what it comes back to the West End as in a few years! I also saw Independence Day at the Royal Albert Hall, yet again a film with live orchestra. I can't get enough of these! It's fascinating to see how each concert improves on the next. This time there was a definite addition of surround sound and extra sub-woofer equipment, and the sound op (internationally renowned, we were told), had a fully mic-ed Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a separate effects channel and a dialogue channel to play with, and mixed the whole two-hour film live with very impressive results in the cathedral-like acoustic of the RAH. A definite highlight had to be the 20th Century Fox Fanfare being played live right at the start! But a fab job by everyone throughout the whole evening - I still can't believe the orchestra managed to compete and stay together while the rumble of an entire city being destroyed effectively drowned them out!

October sees the start of some extended periods of time on the shows I currently help out on. Starting with Chicago, I'm helping out on the tour for a week as the new MD settles in and the show welcomes a new Assistant MD. Then I head to Mary Poppins again for a stint on Keys 1 as the regular player heads off to do another project for a few weeks. Indeed, I'll be getting my Spoonful of Sugar fix nightly through until early December. But first, this week I have time around London to catch some more shows and natter with some people I either haven't seen for a while or won't see until I'm back. So if you'll excuse me...

Back to New Jersey

August has been one of those months where every day I've woken with something definite to get done that day. Much of the early part of the month was spent scrabbling around getting the last of my errands done before essentially hermetically sealing myself in for the duration of the Rio Olympics. The last bit of actual work done involved filling in over at Les Mis as well as a little bit of Matilda rehearsals.

As expected the Olympic period was not so much a rest, but it was certainly a departure from the norm! Up to 15 hours per day was spent researching GB athletes and keeping on top of all the main twists and turns throughout a typical Rio day, with the ultimate aim being to show that ByTheMinute, a new platform I really believe in, was capable of keeping those visiting the site fully in-the-know with goings-on in Rio. In the end, I was tipped off that various news organisations were using my own Team GB updates as reference for their reports!

I tried to make sure I didn't become one with the couch throughout the 17 days, though, so I promised myself that I would prepare and cook every single meal properly and healthily throughout the Games, as well as an hour's-worth of exercise at the start of every day. I was also only allowed an alcoholic drink each time Britain won a medal. So, to start with, I was rather sober. By the middle weekend, however, it was starting to get difficult to see the screen!! Ultimately, though, the whole experience was a lot of fun, far cheaper than going abroad on holiday, and I return to my professional trade in the music business feeling refreshed and raring to go.

Thank goodness I felt refreshed, considering my very first gig back from my Rio holiday was my Keys 2 debut on the West End production of Jersey Boys - a show I know very well from being its musical director for the latter stages of the recent UK tour. The Keys 2 chair, though, is a little further out of my comfort zone, considering that it involves backing vocals, 20 minutes of memorised playing, dance moves and even a featured B3 Organ solo just to finish me off in the dying seconds of the exit music! I've had a week's worth of shows so far which has really bedded me in, and the whole band have been really supportive throughout and a good laugh. That's always a massive help. I'm looking forward to joining them for more performances throughout September and in the near future.

Unfortunately my Grandma passed away in the past month. Marie, my mother's mother, was a really wonderful parent and grandparent, leaving behind a large family who depended on her support, love & laughs over the past decades. Her funeral made for a wonderful reunion of uncles, aunts, cousins and friends, sharing memories and anecdotes. A reminder as ever that I don't see my Timmons clan nearly enough now that I have moved away from the North West. I toasted my Grandma with a Gin & Tonic late one night when I found out the news, and she will be sorely missed.

September is already another busy month: more Jersey Boys, back to Matilda, a visit to Liverpool to play Chicago, immediately followed by my first of a few visits to Newcastle to play Mary Poppins. I'm also visiting Disneyland Paris, as well as the French capital itself, for the first time in my life with my sister. I have another date in the diary to watch a live film with orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, this time Independence Day, and I return to Morphic Graffiti, helping Luke & Stewart out with a mini-project involving one of their recent successful productions, The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes. Busy busy!

Popping In

Amongst a fair few months of jumping about between half a dozen different productions, July afforded the chance of almost three weeks in one place, helping out on the UK tour of Mary Poppins as the company finish up rehearsals for new cast members. Norwich, in July, with nice sunny warm weather, is a fantastic city to visit, and as temperatures went above 30C on the 19th July I was very lucky to spend my birthday picnicking on the beautiful beaches of Holkham in Norfolk with my sister and brother-in-law. In fact, just being "responsible" for playing a keyboard each evening, many a sunny day was spent exploring Norwich and beyond.

A run of 20 straight performances was certainly welcome, and the tour as ever is in tip-top form and thoroughly supported by the audiences in Norwich. It was also nice for the team at Cameron Mackintosh to provide nice accommodation for me during my stay - a very welcome change from having to scrounge for my own spare bed!

Away from Poppins, I had a couple of visits up to the North West, most notably to get back into the am dram spirit by playing on the annual Showcase at the Lowry, an utter pleasure every time and a great chance to finally gig with Patrick Murphy, currently the MD on the UK Tour of Billy Elliot, who also lent his fingers to the cause. It was also of course a pleasure to play once again with Simon, John, Danny and the Pauls.

I also had a great first proper visit to Arts Educational Schools in Chiswick. Traditionally they end each academic year with a little informal showcase, and I was tasked, along with Grant Murphy, to get a class of 1st years to learn a 5 minute blast of Young Frankenstein. The four-day project flew by and was a proper good laugh. Arts Ed are, of course, training the new batch of up-and-comers extremely well and they took to the score with gusto and we were all laughing and smiling for the whole project. I get the impression that the corridors of Arts Ed are constantly a happy and smiley place!

August includes my quadrennial leave for The Olympic Games. My staycation largely involves side-stepping into amateur journalism to be one of the main contributors at By The Minute which will be covering large chunks of the games with a live text service. A change is as good as a rest... that's what I believe they say!! Either side of the Olympics, I'm helping out with some holiday cover at Les Miserables this week, and then helping out with paternity cover over at Jersey Boys come the end of the month. The freelance snowball rumbles on!