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...