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!