I can’t remember when I became a musical fanatic but I do remember my first ‘proper show’ was Barnum in 1982 when I accompanied my mum’s friend because my mum was too ill to go.
Thirty-six years later and I am, probably, Yorkshire’s biggest musical fan. Well so they say here in the office. But it’s not just musical theatre – it’s any kind of theatre. But ideally, theatre with music…
From anthemic biblical musicals (Jesus Christ Superstar – an all time favourite), to the dark bohemian world of Rent, swinging back round to the sheer escapism of Grease and Starlight Express. There isn’t a bad musical in my eyes or to my ears.
Just three years ago I met my all time music hero, Gary Barlow, at the Burnsall press launch of his now highly acclaimed musical, The Girls. That show had success written all over it and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
We’re incredibly fortunate living so close to some fantastic Yorkshire theatres. Bradford’s Alhambra is my happy place and the venue where I’ve spent many nights being entertained with family, close friends and where I’m currently introducing my own children to my musical passions and eclectic taste in music.
In fact, such is my enthusiasm for all things musical, that back in 2009, as part of the Approach team’s annual CSR, we (collectively – honestly) agreed to hold a Musicalathon to raise money for Yorkshire children’s cancer charity, Candlelighters.
Held at the characterful Bradford Playhouse in Little Germany, we hired the cinema screen, dressed in suitable musical-themed costumes and enjoyed (!) from dusk until dawn, a full night of entertainment courtesy of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Mamma Mia, Grease, Moulin Rouge and Hairspray. My idea of absolute heaven – not strictly everyone else’s… but we did raise more than £800 for a very worthy charity.
A more recent musical highlight was joining my close friend Emma on the Sound of Music coach tour in Austria, visiting the original film locations in and around Salzburg, culminating with a rousing rendition of Do-Re-Mi as we toured through the beauty and majesty of the Alps. It was sheer musical magic and proved much needed escapism after losing my dad only weeks earlier.
In our busy lives where so much is experienced through digital technology or delayed on ‘catch up’ or shared at different times through virtual communities of ‘friends’, nothing beats the immediacy of live theatre, transporting you instantly into another world with real time, real life entertainment. For me, it’s the absolute epitome of an enriching, energising, shared experience.*
*As seen in the Yorkshire Post