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Am-Dram: Guys and Dolls with Kinky Boots enjoying The Sound of Music

This week I had the pleasure of being invited to see Willenhall Musical Theatre Company’s production of the incomparable Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which they performed at The Mill Theatre, Dormston Centre in Sedgley. What a show!

Guys and Dolls
Guys and Dolls

Technically Priscilla is complicated and with so many elaborate costumes, high-energy choreography, and singing pop songs rather than the traditional musical theatre tunes they are used to, the company were certainly up against it. But, of course in true am-dram style, they rose to the challenge and produced an evening of pure entertainment.

Thank you for inviting me and well done to everyone involved.

Meanwhile, over in Shropshire, Telford and District Light Operatic Players are back on stage after an absence of two years, and they are delighted!

At last cast members can finally put their hard work on stage at The Place, Oakengates, this week, to celebrate the company’s 50th Anniversary.

Guys and Dolls sees high-rolling gambler Sky Masterson make a bet that he could take any girl with him to Havana, only to be met with the prim and proper Mission Doll, Sergeant Sarah Brown, who is the opposite to Sky’s usual dates.

This colourful musical rom com is perhaps best remembered for the 1955 movie version starring Marlon Brando and Jean Simmonds and features popular show tunes including 'Luck Be a Lady', 'I’ve Never Been in Love Before' and 'Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat!'

Despite the show being moved several times over the last couple of years, Musical director Adele Clarkson believes it will be worth it.

“The cast have been working diligently on the complex but stunning harmonies from these classic songs, and I can’t wait to hear them ring out from the stage!” she said.

Combined with energetic choreography by Charley Lampitt, this is set to be a dazzling and thoroughly enjoyable show for all.

Catch Guys and Dolls at The Place, Oakengates for four performances from April 28-30, with evening performances starting at 7.30pm and a 2.30pm Saturday matinee. Tickets can be purchased through the box office at https://www.theplacetelford.com/whats-on/musicals/guys-and-dolls/3333#tickets

In complete contrast, the Tony Award winner, Kinky Boots, will be teetering on to the Grand Theatre stage from May 4-7, courtesy of Bilston Operatic Company.

This contemporary style musical tells the tale of a failing Northampton shoe company, Price & Sons, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. But when the owner passes away and his son Charlie reluctantly takes over the business, he realises it is time for a complete change.

Enter Lola, a larger than life drag queen who is desperate for a pair of boots which are strong enough to take her weight on stiletto heels. On the surface, they seem unlikely pals, but Charlie sees his chance and together he and Lola design a new style of boot and set out to turn the future of Price & Sons around, whist at the same time finding out they have more in common than they could ever have imagined.

It’s a story of acceptance, love and friendship and includes the musical numbers 'The Most Beautiful Thing', 'Land of Lola', 'Everybody Say Yeah', and 'The Soul of a Man'.

The company had quite a job casting the role of Lola and his backing dancers the Angels, but they persevered and now have a show which audiences will be dancing in the aisles to.

For tickets, visit grandtheatre.co.uk or call 01902 429212.

The hills are alive over in Sutton Coldfield as Manor Musical Theatre Company presents their version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, The Sound of Music from today until May 1.

This outstanding piece needs no introduction really, but for those who have never see it, the musical follows the adventures of postulant nun Maria, as she is sent to become governess to a family of seven children whose bereaved father shows them little love and attention.

Busting with some of the best-loved songs in musical theatre, including 'My Favourite Things', 'Sixteen Going on Seventeen', 'Climb Every Mountain' and of course the soaring title song.

This musical is one of my favourites to be on stage in. Not only is the musical beautiful, although challenging to learn, but also it offers opportunities for so many cast members including all age groups, for both sexes and children too.

Prefer drama? The Year 13 students of Birmingham Ormiston Academy are presenting The Lovely Bones, based on the best-seller by Alice Seabold, at The Old Rep in Birmingham from May 4-5.

Just like any other young girl, Susie wants to be beautiful, and has a crush on a boy at school. There is one difference though. Susie is dead, murdered in fact. She can therefore only observe her family manage their grief in their own ways from the afterlife.

Her father is desperate to identify her killer. Her mother wants a different existence for herself and her sister is discovering the opposite sex in ways Susie will never experience. Desperate to help, Susie sets out to find a way to reach them.

Expect a moving tale but peppered with enlightening moments too.

This talented group will then present the Arthur Miller classic play A View from The Bridge on May 12-13.

Set in 1950’s Brooklyn, New York, the limits of family bonds and personal honour are tested in this gripping tragedy.

Eddie Carbone is privileged to take in cousins Marco and Rodolpho when they arrive from Italy. However, his attitude changes when his niece Catherine falls for one of them. Eddie claims the boy is too strange, too feminine, but in fact it is more complex than that. What ails Eddie, deep inside? Something that threatens the happiness of his whole family.

For tickets, visit www.oldreptheatre.co.uk or call 0121 359 9444.

That’s all for this week. Email me at alison.norton@expressandstar.co.uk, call me on 01902 319662 or follow me on Twitter @AlisonNorton or on Facebook.

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