The audience couldn’t get enough at Main Men of Musicals, a concert at Cadogan Hall last night featuring West End stars Luke Bayer, Ben Forster, Trevor Dion Nicholas, Liam Tamne, and some very talented young choral performers.
The crowd applauded and whistled as the men belted hits from the musical songbook (I noticed a conspicuous avoidance of the word ‘Broadway’) in front of an orchestra. It was a reminder of just how far a good performer can go on his own, without a set, costumes, or even script: one minute we’re in La Mancha; the next, a British classroom; and then Paris in the Restoration.
Main Men of Musicals saw the amazing singers and actors Luke Bayer, Ben Forster, Trevor Dion Nicholas and Liam Tamne taking the stage of Cadogan Hall to sing some of the most iconic songs of musical theatre repertoire from its early days to our times. “Luck be a lady tonight” was the opening theme of the overture played by the very talented band accompanying these artists, and considering how well things went, luck was a real lady tonight, together with an insane amount of talent. Lucy Drever, the main and only woman of the evening, was the presenter, a funny and very likeable one, who took us on a great musical journey from Golden Era classic songs like “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” to contemporary ones such as “Waving Through a Window” from Dear Evan Hansen. There were plenty of guests, including the wonderful choirs of Michael Xavier Masterclass and Goldmans Stage School (“Seize the day” from Newsies), the very talented Rhys Bailey, singing a very touching and impressive “Where is the love?” from “Oliver”, the Spirit Young Performers Company, busting some incredible vocals, and moves!, with a wonderful Jersey Boys Medley and finally Luke Redmore, proving to be more than ready to be a “main man” too after singing a perfect version of “Out There” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Following two successful concerts celebrating the role of women in musical theatre, Lambert Jackson Productions returned to London’s Cadogan Hall for a third outing, but this time celebrating the Main Men of Musicals, highlighting some of the best musical theatre numbers sung by men across several decades of musical theatre history, accompanied by a wonderful orchestra under the musical direction of Adam Hoskins.
As with their previous concerts, four celebrated performers took to the stage. The evening opened with the appropriately titled ‘Hello’ from The Book of Mormon allowing all four men to share the stage for this introductory offering, but across the night a varied programme saw them perform solos and duets from musicals across all different eras.
There are concerts where the up and coming get showcased, and one applauds politely, because, you know, it takes some guts to get up there and do your thing in front of a paying audience. In the end, they did their best and they had a go. But the winners of a competition held by the producers of Main Men of Musicals were quite brilliant, and there is no need to be kind or diplomatic – they were both nothing short of splendid. It could well be that Rhys Bailey and Luke Redmore could be headlining musical theatre concerts themselves in the future. The competition prize was the opportunity to perform a song at Cadogan Hall for this event, and entry was by way of a one-minute video recording of a musical theatre song of the entrant’s choice, submitted to the producers by a certain deadline. The producers were themselves the judging panel and, it being their show, their decision was final.
Bailey, 16 years of age according to his Spotlight profile (from my vantage point he looked more like someone in Year 9 than Year 11), did a pitch-perfect rendering of ‘Where Is Love?’ from Oliver!, with the kind of stage presence that will stand him in good stead should he wish to continue to pursue his dream of treading the boards. Redmore, a final year musical theatre student at the Epsom-based Laine Theatre Arts, gave an engaging performance of ‘Out There’ from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
After their Cadogan Hall debut, Lambert Jackson Productions are back with West End Women, featuring three of the most prominent performers UK theatre has to offer: Rachel John, Lauren Samuels and Celinde Schoenmaker. Taking us on a loose history of women in theatre and melting our faces off with vocal gymnastics, this was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday evening.
Despite the biting wind outside and the snow enveloping the country, Cadogan Hall felt warm and buzzy as it was taken over by powerhouse performance followed by powerhouse performance. The trio opened with the upbeat ‘I Got Rhythm’, before some solo showcases of their voices. A simplistic and heartwarming rendition of ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ brought stillness to the room thanks to Celinde Schoenmaker. Lauren Samuels kept us in the 20s with a beautiful rendition of ‘Lady, be Good’; whilst Rachel John brought us a decade further forward with the sultry and smooth ‘Summertime’.
Following on from their successful concert There is Nothing Like a Dame, Lambert Jackson Productions continues to be inspired by female West End performers. Their latest offering showcasing the variety of talent that can be found on the West End stage – this time in the form of Rachel John, Lauren Samuels and Celinde Schoenmaker.
Beginning with a lovely jazzy rendition of ‘I Got Rhythm’, the concert was filled with a lovely mixture of songs that captured all of the talent on stage perfectly – mainly soulful and heartfelt numbers including renditions of ‘Summertime’ and ‘If I Loved You’ that were lovely to listen to – but it would have also been great to have some more upbeat songs in the mix as well.
Lambert Jackson are thrilled to announce their nomination for ‘Best Theatrical Event of the Year’ in The Broadway World Awards 2018 for their show ‘There is Nothin’ Like a Dame’ which was performed on Thursday 30th August of this year.
Ria Jones is a leading lady through and through. She’s played some of the biggest roles in musical theatre: Grizabella, Eva Peron, Fantine, and most recently Norma Desmond to name a few.
She’s one of the star names on the roster of a concert celebrating 100 years of musical theatre, alongside three former Elphabas: Louise Dearman, Rachel Tucker and Alexia Khadime. Accompanied by a full orchestra, the evening at Cadogan Hall will run through some of theatre’s biggest showstoppers of the last century in what will be a wonderful celebration of women on stage.