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NEWS: Mates announce 2017 #AlsoRecognised Awards shortlists

In Awards, London theatre, Musical direction, Musicals, Native, News, Plays, Press Releases, Quotes, Special Events, Sticky by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

We’re delighted to announced the shortlists for the third annual Also Recognised Awards run by MyTheatreMates. These audience-voted industry accolades celebrate talent in fields often overlooked by other award bodies. Voting is now open for all categories and closes on Sunday 26th March 2017. Cast your vote on the site here. The Also Recognised Awards were launched online in 2015 by MyTheatreMates …

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NEWS: Winners announced in the 2016 #AlsoRecognised Awards

In Awards, Cabaret, London theatre, Musical direction, Musicals, Native, News, Plays, Press Releases by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

Today’s the day! We’re delighted to announce the winners of the 2016 Also Recognised Awards. And, despite the fact that most of our categories are unique, it’s interesting to see that there are a few overlaps with another little awards, whose ceremony was held earlier this week… For more on this year’s awards, see also the full voting results, winners’ …

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Special AYULTP Podcast: Mark Shenton & Terri Paddock discuss #AlsoRecognised Awards nominations

In Audio, Awards, Features, Interviews, London theatre, Musical direction, Musicals, Native, News, Opinion, Plays, Quotes by As Yet Unnamed London Theatre PodcastLeave a Comment

In addition to their regular discussion with bloggers on recent productions, this week the (still) As Yet Unnamed London Theatre Podcast (AYULTP) asked My Theatre Mates co-founders Mark Shenton and Terri Paddock to discuss the nominations for this year’s Also Recognised Awards. Speaking to AYULTP’s Tim Watson, Mark and Terri give more background to the Awards and talk through each …

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All the 2015 #AlsoRecognised Winners Announced!

In Awards, London theatre, Musical direction, Musicals, Native, News, Plays by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

The full list of winners are announced today in the inaugural Also Recognised Awards, the new audience-voted, industry accolade set up by us My Theatre Mates co-founders Mark Shenton and Terri Paddock to celebrate lesser-known but equally worthy talent in fields overlooked by other awards bodies. Over a month’s voting, more than 15,000 people took part. How cool is that?! One of …

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First-ever Award for Best Musical Direction goes to…

In Awards, London theatre, Musical direction, Musicals, Native, News by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

Readers of Daily Mail columnist Baz Bamigboye may have spotted that the Mates gave the brilliant Baz a sneak peek at one of our winners in our inaugural Also Recognised Awards. We’re so proud of introducing the UK’s first-ever Award for Best Musical Direction – along with our partners and passionate campaigners, musical director Mike Dixon and Andrew Keates – that we couldn’t keep it a secret any longer. So, without further …

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VIDEO: Mike Dixon on Musical Direction and Creative Team Parity

In Features, Interviews, London theatre, Musical direction, Musicals, Native, Regional theatre, Video by Mike DixonLeave a Comment

A key part of the inaugural Also Recognised Awards is the introduction of the UK’s first-ever prize for Best Musical Direction. To launch this award, My Theatre Mates teamed up with musical director Mike Dixon and director Andrew Keates, who have been lobbying long and persuasively about the need for such an award and the importance of Creative Team Parity.

As part of our feature series designed to enlighten audiences on what musical direction is, Mark talked to Mike Dixon, one of the UK’s most experienced musical directors. In this in-depth interview, find out the answers to these and many other questions about the music in musicals:

  • What does a musical director and supervisor do?
  • Why have the Tony Awards stopped recognising Orchestration and Musical Direction?
  • How do you tell good versus bad musical direction?
  • How does your approach as a musical director change with different types of material?
  • Which is your favourite show you’ve worked on?
  • Why does the musical director stick around after the rest of the creative team have departed?
  • Does the musical director get involved in hiring the cast and orchestra?
  • Why shouldn’t live orchestras be replaced with recorded music?
  • What’s Symphonia? Why didn’t it work?
  • What are the challenges with amplification? Can you tell the difference?
  • Do musicians in the pit see the show they’re working on?
  • How do orchestra contracts differ from actors’ contracts?
  • What’s the job of the sound designer? How do they work with the musical director?
  • Where do you see the musical director in the theatrical hierarchy?
  • What’s the sitzprobe and why is it called that?
  • What’s it like performing in front of an audience for the first time?

 

Which show had the Best Musical Direction in 2014?

The Also Recognised Awards are the first UK theatre awards to give a prize for Musical Direction. The shortlists have been drawn up by the Mates, with Mike Dixon and Andrew Keates. Who will win? You're the judge. Voting closes at midnight on Sunday 19 April 2015.

VOTE NOW

 

Continuing our feature series educating audiences on the importance of musical directors, My Theatre Mates co-founder Mark Shenton interviews musical director and Also Recognised Awards partner Mike Dixon.

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Don’t fall into the pit: Backstage with MD Anthony Gabriele and the Cats orchestra

In London theatre, Musical direction, Musicals, Native by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

At nearly every musical, after the cast have taken their final bow and as the audience start filing out onto the street, the band will typically play a minute or so of exit music, almost the opposite of an overture, before they too sign off for the night.

I try to make a point of staying in the auditorium until that number is over, by which time often more than half the crowd will have left, so as to applaud the band (and at that moment in time, only the band) for the usually top-notch contribution that they will have made to the evening’s entertainment.

A good musical production is akin to a three-legged stool. The cast, the creative team and the orchestra make it a success and if you take away any one of those legs, the show flounders.

So I was delighted when, on having mentioned to my friend Anthony Gabriele, currently the musical director (MD) of Cats at the London Palladium, of my curiosity to see inside the orchestra pit during a big West End show, that he graciously invited me to sit in for a performance.

Cats_OrchestraPit3-AG-KEllis-JB_apr15

Cats’ MD Anthony Gabriele, star Kerry Ellis (Grizabella) and Jonathan Baz

Meeting me at the stage door, he showed me down to the pit and as we made our way through the clowder of feline-costumed actors having their radio mikes checked, I felt suitably humiliated surrounded by such talented and athletic performers each of whom could probably summon up more fitness in their little finger than I could muster at all!

A good musical production is akin to a three-legged stool. The cast, the creative team and the orchestra make it a success and if you take away any one of those legs, the show flounders. Traditionally, a show’s pit is located sunken and to the front of the stage, where the conductor’s head and whirling baton is just visible to the audience, allowing him eye contact with both stage and band.

The staging of Cats is such that there is no room for such a luxurious, standard location and instead the musicians are located completely out of sight beneath the stage in a virtual musical dungeon. TV monitors allow Gabriele to see the action up top, whilst the usual screens fixed to the front of the dress circle (carefully located out of audience sightlines) allow the performers to clock the conductor.

It takes an MD of considerable talent to connect with performers located elsewhere in the building…

Like a train formed of an engine and its carriages (and for that read the orchestra and the cast – and I daren’t say as to who is the engine!), it is the MD who not only drives the train but, more importantly, couples those units into one. He or she must be strong enough to hold the train together, yet flexible enough to allow bumps along the track to be absorbed into a smooth journey that neither derails nor delays the train and which, 99 times out of a hundred, will not even be noticed by the paying passengers enjoying the journey.

It takes an MD of considerable talent to connect with performers located elsewhere in the building, but the youthful Gabriele is amongst the very best of the bunch. The man knows Lloyd Webber’s show intimately, along with many more shows besides. Indeed, during the interval, he was helping Joseph Poulton (Mistoffelees in Cats) with the tongue-twisting Zulu lyrics from The Lion King‘s “Circle of Life” opener, before the actor transfers there when Cats closes at the end of April. Gabriele has MD’d that show too….

 

Which show had the Best Musical Direction in 2014?

The Also Recognised Awards are the first UK theatre awards to give a prize for Musical Direction. The shortlists have been drawn up by the Mates, with Mike Dixon and Andrew Keates. Who will win? You're the judge. Voting closes at midnight on Sunday 19 April 2015.

VOTE NOW

Continuing our feature series educating audiences on the importance of musical directors, critic and blogger Jonathan Baz spends an evening with Cats‘ MD Anthony Gabriele in the orchestra pit at the London Palladium.