Just a little over two weeks to go until the next star-studded concert presentation from the London Musical Theatre Orchestra. Have you got your tickets yet for Mack and Mabel, starring David Bedella, Natasha J Barnes and Tiffany Graves? Bonus: it’s also at a brand-new venue for LTMO, east London’s historic Hackney Empire…
After its highly acclaimed launch last year, the London Musical Theatre Orchestra (LMTO) continues its 2017 season, making its East London debut at the Hackney Empire on Sunday 23 September 2017 with its brand-new concert presentation of Jerry Herman’s 1974 Broadway musical Mack and Mabel.
Two-time Olivier Award winner David Bedella (Jerry Springer: The Musical, In The Heights) stars as Mack opposite fellow West End favourites Natasha J Barnes (Funny Girl, Cinderella) as Mabel and Tiffany Graves (Chicago, Sweet Charity. We Will Rock You) as Lottie.
Mack and Mabel is based on the real-life story of Mack Sennett, the legendary director of the golden age of the Hollywood silent film and King Of Comedy, who finds himself bankrupt, alone and obsolete. Forced to sell his studio, he reminisces about the glory days, from the chaos of the Keystone Kops and the splendour of Charlie Chaplin, to his turbulent love affair with rising star Mabel Norman. A world where heroes wore capes, girls were tied to the railway tracks and it all ended with a pie in the face.
Mack and Mabel features an expansive and toe-tapping score by Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly!, La Cage Aux Folles) and is widely adored for its classic Broadway hits including I Won’t Send Roses, Time Heals Everything and Tap Your Troubles Away. The album of the musical exploded in popularity when Torvill & Dean famously danced to the Overture in a routine to win Gold at the 1984 Winter Olympics.
LMTO founder Freddie Tapner said:
“I love Mack and Mabel because it’s one of those shows where you think you don’t know it, but you know every song in it. I Won’t Send Roses, Time Heals Everything and Tap Your Troubles Away have all invaded the public consciousness for very good reason – they are timeless classics. I am so excited to have this dream trio lead our cast. David, Natasha and Tiffany bring their sensational voices but also that touch of whimsy which this genre of musical so cries out for. I can’t wait for the 23rd!”
With the 32-piece orchestra in full swing, Mack and Mabel is directed by Shaun Kerrison and choreographed by Anthony Whiteman, with sound by Avgoustos Psillas for Autograph and lighting by Mike Robertson.
Following Mack and Mabel, LMTO will round off its second year with a reprise of last year’s A Christmas Carol at the West End’s Lyceum Theatre on 11 and 18 December 2017. In 2016, the cast included Robert Lindsay as Scrooge and Carrie Hope Fletcher.
How much do you know about LMTO?
The London Musical Theatre Orchestra is the world’s only specialist professional orchestra dedicated to performing musical theatre repertoire. LMTO performs large-scale concerts in major London venues with a full orchestra and world class soloists, while remaining true to its foundations by providing opportunities for developing musicians to perform alongside their established professional colleagues.
The orchestra was founded by Freddie Tapner in June 2015, almost by accident. A Facebook post triggered an instant reaction from the musical community, with over 250 replies from musicians in the space of 24 hours. A few weeks later, on Sunday 13 July 2015 the London Musical Theatre Orchestra met for the first time, in the privacy of St Silas Church, Islington. After a full day’s rehearsal, the orchestra ‘played through’ a major musical score just for fun, and just for themselves. That event would become known as the first “Play-Through”.
The Play-Throughs continue to be a hit. Once a month players and singers from all over the UK gathered in London to rehearse a musical for experience and for the love of it. LMTO took up the position of Orchestra-in-Residence at Bishopsgate Institute in January 2016, where the Play-Throughs remain to this day.
LMTO concerts to dates
In June 2016, one year and twelve Play-Throughs after its founding, LMTO officially launched its first public season. Amongst the other stars who have performed with the orchestra are: James Dreyfus, Rob Houchen, Anna O’Byrne, Robert Lindsay, Maxwell Caulfield, Samantha Barks, Arthur Darvill, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Giovanna Fletcher, Norman Bowman, Alex Gaumond, Wendi Peters, Clive Carter, Emma Hatton, Celinde Schoenmaker, Oliver Savile, Nic Colicos and Rosemary Ashe.
How many of these LMTO concerts have you seen?
Mack & Mabel bios
David Bedella – Having starred in Jesus Christ Superstar and HMS Pinafore, David Bedella is best known for playing the role of Satan in Jerry Springer: The Musical, for which he won the 2004 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor In A Musical as well as starring as the titular role in Hedwig And The Angry Inch and as Dr Frank n Furter in The UK tour of The Rocky Horror Show. Bedella has also starred inThe Producers as Roger De Bril and most recently in the Tony Award-winning In The Heights.
Natasha J Barnes – Natasha first came to the public’s attention last summer when she stepped into the role of Fanny Brice for the West End run of Funny Girl at the Savoy Theatre, becoming a 5-star critical wonder, with the Daily Telegraph calling her ‘a sensation in her own right… She has a charisma and twinkling mischief that’s irresistible’, and the Daily Mail stating, ‘An exceptional lead performance’. This was swiftly followed by Natasha playing the title role in the Palladium’s all-star Cinderella at Christmas and she has since completed a major UK and Ireland tour of Funny Girl reprising the role of Fanny Brice. Her debut single, Supermodel, will be released in the Autumn.
Tiffany Graves – Best known for her performance of Velma in Chicago at London’s Adelphi Theatre and Cambridge Theatre, having become the first actress to play the leading roles of both Roxie Hart and then Velma Kelly, Tiffany Graves was alternate lead in Matthew White’s acclaimed production of Sweet Charity at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, having previously been Helene/Charity at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Other iconic leading roles have included Killer Queen in We Will Rock You, Marlene Dietrich in Piaf, and Sukie Rougemont in Witches of Eastwick, as well as taking part in the momentous 50 Year celebration at the National Theatre. As a member of the final cast of Cats at The New London Theatre, Tiffany appeared in a variety of roles including Cassandra, Jellyorum, Griddlebone and Bombalurina; she joined Grange Park Opera productions of La Traviata and Anything Goes, as well as appearing in Follies as The Royal Festival Hall. Tiffany has also recorded a Christmas album as a soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.