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The Show People Podcast: How Oliver Savile has forged his career as a leading man

In Audio, Features, Inspiring people, Interviews, Musicals by Andrew KeatesLeave a Comment

Oliver Savile may be best recognised for playing Fiyero in the West End production of Wicked. He speaks with Director Andrew Keates all about his life and career, including growing up in Buxton and failing all of his GCSEs at school, his struggles with Dyslexia and how he discovered the performing arts and forged his career as a leading man.

Ollie talks about his time at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, discovering his long-time agent Shane Collins, going straight into the UK tour of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, seeing the world on the international tour of Mamma Mia!, playing Peter Tork in the UK tour of Monkee Business, his recurring appearances in the West End production of Les Miserables, working with Gillian Lynne in the UK tour of Cats, playing Raoul in The Phantom of The Opera, his delight playing Robert in Company in Aberdeen, his recent role playing Hugo in Knights Of The Rose and of course, discussing his incredible time playing Wicked’s famous prince.

This is an episode full of laughs and even a special appearance from Toby Page – The Show People Podcast podcat.

Episode features include:

Theatrical Tips:
Andrew shares his top theatrical tips of things to see this September 2018, including There is Nothin’ Like a Dame at Cadogan Hall, Distance at the Park Theatre, Sylvia at The Old Vic and Company at the Gielgud Theatre.

The Platform:
Today’s platform is given to Therapy  – The Musical with music by Jordan Li-Smith and book and lyrics by Ray Rackham. We hear a song from the show called So What performed by Belinda Wollaston.

Show People Podcast Challenges
We challenge our special guest to remember his CV in 60 seconds, discover what he would need to survive if stranded in Whitley Bay and course ask hysterical and outrageous questions in our famous Funny Five Minutes section.

Social Media:
Andrew Keates: @AndrewKeates, Oliver Savile: @oliversavile, Ray Rackham: @RayRackham, Jordan Li-Smith: @jordanli_smith, The Show People Podcast: @ShowPeopleUK, Arion Productions: @ArionProds and use #ShowPeoplePodcast.

Please like our Facebook page where you can also join the Show People Listeners’ forum at www.facebook.com/showpeoplepodcast

Links:
Show People Photography by Scott Rylander: www.scottrylander.com
Arion Productions/Show People Donate Link: www.arion-productions.com/donate
Arion Productions/Show People Shop: www.arion-producitons.com/shop
Andrew Keates’ Website: www.andrewkeates.co.uk
Arion Productions GoFundMe Fundraising Campaign: www.gofundme.com/support-arion-productions
Therapy the Musical: www.facebook.com/therapymusical
Ray Rackham’s London Theatre Workshop: www.londontheatreworkshop.co.uk
Jordan Li-Smith’s Website: www.jordanli-smith.com
There Is Nothin’ Like a Dame at Cadogan Hall: www.cadoganhall.com/event/there-is-nothin-like-a-dame/
Distance at the Park Theatre: www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/distance
Company at the Gielgud Theatre: www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk/tickets/company
Sylvia at The Old Vic: www.oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2018/sylvia-2

Contact Us:
Do you want to get in touch with the Show People Podcast? You can contact us at info@arion-productions.com

Support:
All profits from the Show People Podcast go toward supporting Arion Productions Ltd to create opportunities and resources for theatre-makers. If you enjoy the podcast and can support this independent theatre company, please make a donation by visiting www.arion-productions.com/donate or via our GoFundMe campaign at www.gofundme.com/support-arion-productions

Shop:
Head over to our new shop to purchase your very own Show People Podcast merchandise, including mugs and pens. All profits go toward Arion Productions Ltd and covering the costs of the Show People Podcast. http://www.arion-productions.com/shop

Sponsor:
Would you like to sponsor the Show People Podcast and advertise on the show? Please get in touch by e-mailing info@arion-productions.com

Next Episode:
The Show People Podcast is a fortnightly podcast. The next episode will be released Monday 10th September 2018.

Thank you, Subscribe and Review:
Please hit subscribe and don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes or whichever platform you listen to us on. Thank you for listening!

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NEWS: Legendary choreographer & director Gillian Lynne dies at the of 92

In London theatre, Musicals, Native, News, Quotes by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

Director and choreographer Gillian Lynne, who will always be remembered for her groundbreaking work for musicals Cats and The Phantom of the Opera, has died at the age of 92. Theatres across London’s West End will be dimming their lights at 7pm on Monday 2 July as a tribute by the theatre industry and audience members to the legendary choreographer. The tradition …

Repeated calls to save Glasgow Arches at awards ceremony

In News, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews by Thom DibdinLeave a Comment

If the Lyceum dominated the winners list at Sunday’s Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland, it was the Arches closure which dominated the speeches.

How could it not. The ceremony was held at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre and the five minute walk to the Tron from Central Station starts opposite the entrance to the Arches. More to the point, the Tron is where the Arches founding director, Andy Arnold, is now artistic director.

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NEWS: Beverley Knight to play Grizabella in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats

In London theatre, Musicals, News, Press Releases by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

Beverley Knight is to star in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking musical Cats to play the role of Grizabella. Returning to the London Palladium from 23 October 2015, Lloyd Webber’s record breaking Cats will run for a ten-week season until 2 January 2016. Tickets are from £20 with top price seats at £59.50 and children’s tickets at half price for Monday …

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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?

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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.

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I Know I Mustn’t Fall Into The Pit – Backstage With Anthony Gabriele and the Cats’ Orchestra

In Features 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. 
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. 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 a akin to a 3-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 audience’s typical view is of the conductor’s head and whirling baton just visible, 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.
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 de-rail nor delay the train and which 99 times out of a hundred, will not even be noticed by the paying passengers enjoying the journey.
Anthony Gabriele, Kerry Ellis and Jonathan Baz
Stopping off en-route to the pit to say a quick hello to the lovely Kerry Ellis, starring as the show’s Grizabella, I was then sat close to Gabriele (but out of the way), in front of his 8 musicians and issued headphones (cans) to listen to the voices that would be coming from afar. 

Out of sight, the dress code is a casual mix of jeans, trainers and t-shirts, but this is an appearance that couldn’t be more deceptive. As the overture starts it is clear that these men can play tunes, known the world over, to a world class standard. My phone was safely set to flight mode and with baton raised, maestro Gabriele got the show underway.
Andrew Lloyd Webber began composing Cats in the 1970’s and there is a strong synthesised/ keyboards bias to his compositions. Gabriele’s band comprise 3 keyboard players, 2 people on reeds, a drummer, a guitarist and a bass player.

The Cats pit has some clever touches. An array of speakers feed the keyboards’ electronic output (already being channelled directly to the show’s sound desk) into the room, to blend with the acoustic sounds of the traditional instruments. Microphones suspended from the ceiling pick up this ambient melding of the sounds, providing a further layer of texture to the finished product that the sound team put out to the audience. It has proved to be a gorgeous enhancement of the melodies.
Paul Slater, Tom Clare and Ben Kennedy (note the arrayed speakers)
It takes a 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 the show intimately along with many more besides. Indeed, it was a surprise during the interval to find him helping Joseph Poulton (Mistoffelees in the show), 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.
A musical that is either sung or danced through completely, there is barely a moment in Cats that is music-free, and whilst the headphones proved a useful assistance in following the action on stage, there were times when I just took them off and listened in amazement to the talent manifest around me.
What struck me on the night observing the 8 musicians was the passion and commitment writ on their faces as they delivered the classic score, along with an immense sense of welcoming camaraderie shown to the two deputising musicians (“deps”) who were in on the night, covering for absent regulars.

In no particular order and amidst a sea of excellence, memorable moments were the relaxed banter amidst the keyboard players, the gorgeous double-bass work during Growltiger’s Last Stand with a deliciously jazzy syncopation throughout the number. There was a “funk-rock” sound to Mr. Misstofelees that included moments of percussive wonder from the drummer, (I was amazed to see and hear played, up close and for the first time, the enchanting glissando of a mark tree) whilst the brash big-band sound of Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer was a delight and of course the overall orchestral splendour of the Jellicle Ball helped explain why, for so long, this show had been the longest running hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

Cans were slipped back on to hear Kerry Ellis smash the line “Touch me..” from Memory, proving that even through a headset and on a black and white monitor, her performance is still nothing short of sensational – though as the song played out I took the cans off to luxuriate in these 8 musicians generating what has become one of the most broadcast and beloved songs in the canon in recent years.
Gabriele brings the show to a close – in the background Howard McGill, Dan Czwartos and Darren Lord
The musicians who welcomed me on the night were:
Keyboard 1: Paul Slater Keyboard 2: Darren Lord (depping for Assistant Musical Director: Tim Davies) Keyboard 3/Deputy Conductor: Ben KennedyElectric Guitar/Acoustic Guitar: Nick Rees Electric Bass/Double Bass: Nathan Finn Drums/Percussion: Tom Clare Woodwind 1 – Flute/Piccolo/Clarinet/Tenor Saxophone: Howard McGill (depping for Gavin Tate-Lovery)Woodwind 2 – Clarinet/Soprano Saxophone/Baritone Saxophone: Dan Czwartos
Gentlemen, thank you all. It was a night I shall never forget.

Orchestral Management: Stephen Hill for Musicians UK Ltd.

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Conversation with Caitlin Moran: Why cats are unlovable

In Features, Inspiring people, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Quotes by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

It’s week six of my blog challenge to respond to my favourite columnist Caitlin Moran each week. These blogs, unlike 99% of what I write and tweet, are meant to be non-theatrical, but with a topic like cats, you’ll forgive me – and Andrew Lloyd Webber – a few minuscule digressions. You can read more […]

Kidzone with Cats, Wind in the Willows and Potted Sherlock

In Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Photos, Plays, Quotes, Reviews by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

What a fantastic time to be a kid in Theatreland! Never mind the plethora of pantomimes, and the superlative programming year-round at the Unicorn and Polka Theatres, this holiday season in London, littler ones can also take their pick from: two Treasure Islands (at the National, with Arthur Darvill, and at the Arts Theatre) Room […]