It’s an amazing time for diversity of style in “musicals” on both sides of the pond. Hamilton’s hip-hop, street poetry, storytelling, David Yazbek’s middle-eastern infused charmer The Band’s Visit, Jeanine Tesori’s Fun Home (newly arrived at London’s Young Vic while her dazzlingly original Caroline Or Change plays at the Playhouse Theatre).
Aria Entertainment and Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre have today announced three headline musicals for 2017 – the UK premieres of American musicals Yank! and Little Women and the regional premiere of The Stationmaster.
I’ve been thinking a lot about new musicals recently. It’s an oft-quoted adage (a la Sondheim) that musicals are rewritten rather than written. And that’s rewrites over a period usually of years, even decades. So, for the purposes of this blog, I’m defining ‘new’ musicals as ones still being actively re-written by their makers.
Aria Entertainment’s From Page to Stage platform for new writing in musical theatre is another of those life-lines which refreshes the parts that the West End so rarely reaches – and to see a fledgling musical like The Stationmaster find its feet and roar for the first time on a stage, in a theatre, is immensely gratifying.
Last night I had the privilege of helping to open the third annual From Page to Stage season of new musicals. From Page to Stage is the brainchild of Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment, who also produced The House of Mirrors and Hearts, for which I chaired a post-show Q&A at the Arcola Theatre in July.