Thursday, 2 October 2014

Osker Productions at Antenna Media Centre

I know tonight I must have said how much I love Sondheim soooo many times but I'm afraid it is true, and tonight's one off performance is to raise funds for Musicworks. Musicworks promotes all forms of music events and musicians who wish to perform in any setting. And talking of settings the Antenna Media Centre on Beck Street in Nottingham is a lovely laid back setting for such a wonderful musical tribute.

Stephen Sondheim, for me, is one of the best songwriters and composers of the modern musical era; his music spanning over 50 years. Many may say that they are unaware of Sondheim's catalogue but I bet you're not. He wrote some of the music for "West Side Story", "Gypsy", "Anyone Can Whistle","Follies","A Little Night Music", "Sweeney Todd" and "Into The Woods" among may others. His songs have been recorded by the greats of music like Johnny Mathis, Barbra Streisand, Judy Collins, Sinatra, oh the list is endless.

Sondheim writes with such intricacies, and then again he can pen simple tunes, spanning several genres, something that has kept him at the top of the songwriting ladder.

Tonight's selection spanned the many decades and was delivered so smoothly by Andrew Booth, Shaun Hanrahan, Morven Harrison, Andy McPhee, Cat Orton and Kate Williams with piano accompaniment by Jon Orton, who also provided snippets of information on each song, showing what a fan of the composer he is. By the way the film of "Into the Woods" featuring James Corden, Frances De La Tour, Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp, is out in the US on Christmas Day  2014 and the British version closely following in the New Year! Thanks Jon!

There were three medleys, put together by Stephen Williams, which stretched the singers with the complexities of Sondheim's works but they all rose to the challenge and came together seamlessly, beautifully and flawlessly.

The evening started off with Andy laying down the etiquette for theatre goers everywhere with "Invocation and Instructions For The Audience" from the musical "The Frogs" ,which I must admit I didn't know was a Sondheim composition, but after listening to it again, has the Sondheim clever word play stamped all over it. Through "Losing My Mind" which was a crossover hit recorded by Liza Minnelli back two decades ago, "Maria" from "West Side Story", "Giants In The Sky" just one of the performed pieces from "Into The Woods", the wonderfully lush "Sooner Or Later" from the film "Dick Tracy" which Madonna sung on the soundtrack, the gorgeous "Broadway Baby" and ending with a luscious medley "In Praise Of Women" paying tribute to the fairer sex.

So much talent in one room and unfortunately not attended by as many people as I would have loved to have experienced it. Maybe the clashing of dates with Goose Fair may have had a small effect on numbers but I know that those who were there loved every single minute of the wonderful music sung by some equally wonderful singers.

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