The ‘opera that never was’ is celebrating its golden anniversary as it turns 50 since its inception and what better way to celebrate than with its first ever live performance! Youth Music Theatre UK (YMT) have taken on the task of bringing this legendary 60s rock opera to life at South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell from August 11th to 13th.
YMT is a national charity that is supported by a wide range of trusts and foundations and has trained over 8,000 young and ambitious performers. The biggest commissioner of new music theatre in the UK has helped kick off the careers of musicians Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith as well as actors Lauren Samuels (Bend It Like Beckham) and Charlotte Ritchie (Fresh Meat, Siblings and Call The Midwife). The company has also been successful with their past shows such as their production of Loserville: The Musical. Charlotte Ritchie has been quoted saying, ‘YMT is an amazing opportunity for anyone wanting to get into musical theatre or film.’
Currently the national YMT company consists of 300 talented musicians and performers that were given the opportunity to take part in the highly anticipated A Teenage Opera but only 40 have succeeded in the age ranges of 11-21 years. Selected from 1,200 hopefuls from across the UK and Ireland on a national auditions tour.
Begun in January 1966 the finished production for A Teenage Opera has been sat on the self for far too long and gained a following of fans who have waited five decades with bated breath. A collective sigh (or more accurately gasp) can now be released as YMT contacted original creators Mark Wirtz and Keith West to make the trippy magical 60s musical a reality. Wirtz has been successful in pushing the music forth, if not the production, as the iconic song ‘Grocer Jack’ – that will feature in the musical – released July 28th 1967 was an instant hit. Holding the number 2 spot and featured on the very first broadcast of Radio 1 on September 30th 1967. Paul McCartney has given credit to the unfinished opera by saying the melodic structure and tempo changes inspired his song writing process for Abbey Road. As well as Cliff Richard commenting he would have liked a role in the performance. With a new story and additional lyrics by Pete Gallagher (Jesus Christ Superstar, Buddy, Dr Dolittle) and directed by West End’s Julie Atherton (Sister Act, Mama Mia, Fame) A Teenage Opera will embody the psychedelic and carefree aura we all miss from the 1960s.
Like any good celebratory party there is a dress code (optional) of Hippies vs Mods vs Rockers and a limited offer of 50% off tickets for people also celebrating their 50th year!
Creative Team: Music & lyrics: Mark Wirtz & Keith West | Book & additional lyrics: Pete Gallagher | Original Concept: Mark Wirtz | Director: Julie Atherton | Choreographer: Stuart Rogers | Musical Supervisor: Michael Bradley | Musical Director: Joe Louis Robinson
11 – 13 August | Fri-Sat 7.30pm | Sat-Sun 2.30pm
Adults: £14.00 / Concession: £10.00
Box office: 01344 484 123
Website Booking Link: http://www.southhillpark.org.uk/events/a-teenage-opera/
By Skye W.Winwood