News: Joe Iconis’ new album to feature 44 songs and over 70 collaborators

Ghostlight Records announced the new recording by musical theater virtuoso Joe Iconis, a sprawling new 44-track album, simply titled Album, due out on Friday, June 17. The album features over 70 members of Iconis’ vast family of collaborators including Aaron TveitAndrew RannellsLin-Manuel MirandaKrysta Rodriguez, Kerry Butler, Danny Burstein, Annie Golden, George Salazar, Will RolandAndrew Barth Feldman and many more.

The album was produced by Iconis, Ian Kagey, and Charlie Rosen, executive produced by Randi Zuckerberg, features music direction by Danielle Gimbal, and choir arrangements by Joel Waggoner. Iconis has also shared the project’s first single, “Album,” a time-hopping piano ballad about art and legacy. Listen to the single “Album” here and pre-save or pre-order Album here. Continue reading “News: Joe Iconis’ new album to feature 44 songs and over 70 collaborators”

News: Westway’s exciting new release schedule for 2022

Westway Music’s new release schedule for 2022 includes Joe Stilgoe, Rachel John, John Barrowman, Kelly Ellis and Lee Mead

Joe Stilgoe’s stunning new album Theatre is released on Friday 29th April. Recorded in The Netherlands in December with the world famous 64 piece Metropole Orkest and at RAK Studios in London with the Capital Voices Choir, this collection of twelve songs (including three original Joe compositions) is our most ambitious recording project to date.

Get ready for the first single ‘Bring Down The Curtain’, to be released on 8th April and the world premiere of the album at London Barbican on Monday 2nd May where Joe will perform with the equally impressive BBC Concert Orchestra.


Rachel John’s debut album will be available on Friday 8th April, From My Lips To God’s Ear, recorded at The NTA Church, Tooting, London.

The album features nine hymns and was originally a live stream film made in March 2021 by Ramin Karimloo for his Mercy Productions. The first single from the album, ‘Blessed Assurance’, is released worldwide on 18th March.

Rachel will be appearing at the Rise Up With The Arts concert at Alexandra Palace, London on World Theatre Day (March 27th) alongside artists including Adam Lambert, James Morrison, Hannah Waddingham and Heather Small.


John Barrowman has signed a two album worldwide deal with Westway and will commence recording his new album in London in early April. Produced by long time collaborator Matt Brind and recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra the album will be pure classic musical theatre – they will be revealing the song list over the coming months and filming the recordings so sit tight for more news!!!


This autumn will see the release of the new Kerry Ellis album. This will be her 3rd solo album & promises to be the best yet! Widely regarded as the biggest ticket in U.K. theatre, Kerry has one of the greatest & most unique voices in the world of theatre. This album sees her embark on her first ever originals albums in addition to some cleverly cultivated covers under the guidance of Grammy nominated producer Mike Stevens (Annie Lennox, James Morrison, ELO, 10cc). Kerry has spent the last year in the studio working with songwriters such as Frank Wildhorn, John Beck, Jess Greenfield (High Flying Birds) & James Taylor to put together a top class country rock album which takes her songwriting and vocals to a whole new level.


Spring is nearly here and our first Westway Sessions series is launching on 9th May at the amazing new PIANO SMITHFIELD, London with an opening night featuring Rob Houchen and Emma Kingston. Every week we will play host to some of the best names in musical theatre performing in an intimate surrounding. Get ready for shows featuring Rachel John, Alice Fearn, John Owen-Jones, Kelly Mathieson, Jenna Lee James, Cassidy Janson and Lee Mead and a chance to meet the team behind the label!!


Lee Mead will be performing a short series of concerts with his band at The Pheasantry, Chelsea Thursday 17th – Sunday 20th March.

There are still a limited number of tickets available and for anyone who hasn’t yet purchased a copy of the Live At London Palladium DVD/CD Lee will be signing copies in person along with a chance to purchase some of the limited edition merchandise produced for the show.

News: new musical theatre record label launched

Neil O’Brien Entertainment Launches Westway Music – a new musical theatre record label based in London whose initial signings include Samantha Barks, Ramin Karimloo, Kerry Ellis & Lee Mead

Westway Music is a new music and film platform dedicated to the music of theatre, from London’s West End through to New York’s Broadway and beyond. Formed by Neil O’Brien, the label has so far signed musical theatre stars Kerry Ellis, Ramin Karimloo, Samantha Barks, Lee Mead, Joe Stilgoe and Cassidy Janson.

The label launches on November 12th with the release of Frozen star Samantha Barks’ brand-new studio album Into The Unknown. Covering songs from Broadway, West End and film musicals alike and with a couple of duets thrown in for good measure, it’s bound to be a corker, especially if her accomplished debut is anything to go by. Continue reading “News: new musical theatre record label launched”

News: Lauren Samuels & Sophie Evans announce new album

Lauren Samuels and Sophie Evans first found fame when they met on the hit BBC1 show Over the Rainbow. Both ladies made it to the final and were highly praised by Andrew Lloyd Webber and have gone on to have hugely successful stage careers. To celebrate a decade since the show first aired, Sophie and Lauren have reunited to record Chasing Rainbows, Finding Judy, a stunning album of songs made famous by Judy Garland, the original Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. The first single from the album, ‘The Rainbow’s End’, is available now.

The idea for the album was born out of a desire Lauren & Sophie had not only to collaborate and to celebrate how they met, but also to bring Judy’s music to a new audience – hearing these classic songs performed by younger voices. The album has been beautifully produced by Grammy-nominated producer James McMillan. Continue reading “News: Lauren Samuels & Sophie Evans announce new album”

Album Reviews: Marisha Wallace – Tomorrow / Shan Ako – Brave Heart / Soviet Zion

A trio of music reviews with Marisha Wallace’s album Tomorrow, Shan Ako’s EP Brave Heart and the original concept album of Soviet Zion

“I’m gonna shine out like a beacon in the night”

Watching some of the most recent musical theatre treats streaming over the last couple of weeks has proved a useful reminder of the need to catch up with the music that some of those performers have been releasing. Marisha Wallace dropped a Christmas EP a few years back but Tomorrow, released through Decca Records, marks her full debut album. Robbed of the chance to round out her run in the pandemic-curtailed Waitress last year, Wallace’s attention turned to curating and creating the inspirational focus for this collection.

The result is a nifty if eclectic blend of musical theatre and pop songs, with a few original tracks thrown in for good measure. And at its best, its soulful power is highly effective. A repurposed ‘Tomorrow’ from Annie, a delicate trip through Kacey Musgrave’s ‘Rainbow’ and the driving pop of ‘Before I Go’ form part of a powerful first half of the album. That level doesn’t quite maintain for me on a Side B that doesn’t demand relistening quite as much but those high spots make this a definite recommendation for your playlists. Continue reading “Album Reviews: Marisha Wallace – Tomorrow / Shan Ako – Brave Heart / Soviet Zion”

Christmas album reviews: If The Fates Allow: A Hadestown Holiday Album / Leslie Odom Jr – The Christmas Album / Michael Ball & Alfie Boe – Together at Christmas

A trio of festive album reviews with If The Fates Allow: A Hadestown Holiday Album, Leslie Odom Jr – The Christmas Album and Michael Ball & Alfie Boe – Together at Christmas

“Oh, my love, we live in troubled days”

No word of a lie, since starting to play Christmas music last week, I’ve listened to If The Fates Allow: A Hadestown Holiday Album everyday, it truly is that joyous. It’s a brilliant twist on the Christmas album that takes a slightly left-field approach to its festive track selection and then thoroughly imbues it all with the irrepressible spirit and way down musicality of Anaïs Mitchell’s soul-raising Hadestown. Led by the gorgeous voices of Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, Kay Trinidad and Jewelle Blackman, aka The Fates, and featuring the rest of the cast of the show’s Broadway production, the album features original songs from Mitchell, Gonzalez-Nacer and the show’s MD Liam Robinson alongside festive staples and some Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen and Sara Bareilles for good measure.

What really makes If The Fates Allow… sing is the way in which the sound of Hadestown is folded into the record – never mind the Ghost of Christmas Past, this collection is haunted by the spirits of Christmas Ancients. Musical motifs from the show shimmer beautifully in unexpected places and it is just spine-tinglingly effective; so too the iconic brass sounds that pepper ‘Thank God It’s Christmas’, an ingenious way of reinterpreting familiar songs through an inimitable musical identity. A cynic might demur at such an exercise in brand extension but they would just be wrong. Just listen to Patrick Page’s profundo on Cohen’s profound ‘Come Healing’ with its harmonious backing, or the ragtime-influenced take on ‘Sleigh Ride’, or the hushed splendour and lyrical incisiveness of Mitchell original ‘Song of the Magi’. Surely destined to become a perennial festive favourite whether you’re way down underground or livin’ it up on top. Continue reading “Christmas album reviews: If The Fates Allow: A Hadestown Holiday Album / Leslie Odom Jr – The Christmas Album / Michael Ball & Alfie Boe – Together at Christmas”

Album Review: Joel Harper-Jackson – So What Happens Now? / Makerman – Grove Hill / Rob Houchen

An album review of Joel Harper-Jackson’s So What Happens Now? and inspired by Marry Me A Little last night, I explore Makerman and Rob Houchen

“I don’t care if it hurts
I wanna have control”

Released just as the second lockdown kicked in, Joel Harper-Hackson’s debut album has ended up with a painfully apposite title – So What Happens Now?. I first spotted Harper-Jackson a few years as a standout in a middling new musical and have enjoyed following his career since then, not least in the Hope Mill’s gorgeous production of Little Women. Interestingly, this album largely eschews the world of musical theatre for the world of popular music, albeit reimagined through the wonderfully moody arrangements of Greg Morton.

Piano, guitar and cello thus come to the fore to underscore mournful takes on ‘Jolene’ and ‘The Man That Got Away’, the quavering vocal at the beginning of ‘Another Suitcade in Another Hall’ really refocuses the song’s emotion, and the shivering sparseness of ‘Wicked Game’ hits harder than usual, especially once the dramatic stakes are raised. Unexpectedly effective though is the duet on ‘Tragedy’ with Jodie Steele which utterly reinterprets the rueful acceptance of the song in a way which makes complete sense. ‘Creep’ with Lauren Byrne is pretty damn good too. If ever there was an album to cry-listen to whilst looking through a rainy November window and eating a packet of biscuits, this is that album and this is that moment. Highly recommended. Continue reading “Album Review: Joel Harper-Jackson – So What Happens Now? / Makerman – Grove Hill / Rob Houchen”

Album Reviews: Mazz Murray – Midnight Mazz – Here We Go Again / Mascherato the Musical / Howard Goodall’s Songs from the Musicals Vol. 1

This set of album reviews covers Mazz Murray – Midnight Mazz – Here We Go Again, Mascherato the Musical (Original Studio Cast Recording) and Howard Goodall’s Songs from the Musicals Vol. 1

“You thrill me, you delight me
You please me, you excite me”

If anyone gets to follow Cher in making an album of ABBA songs, then it is probably the West End’s Donna Sheridan, Mazz Murray.  Midnight Mazz – Here We Go Again sees her interpret 10 of Agnetha, Björn, Benny, and Anni-Frid’s best with an unexpectedness tenderness that you don’t necessarily always associate with the band. Handclaps guitar arpeggios adorn ‘Chiquitita’, a solo ‘My Love My Life’ feels packed with more yearning than ever, so too a delicately layered ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’ which is making a late case to be one of my all-time favourite ABBA songs. A lovely way to revisit some of those oh-so-familiar songs. Continue reading “Album Reviews: Mazz Murray – Midnight Mazz – Here We Go Again / Mascherato the Musical / Howard Goodall’s Songs from the Musicals Vol. 1”

Album Review: Laura Benanti – Laura Benanti

A canny choice of material means you’re as likely to find Selena Gomez as showtunes on Laura Benanti’s excellent debut studio album Laura Benanti

“I wish there was something I could do to make you smile again”

Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti has long been a performer I’ve loved, I’m always a sucker for such a legit soprano, so it was a bit of a surprise to clock that Laura Benanti is actually her debut studio album. Over the years she’s been a part of some top cast recordings and released a cracking live set, but with this release, she has created a marvellous album that feels equally at home in the cabaret club as it does reclining at home on your chaise longue with a Manhattan in hand.

It’s a varied selection of tracks to be sure, with musical references from Rufus Wainwright to Rosemary Clooney, Sondheim to Selena Gomez, Julie London to the Jonas Brothers. But remarkably, it all feels so beautifully, smoothly cohesive, a collection truly united by the interpretative skill of a genuinely engaged and engaging performer. Continue reading “Album Review: Laura Benanti – Laura Benanti”

Album Review: Lucie Jones Live at the Adelphi

Covid-19 may have cut her time in Waitress short but Lucie Jones Live at the Adelphi is a great reminder of the leading lady she is and will surely continue to be

“We’re after the same rainbow’s end”

Back in February, Lucie Jones took a break from performing in Waitress as the show’s composer Sara Bareilles took over the lead role of Jenna for a limited run. The musical had already set a closing date for the summer but who could have predicted that Jones, and co-star David Hunter, would never get to do the show again.

The only small benefit is that far from sitting on her laurels in the break, Jones made her solo West End concert debut by nipping back to the Adelphi on one of its nights off/ And that concert was recorded for posterity, now being released digitally on the usual platforms and physically here, where an exclusive bonus disc is available. Continue reading “Album Review: Lucie Jones Live at the Adelphi”