Album Review: Rags – The Musical: Original London Cast Recording

The Original London Cast Recording for Rags – The Musical is released by Ghostlight Records, the first to capture the many changes to the show

“What if we never meet again?”

Sometimes a musical just doesn’t grab you, and so it was for me with Rags The Musical. The show received its UK premiere at the Northern powerhouse that is the Hope Mill Theatre in February 2019 and transferred to the Park Theatre in London at the beginning of 2020 and despite its excellent notices, I just didn’t fancy it. The universe clearly wants me to hear it one way or another though, as Ghostlight Records are now releasing an official London cast recording, the first for this show since 1991.

I think my ambivalence might have stemmed from a lack of love for Fiddler on the Roof (I know…). And Rags was initially conceived in 1986 as a sequel of sorts by book-writer Joseph Stein, as he explores the experience of a group of Jewish immigrants as they arrive in the US. Over the years though, David Thompson has considerably revised it and Stephen Schwartz’s lyrics and Charles Strouse’s music have also been substantially tinkered with. Musicals are ever a work in progress but such overhauling doesn’t always inspire the greatest confidence – credit then to director Bronagh Lagan and musical director Joe Bunker for refining this material in such a stylish manner. Continue reading “Album Review: Rags – The Musical: Original London Cast Recording”

Lockdown treat: You’ll Never Walk Alone – Irish West End stars

Some of the West End’s leading Irish names, along with Irish Youth Musical Theatre, came together for Carousel’s ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, a weepie at the best of times!

The video features some of the West End’s leading Irish names, including David Shannon (Come From Away), Brian Gilligan (The Lion King), Jessica Cervi (The Commitments), Shane O’Riordan (Les Misérables), Alison Arnopp (Hair), Faoileann Cunningham (Amélie The Musical), Emma Warren (Les Misérables), Chris McGuigan (The Phantom of the Opera), Raymond Walsh (Les Misérables), Andrew Linnie (The Commitments), Caroline Kay (The Clockmaker’s Daughter), Brigid Shine (Angela’s Ashes), Claire O’Leary (Les Misérables), Molly Lynch (The Light In The Piazza) and Oisin Nolan (Rags).

It also features young Irish actors in training Niamh Long, Sarah McFarlane, Gavin Ryan, Fionan O Carroll, Eimear Friel, Enya Loughlin, with signing by Abbie O’Neill.

Heart vector created by starline – www.freepik.com

Finalists of 2019 Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year

Louise Cowling (The Hammond School, Chester)
Jamie Bogyo (RADA)
Aliza Vakil (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)
Samantha Bingley (Brunel University)
Oisín Nolan-Power (Royal Academy of Music)
Lily Kerhoas (Royal Academy of Music)
Lucy Reynolds (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama)
Cameron Burt (Guildford School of Acting)
Niamh James (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama)
Ahmed Hamad (ArtsEd)
Stuart Thompson (LAMDA) 
Paige Fenlon (Bird College)

Host: Joanna Riding
Judges: Edward Seckerson (Chair), Julia McKenzie, Daisy Maywood, Peter Polycarpou, Gareth Valentine