IT’S A FUNNY OL’ GAME

It’s been a strange week, full of highs & lows. And when I say that, I’m not comparing my situation with what people are going through on a global scale…this is just an update of what’s going on in my little bubble.

AFTER HOURS: WEST END

On Saturday, I had the privilege of being asked to perform for the After Hours: West End ‘Lockdown Sessions’. These events are usually live concerts (curated by Drew Baker) in London, but have moved online whilst we’re still in quarantine. I was given the opportunity via Emma at Maven Casting and was asked to sing 5 songs, with an emphasis on Musical Theatre.

I chose to perform:

  • Heaven On Their Minds from Jesus Christ Superstar
  • Who I’d Be from Shrek
  • Prepared by Georgia Stitt
  • I Love Betsy from Honeymoon In Vegas
  • Take Me Away by Scott Alan

They’re all great songs, each with their own challenges.

I’ve been working on Heaven On Their Minds for a few months (years) in preparation for my role as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Winter Gardens later this year. More on that in a minute.

I’ve sung Who I’d Be a couple of times before, most-notably in the Time & Music concert at Blackpool Grand Theatre and Thornton Little Theatre a few years back. It’s great fun to sing, even if my Scottish accent leaves a lot to be desired.

Prepared was a big challenge. It’s a gut-wrenchingly sad song about losing a partner. I first heard it performed by the incredible Jeremy Jordan. It’s such a simple song…but so raw. I struggled to get through it during my rehearsals. Whilst I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve lost a partner, it’s not difficult to transfer those emotions onto personal experiences and relationships.

Next up was I Love Betsy from Honeymoon In Vegas, by my all-time favourite composer, Jason Robert Brown. This is such a fun song to sing, with so many different dynamics. It’s hard, but so rewarding once you’ve got to the end.

I finished my set with something that I wouldn’t usually sing – Take Me Away by Scott Alan. I’ve been a big fan of Scott’s for over 10 years. His songs are so personal and expressive. He literally puts everything he’s feeling into his songs. I usually choose Kiss The Air or Again from his catalogue, but I fancied something different this week, so chose Take Me Away. It’s a beautiful song, played predominantly on acoustic guitar, with lots of floaty head-voice vocals, which I’m not always confident with. But, I think it came out alright. Having lots of vocal rest during lockdown has had a really positive effect on my voice and range.

All-in-all, I think it went OK. I had lots of lovely feedback from Drew and Emma, and from the people watching. I was shaking when I came off, from a combination of nerves and adrenaline…and a bit of Musical Theatre belting. I’ve done a few Live Stream gigs over the last few months, but I get a real buzz from singing these sort of songs, and this spot has really reignited my love for Musical Theatre. I’ll be doing more soon, hopefully.

Maven are currently casting for the second series of the Lockdown Sessions. If you’d like to get involved, click here

If you would like to watch my spot, the stream is still available on Facebook here. I’m on at the 43 min mark.

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR

Yesterday, we got confirmation of the news we’d been dreading for a few weeks – Ensemble Theatre’s planned production of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Winter Gardens is cancelled.

I’ve been waiting over 20 years for the opportunity to play Judas, and after posting a sneak-peek video of me singing Heaven On Their Minds, I had loads of people who I’ve not seen in years saying that they had booked to come and watch it. It was on-course to be a fantastic production, with a brilliant cast & creative team, but sadly, it won’t get seen.

I’m really disappointed, but in the grand scheme of things, I can’t really get upset over a production, with everything else that’s going on in the world. Fingers crossed that the opportunity will arise again in the next year or two, before I get too old! Ha!

AND FINALLY…

Along with a 20-year wait to play Judas, I’ve had a 30-year wait to say these words:

LIVERPOOL FC ARE
CHAMPIONS AGAIN!

That’s it… that’s the message!

I’ve been lucky enough to work at Anfield for a number of years, and whilst I’m a massive Liverpool fan and I am obviously ecstatic, I’m absolutely over-the-moon for the real fans who are at all the matches, home and away, and for the local staff that I met there, who literally live and breathe the club. Let’s hope there are plenty more trophies yet to come! #YNWA

ALSO, THIS WEEK…

I’ve recorded some vocals for a lockdown project with The Deadbeats, so keep an eye out for that.

And…I’ve done a Gary Barlow-style #CroonerSessions video with Dan Hadfield. You can watch that below! Enjoy!

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