I was recently approached by the lovely people at Speckulation Entertainment and asked if I wouldn’t mind reviewing their live album ‘Momentous Musicals‘, recorded in 2012 and featuring big musical theatre names such as Gareth Gates, Jonathan Ansell, Daniel Boys, Emma Williams and Rachel Wooding. Being very familiar with the excellent prior work of Speckulation Entertainment, I was thrilled to accept without second thought and I am very happy to share this album with you all.
The album itself sounds fantastic, and, by being a live recording, it really has helped to capture the real musical theatre element of the show. All too often, musical theatre albums are studio engineered and perfectly crisp (albeit necessarily so), when actually, what you often go to the theatre for, especially on the more West End ‘late-night-cabaret’ circuit is the live performance. On this album, it really is a celebration of the vocal, being as there is no wider structure/story to get across. It’s also very interesting to hear scaled back versions of the songs, without the benefit of full-blown musical theatre orchestrations – it makes hearing your favourite musical theatre songs somehow fresh and new, which is something of a feat in the World of musical theatre, where most of the classic songs have remained the same since the 1970s/1980s.
(NB – above is a fan video – I don’t particularly endorse filming in a theatre… but on this occasion, I’ve included to give you a taste of what to expect!) 🙂
For me, the biggest treat of the album was hearing Gareth Gates (massive crush aside!!) singing ‘Why God, Why?’ from Miss Saigon. It’s one of my absolutely favourite musical theatre songs, and it is one that often doesn’t make these type of albums, and so I was thrilled to see that it not only made it, but that Gareth sang it. Jonathan Ansell singing ‘Gethsemane’ was also something of a highlight, along with Rachel Wooding’s ‘No One But You (Only The Good Die Young)’ and Emma Williams’ ‘Hushabye Mountain’.
The album has been released ahead of a number of UK live dates for the Momentous Musicals performance which occur within the next few weeks (July 2013) – full details are available on the official website. I for one shall definitely be clearing my diary and trying to make the Manchester date, and I hope that fellow musical theatre fans around Manchester, especially, will also follow suit – it’s going to be a fantastic opportunity this time around to see West End stars Gareth Gates, Rachel Wooding, Ashleigh Gray, and JOHN-OWEN JONES!!!! (additionally, they are doing a version of Let Me Be Your Star from SMASH – one of THE BEST musical theatre related songs to come out of the last decade!!) – in a way that we’re only just starting to be able to out here in the regions.
Below follows the full press release – it’s definitely worth a purchase either of the album, or the live show tickets!
Pop Idol and West End favourite Gareth Gates (Joseph, Les Misérables, Legally Blonde) headlines this live album release of Momentous Musicals, alongside Jonathan Ansell (G4, Whistle Down the Wind), Daniel Boys (Any Dream Will Do, Avenue Q), Emma Williams (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Love Story) and Rachael Wooding (Jersey Boys, Hairspray).
This sophisticated celebration of musical theatre, showcasing soaring ballads and fondly remembered songs from the most significant musicals of our generation, premièred at New Wimbledon Theatre last year, and is released as a 15 track live recording ahead of the show touring for the first time to Wimbledon, Torquay, Bradford and Manchester in July.
1) One Night Only – Rachael Wooding & Ensemble
2) Maria – Daniel Boys
3) Close Every Door – Gareth Gates
4) I Know Him So Well – Emma Williams & Rachael Wooding
5) Loves Changes Everything – Jonathan Ansell
6) You Must Love Me – Rachael Wooding
7) Mein Herr – Emma Williams & Ensemble
8) So Much Better – Rachael Wooding & Ensemble
9) Empty Chairs at Empty Tables – Gareth Gates
10) Hushabye Mountain – Emma Williams
11) Being Alive – Daniel Boys
12) Why, God, Why? – Gareth Gates
13) Gethsemane – Jonathan Ansell
14) No One But You (Only the Good Die Young) – Rachael Wooding
15) For Good – Gareth Gates & Rachael Wooding
Order the album for £12.99 and find details of the tour at www.momentousmusicals.com
Gareth Gates is renowned for being one of the top-selling UK artists in history, having sold over three million singles in the UK. He has recently carved out an enviable niche for himself as a lead musical theatre artist, with coveted starring roles in shows including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Les Misérables. Gareth recently played the role of Warner in the 2012 tour of Legally Blonde, originated the role of Eddy in Loserville at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and starred alongside The Osmonds in a UK concert tour of the hit musical Boogie Nights.
Jonathan Ansell shot to fame with pop opera group G4 on the first series of The X Factor. His previous theatre credits include the lead role of The Man in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Whistle Down the Wind and A Tale of Two Cities at the Charing Cross Theatre, London.
Daniel Boys is best known for his appearance on the BBC TV talent show Any Dream Will Do. His previous theatre credits include the role of Princeton / Rod in the West End production of Avenue Q, for which he won a 2009 Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Award. He will next star in the upcoming 2013 tour of the classic musical High Society.
Emma Williams made her West End debut as Truly Scrumptious in the original cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Her other West End theatre credits include Luisain Zorro, Shelly in the UK première of Bat Boy and Jenny in the critically acclaimed Love Story.
Well known to West End audiences, Rachael Wooding is currently playing Scaramouche in the long-running London production of We Will Rock You, prior to which she played the lead role of Mary Delgado in the West End smash-hit musical Jersey Boys. Her previous high profile credits include the lead roles of Amber in Hairspray, Meatloaf in We Will Rock You and Serena in Fame. She also played the title role in the recent UK tour of Evita.
Momentous Musicals is produced by Neil Eckersley for Speckulation Entertainment, with musical direction and orchestrations by George Dyer. Recorded live at the New Wimbledon Theatre on Thursday 19 July 2012, the recording is released by Speckulation Entertainment.