October 2023 will live long in the memories of AOS members. We performed Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to sold out audiences all week and got a fantastic reception from each.
All of the cast, stage crew and front of house team would like to thank everyone who came to see us during the week. The atmosphere you created was magical and the cheers and applause was a great reward for all the hours of rehearsal, set building and setup.
Chitty was a very expensive show to put on in Abingdon, but with the wonderful support we received from our audience, we’re hopeful that we may not only have broken even on the week, but might have made back some of the funds we lost during the Covid lockdowns, when we were unable to perform.
So, a huge thanks to everyone who came out to support live musical theatre in Abingdon. Now, on with the next show!!
Based on the 1980 movie of the same name, that starred Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, 9 to 5: The Musical premiered in Los Angeles in 2008, with all music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. In April 2009 it opened on Broadway, followed by a West End opening in 2012.
Reviewing the West End production, Ed Pilkington of The Guardian called the stage adaptation “a triumph” and praised Parton, describing her as “the real star of the show” and adding, “She is not on stage, but her presence fills it. She has composed a set of songs, accompanied with her own lyrics, that complement the original song. The greatest triumph of the night was that the film has been reinvented as a musical so successfully. It seemed improbable, given the cult status of the movie, but the stage show has met it and raised it, rather than being its pale imitation.”
9 to 5: The Musical will be another of several new productions for AOS in recent years, including All Shook Up and Made In Dagenham. 9 to 5: The Musical promises to be a lot of fun, both for the cast and for our audience in the Amey Theatre. So, mark your diary for Spring 2024 and be sure not to miss this production.
Guys and Dolls is a classic musical comedy, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. The show premiered on Broadway in 1950, where it ran for 1,200 performances and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. The musical has had several Broadway and London revivals, as well as a 1955 film adaptation starring Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, and Vivian Blaine.
Packed full of show-stopping musical numbers, it tells a story of low-life gamblers and hustlers in New York City, where finding a safe site for a poker game is the highest priority and a man will bet on anything that moves – including a woman. Even when that woman is a member of the Salvation Army determined to save his soul.
Here’s just a taste of the atmosphere, as Nicely-Nicely attempts to persuade his gambling cronies to stop rocking the boat.
What a fantastic week!! Thank you, from all of us to all of you. Here are just a few of the comments we’ve received:
“Honestly we were blown away! The vocal talent was just as good as any West End production and I was moved to tears thanks to a powerful story and some beautifully poignant acting. Was expecting a good bit of ‘am dram’ but this was truly professional…5 stars!”
“An excellent production – definitely deserved the standing ovation!”
“A brilliant show and a very talented cast – well done everyone!”
“Such a great show – West End quality and length, with humour, pathos, action and dancing, effective props and simple staging. The story was easy to follow!”
“Was a brilliant show as always – loved it!”
“Fantastic production of Made in Dagenham tonight. What a huge amount of talent on one stage! We thoroughly enjoyed it!”
“This is indeed a West End quality production, and in music, vocal and harmony terms, arguably better. Outstanding!”
“Superb in every way! Wow! Who needs to go to the West End?”
We were all extremely anxious in the lead up to October’s All Shook Up. We knew that our audience would be much smaller than normal, as we’d decided to implement social-distancing in our ticket sales. But we really didn’t know whether our audience would be ready to return to the theatre as the long tail of this pandemic drags on. And we didn’t know whether a much smaller audience would create the wonderful atmosphere that we all love in the Amey Theatre.
So, this post is just to say an enormous THANK YOU to everyone who came along to see the show, for clapping and cheering, for joining us in the finale dance, and just for being your wonderful selves. All Shook Up was a sell out. By Thursday of show week there wasn’t a ticket to be had. We even had to start a waiting list for any cancellations. You were the stars of the week.
So, now we move on with a little more confidence toward Made In Dagenham in the Spring of 2022. We’ll always look back on 2020 as the year we lost – the first time in over 60 years that AOS didn’t entertain Abingdon. But now we’re back, and with an audience like this, we can’t wait for the curtain to go up again.
Top Hat, the stunning 2013 Olivier Award winner for ‘Best New Musical’ – Tue 23 to Sat 27 October 2018.
What can we say, except to thank all our audience for supporting us and making their appreciation so evident. The laughter was in all the right places, your applause was more than enthusiastic, and even your wolf whistles for Signor Beddini’s striptease were welcomed. We had a brilliant week, enjoying every minute of performing this show, and it’s so pleasing to know that our audience enjoyed it just as much.
To refresh your memory if you were able to join us, or to take a glimpse at what you missed, check out the gallery on our Flickr site here.
In 1999, Time magazine rated Rogers and Hammerstein’s Carousel as the greatest musical of the twentieth century, saying: “They set the standards for the 20th century musical, and this show features their most beautiful score and the most skillful and affecting example of their musical storytelling.”
Carousel opened on Broadway in April 1945 and ran for over 800 performances. When it arrived in the West End in 1950 it saw equal success. In 1956, a Hollywood version of the stage show was filmed, starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones.
The show’s story revolves around carousel barker Billy Bigelow, whose romance with millworker Julie Jordan comes at the price of both their jobs. He participates in a robbery to provide for Julie and their unborn child; and then, after it goes tragically wrong, he is given a chance to make things right. A secondary plot line deals with millworker Carrie Pipperidge and her romance with ambitious fisherman Enoch Snow. The show includes the well-known songs ‘If I Loved You’, ‘June Is Bustin’ Out All Over’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. Richard Rodgers later wrote that Carousel was the favourite of all his musicals.
Perhaps surprisingly, 2023 will be the first time AOS has performed Carousel since 1974, so we can be confident that very few members of our audience will remember that production, nearly fifty years ago. We’re looking forward to bringing an energetic and dynamic version of Carousel to the Amey Theatre next April, and we hope to see you there.