In my ongoing resolution to support new work, I’m going to start by taking you on a little trip down memory lane. Some of you might recall that back in September 2014, I travelled to London to see the premiere of a new musical in its workshop format by actor, producer and composer Stuart Matthew Price: Before After. Being an unashamedly hopeless softie and romantic, I adored the fact it was as Director Simon Grieff put it: ‘a conventional love story told unconventionally:
Everybody has one great lost love. They broke our hearts, they haunt our dreams and we will never, ever forget it. But what if fate gave you another chance? Do you think you’d get things right the second time around? In Before After, Ami meets Ben by a tree on a beautiful hillside. She recognises him instantly – he was once the love of her life. But Ben doesn’t recognise her. As we watch their love grow in both the past and the present, might they finally find their happy ever after after all? He’s the right man in the right place – but is this the right time?’
I was also infinitely inspired by Stuart’s storytelling ability, and how his music and lyrics took me to so many different places emotionally; he’s incredibly insightful and honest. So, before I repeat that whole post again, you can see it in full here: https://confessionsofa20somethingliteratureandmusicjunkie.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/before-after-28th-september-2014/
Before After has been taking Japan by storm with its cast recording currently in session, and European and Korean productions are also in early talks. This news excited me, but it left me longing for news as to when it would have another chance at life here in the UK, as it inspired and excited so many of us who had the pleasure of sitting in the Studio of St James Theatre that afternoon 2 years ago. Then on April 17th this year, I got my wish. Stuart has reunited with his cast (two favourites of mine, the endlessly talented Caroline Sheen and Hadley Fraser) to produce the Original Cast Recording, thus taking the next step in bringing a full production to life here!
To do this, Stuart and the talented team are crowdfunding, and are asking for our help. The aim is to raise £6,500 by June 12th, 2016, with a whole bunch of rewards for your generous support, however small. Until a year or so ago, I wasn’t terribly au fait with the concept, and sceptical as to wether it can work. Now I know it can, a favourite performer of mine raised the funds to put his 2nd album in production through it and smashed his initial target, so I’ve already pledged my support to Stuart’s effort, and you can too. All the details are here: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/before-after-original-studio-cast-recording/
As it stands at the time of my writing this, it’s 37% funded already; Knowing the piece to be tender, funny and life affirming as I do, I think everyone deserves to hear it. Have a listen to one of the tracks As Long As You’re There.
I briefly touched on my feelings about the musical theatre scene as it stands a couple blogs ago: in my opinion, it’s getting a little tiresome having book/film remakes and jukebox shows (though I adore two of these) churned out as often as they are, so feel like Before After would be a welcome breath of fresh air. Hopefully some of you lovely readers after reading my original blog on the workshop and listening to Hadley & Caroline being awesome feel the same way.