Photos: Pryce & Stars Swing, NYMT Bugsy ReunitesDate: 15 November 2007
Two special one-off events took place in Theatreland on Sunday night (11 November 2007). At the Almeida Theatre in Islington, Jonathan Pryce– who is currently starring in the West End revival of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross at the Apollo Theatre –organised a charity concert, entitled Swing on a Star, in aid of local children’s charity Friends United Network, which links volunteer adult befrienders with children from vulnerable single parent families.
Pryce hosted a cabaret with performances by Michael Ball, Judi Dench, David Morrissey and Imelda Staunton as well as Pryce himself backed by the Rat Pack Band and look- and sound-a-likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. (Pryce’s musical credits include Oliver!, Miss Saigon and My Fair Lady). Other attendees included Tim Pigott-Smith and Pamela Miles.
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Meanwhile, the Match Bar in the West End saw the reunion of cast members and creative team from the National Youth Music Theatre's production of Bugsy Malone, which opened ten years to the day at the Queen’s Theatre, where it was a critical hit and recouped in record time. The NYMT’s Edinburgh Fringe production transferred to the West End care of producer Edward Snape. Reportedly, the only reason it did not extend beyond its Christmas season was because Alan Parker, writer and director of the original 1976 film, refused the rights on the basis that he wanted it remembered as a film rather than a stage show.
NYMT, a registered charity, counts amongst its former members the likes of Jude Law, Johnny Lee Miller, Connie Fisher, Amy Nuttall, Kerry Ellis, choreographer Peter Darling, Matt Lucas and Laura Michelle Kelly. The Bugsy Malone cast included: Sheridan Smith (seen in the West End earlier this year in Little Shop of Horrors), Jamie Bell (the BAFTA-winning Billy Elliot on screen), Hannah Spearitt from S Club and James Bourne (later of boyband Busted).
At the Match Bar party, Sheridan Smith (who played Tallulah) was in attendance with other previous cast members Michael Jibson (Our House, Take Flight), Marc Pickering ( Sleepy Hollow, Calendar Girls, I Want Candy on screen), Allyson Brown (Simply Heavenly, previously MOBO Best Newcomer), Jamie Meek (BBC’s Dance X, Alex Tregear (Little Britain), Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian in the forthcoming Narnia movie, The History Boys on stage), Malinda Parris (Caroline, or Change, Parade), Bob J Harms (Dirty Dancing), Giovanni Spano (Footloose), Simon Harvey (Daddy Cool, Chicago), Paul Lowe (TV’s F*** Off I’m Short, Marie Lloyd), Danielle Corlass (42nd Street), Sean Parkins (Fame, Mary Poppins, Wicked).
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Not all the Bugsy Malone cast members stayed in front of the footlights. Stuart Piper is now an agent and producer – who is producing this year’s concert at the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards launch party (See News, 26 Sep 2007). Additional ex-NYMT members in attendance were Simon Thomas (RSC Merry Wives, Days of Hope), Tom Chambers (TV’s Holby City) and Ian Virgo (Band of Brothers, Black Hawk Down on screen). Other guests included West End leading ladies Robyn North (The Phantom of the Opera and Caroline Sheen (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang).
Ten years after Bugsy Malone, NYMT still operates but has suffered in recent years from lack of funding. Previous supporters have included Nationwide and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The charity is now seeking a major supporter. Visit www.nymt.org.uk for more information.