Following global auditions, Bombay Dreams star Stephen Rahman-Hughes (pictured near right), fellow British stage veterans Simon Bailey and Andrew Alexander and American Jeremiah James have been selected to form Teatro, the “Theatreland supergroup” created by showbiz impresario Jonathan Shalit to do for musical theatre what Il Divo did for opera.

Teatro, formerly titled Broadway4 (See The Goss, 27 Apr 2007), officially launches next month with the release of its eponymous album on 5 November 2007. On the album, the quartet, accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, sing reinventions of classic show tunes including “Maria” from West Side Story, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from Evita and “Luck Be a Lady” from Guys and Dolls.

In a press release, Jeremiah James explained what differentiates Teatro from previous musical theatre groups: “The key to Teatro is that we are a little different to what you’ve heard before. Sure, we will be singing songs that theatre fans will be familiar with, but our interpretations will be much more individual, so much so that they will completely stand alone … I think we will connect because we are able to deliver on so many levels, and as a quartet we complement one another perfectly.”

Born in New York, James was raised in Los Angeles. His US stage credits include Oklahoma! and Crazy for You. Andrew Alexander was born in Berkshire and graduated from the Royal Academy of Music; his UK credits include The Hot Mikado and Beauty and the Beast. A childhood friend of Alexander’s from Berkshire, Simon Bailey is an alumnus of the National Youth Theatre and has appeared in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Romeo and Juliet – The Musical in the West End.

Probably best known to British theatregoers, Stephen Rahman-Hughes, who is half-Malaysian, played leading man Akaash in the West End production of AR Rahman’s Bollywood-set musical Bombay Dreams, produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber. His other credits include West Side Story, The Country Wife and Samson and Delilah on stage, and Emmerdale on screen.

Rahman-Hughes commented: “Life is constantly full of surprises, and I think this might just be the best one yet. We’re getting to sing some really fabulous songs here, songs that have been arranged quite beautifully. It’s a privilege, and an immensely satisfying one, to be part of all this.”

Simon Cowell formed Il Divo in 2001 as part of his international Il Divo Project. Since 2004 the group has toured worldwide and sold 13 million copies of their three multilingual albums. They record in English, Italian, Spanish, French and Latin and have been likened to the Three Tenors with Armani model looks.

Teatro creator Jonathan Shalit is credited with discovering Charlotte Church and managing Jamelia and Myleene Klass amongst others. Capitalising on the popularity of reality TV programmes like How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, Any Dream Will Do and Grease Is the Word, Shalit aims to “reinvent the entire notion of musical theatre” with this new group. Teatro will be launched Stateside following next month’s European campaign.

- by Terri Paddock