What does the future hold for the development of new British musical theatre? As part of this year’s Perfect Pitch - the showcase for homegrown musicals, which is supported for a second year by Whatsonstage.com – we’ll be hosting a lively panel discussion on Tuesday 25 November 2008 to try and get some answers (See News, 7 Oct 2008).

After the 7.45pm evening performance of two new musical extracts, audience members will have a chance to pose questions to our expert industry panellists: director Jeremy Sams; executive producer of Old Vic Productions Joseph Smith; and Notes from New York co-founder and musical theatre actor Paul Spicer. The Q&A will be chaired by Whatsonstage.com editorial director Terri Paddock.

During a wide-ranging theatrical career, Jeremy Sams’ work has encompassed everything from composing to writing, directing, translating and arranging. As a musical theatre director specifically, his credits have included Passion, Enter the Guardsmen, Maria Friedman by Special Arrangement, Spend Spend Spend and, most recently, The Sound of Music in the West End and Toronto, and the premiere of Jason Robert Brown’s 13 on Broadway.

As executive producer at Old Vic Productions, Joseph Smith has played a pivotal role in the most successful British musical in recent years, the multi award-winning screen-to-stage adaptation of Billy Elliot, which has just opened on Broadway. Crossing the Atlantic in the opposite direction, Smith is also behind the London production of Tony Award-winning Broadway hit Spring Awakening, which premieres at the Lyric Hammersmith in February ahead of a hoped-for West End transfer.

In 2003, Paul Spicer co-founded Notes from New York, the concert series which presents contemporary musical theatre composers in the West End. Initially focusing on the work of US composers, it has more recently explored avenues closer to home. Also an associate artist of the series, Spicer has performed in many of the events, including last month’s concert presentation at the Theatre Royal Haymarket of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years, to celebrate the fifth birthday of Notes from New York. As a performer, Spicer’s other West End credits include The Witches of Eastwick and Taboo.

The Q&A takes place after showcase extracts of two new musicals: The Diary of Me by Simon James Green and Stuart Matthew Price, and Lift by Craig Adams and Ian Watson. The Diary of Me cast includes Nicole Faraday, Ben Jennings and Natalie Caswell; the Lift cast includes Never Forget co-stars Craige Els and Sophia Ragavelas.

Further casting & photos

Amongst the other top performers taking part in this year’s Perfect Pitch are: Suranne Jones, Sally Ann Triplett, Julie Atherton, Robyn North, Jayne Wisener and Tim Driesen.

They’re joined by Stephen McGlynn, Jamie Muscato, Ben Jennings, John Paul McCue, Mona Goodwin, Nick Hayes, Sophia Beyn, Jennifer Tierney, Adam Slynn, Rachel Parrott, Gerard Bentall, Anna Clayton, Gareth Chart, Rachel Bingham, Meshell Dillon, Chris David Storer, Sarah French-Ellis, Amy Saunders, Victoria Bastin, David O’Dell, Daniel Summers, Beverly Rudd, Stephanie Lynd, Stephanie Lea, Kieran Brown, Claire Coultry and Claire Trusson.


In total, six promising musicals have been selected for Perfect Pitch’s first-ever West End season, which runs from 25 to 29 November 2008 at Trafalgar Studios 2. The four other shows are: Can You Keep a Secret? by Matthew Brind and Lesley Ross; The Lost Christmas by Laurence Mark Wythe; Rebels and Retail by Cush Jumbo and James McConville; and Through the Door by Laurence Mark Wythe and Judy Freed.

From Tuesday to Saturday during the Perfect Pitch week, there will be performances daily at 3.30pm and 7.45pm. Each musical will be presented as a 45-minute extract from its full piece and each will be performed three times during the week.

The showcase has been held at the Highgate fringe theatre Upstairs at the Gatehouse for the past two years since its inception. For more information on this year’s selected musicals and Perfect Pitch’s other activities, visit www.perfectpitchmusicals.com. We have a limited number of FREE tickets to the Q&A evening available to members of the Whatsonstage.com Theatre Club. Tickets can also be booked by calling the box office on 0871 297 5461.