My Top 5 Showtunes: Kit Orton
The actor tells us the musical numbers he couldn't live without
Kit Orton is soon to embark on a UK tour of Tom: the Musical in the titular role.
His previous theatre credits include Oliver! at the Watermill and the West End production of Spamalot..
We caught up with Kit and asked him: "If you were stranded on a desert island, which five showtunes could you not live without?"
1. "The Room Where It Happens" from Hamilton
I try and avoid jumping on band wagons where I can but I ran after this particular band wagon and jumped on with both feet. It's a spectacular piece of writing. As a writer myself it both inspires me and makes me think I should just give up!
This song in particular gives me tingles. I'm a big fan of 30s and 40s jazz and swing and bands like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Leslie Odom Jr gives an amazingly desperate vocal and Lin Manuel Miranda is a genius storyteller. It's addictive listening and it's on in my car every time I make a trip.
2. "The Bells of Nortredame" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Alan Menken at his very best. Unapologetically huge orchestrations and vocal arrangements. Simply one of the best openings to a show I've ever heard. This is a piece of music that has to be turned all the way up to 11. You can't hold back with this music. If those bells don't smash every glass and window in your house then it isn't loud enough!
3. "As Long As He Needs Me" from Oliver!
Before last summer this song wouldn't have been anywhere near my top five. In fact I have never been a huge fan of Oliver!. That was until I was cast as Bill Sikes at the Watermill Theatre during the summer of 2015. Being so immersed in the production helped me really get to grips with the piece as a whole and "As Long As He Needs Me" was definitely the standout song of the piece for me. This was in no small part down to our Nancy. Alice Fearn's rendition of this haunting number was mesmerising and wholly upsetting. I now believe that it is one of the finest musical theatre songs ever written.
4. "I Can't Recall" from A Tale of Two Cities
Perhaps not as well known as the other four songs I have selected, "I Can't Recall", was, for me, the finest moment of Jill Santoriello's short lived musical. I bought the DVD of the 2009 performance filmed in Brighton and immediately fell in love with its scale and intensity. It was James Barbour's rendition of "I Can't Recall" that made me rush to buy the sheet music as I was desperate to try singing it myself. I can't even really explain why I love it so much actually! It just hits me where it is supposed to. It may not hit others in the same place but I hope they can appreciate its power!
5. "If I Loved You" from Carousel
I'm a strong advocate of new writing but sometimes you can't deny why a classic is a classic. Anthony Warlow is quite simply, in my opinion, the finest musical theatre performer there has ever been. He is able to turn his craft to any genre and his voice is sublime. I am, in fact, desperate to write something for him to sing and when I write anything for My Land's Shore it's always with his voice in my head.
Carousel is a beautiful piece and with Warlow's effortless power at the helm it's a match made in heaven. The Rogers and Hammerstein purists may argue that he has taken a certain liberty with a particular note (listen to it and you'll know immediately which one I mean) but I can forgive him.
When I first heard it in the car the hairs on my neck went straight up and I had to pull to the side of the road for a moment. That's quite embarrassing actually. But I guess I'm grateful music can have that effect on me! I'm still searching for more moments like that! Bring on the future of musical theatre with, hopefully, less reruns and more exciting new and original work!