Tag Archives: Jersey Boys

Bye Bye Jersey Boys

28 Mar

This post is not going to be about the final performance of Jersey Boys in the West End. Although I have been a supporter of the show since 2008 I did not attend the performance on Sunday. Jersey Boys still does and always will hold a special place in my heart though. And I did celebrate the show on Sunday but I did it by attending Ryan Molloy’s Farewell Frankie gig at the Hippodrome in London.

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For those of you that were not there and did not see anything about what happened yet I will sum it up in three words: Original Four reunited. Ryan Molloy, Glenn Carter, Philip Bulcock and Stephen Ashfield (who flew in just for a day from New York – that is dedication!) took the stage together for the first time since 2010 and gave Jersey Boys the best send off imaginable. It was a celebration of a show that has had a big impact on both its fans and the performers who have been part of it.

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I will not bore you with long talk about how important Jersey Boys has been for me – I have made friends through this show and have met so many wonderful people. I have not watched it regularly for the past few years but I cherish the memories from those first six years when I was a regular at the Prince Edward Theatre. And I am happy the show continued to make people happy for another three years at the Piccadilly Theatre.

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On Sunday I got the chance to celebrate Jersey Boys with the people who made me fall in love with it. And for that I cannot thank the man who made it happen enough: Ryan Molloy. What an incredible day he managed to put together: From the gig in the afternoon all the way to an aftershow party that went on until after midnight.

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It was lovely to see so many former Jersey Boys (and Girls) reunited at the gig and/or the aftershow party: Ryan Molloy, Stephen Ashfield, Glenn Carter, Philip Bulcock, Suzy Bastone, Kieran Jae, Charlie Bull, Chris Gardner, Jon Boydon, Matt Wycliffe, Trina Hill, Eugene McCoy – You are all amazing. Thank you for everything.

And Ryan was right: He only offers the truth – I shit you not.

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Since words cannot do the whole thing justice here are some videos for you to enjoy.









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10 Questions with Eugene McCoy

12 Sep

Eugene McCoy trained at ArtsEd. He has appeared in shows like Mamma Mia, American Psycho, The Pajama Game, Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma, They’re Playing Our Song and Little Shop of Horrors. Eugene played the part of Nick Massi in the West End production of Jersey Boys from 2010 to 2013. At the moment you can catch him at the Old Vic Theatre in the world premiere of Groundhog Day.

Eugene kindly took some time out of his busy schedule to talk about his musical theatre journey so far, Groundhog Day, annoying audience behaviour and what the future might hold.

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How did you get into musical theatre and did you always want to be a performer?
I started performing when I was three years old – not professionally, of course. I left drama school when I was 21 so that’s when I started professionally. But I started singing, dancing and acting when I was 3. I danced until I was 12, four times a week, did lots of competitions and festivals but then I got really bad knees and had to stop. So I did more acting and singing from then on. I went to drama school when I was 18 for three years. I honestly don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to perform. I always said as a kid: “I’m going to be on the stage or on tv – this is what I want to do.”

What has been your favourite performing job so far and why?
I don’t have a single favourite one. Jersey Boys was amazing because it was my first big lead (role). The prestige of wearing that red jacket was so huge and I came in at the big first cast change for the Seasons. And I got to rehearse in New York, learn the show out there and then we came back and we were constantly doing PR, tv gigs, press and exciting events outside of work. The theatre was the best theatre and it was an amazing character to play and the audiences were crazy (in a good way). That was brilliant. But equally I loved The Pajama Game in Chichester in the small Minerva Theatre: I was very free on stage performing a character as extravagant as he was and got to sing, dance and act more than I’d done for a while. And then American Psycho at the Almeida was amazing. That show felt incredibly unique. So I have to say those three are the ones I remember most really.

How does it feel to be a part of Groundhog Day, working with people like Tim Minchin, Matthew Warchus and Peter Darling?
It feels so great to be part of Groundhog Day. I first auditioned last August and it was for the workshop. We did this big workshop in October and November last year for four weeks. So I auditioned for that originally with a view to doing the show. It was a case of if you did well in the workshop and they liked you then you got to do the show. I remember hearing about the project and I told my agent “I want to be in that show.” And when I knew I was going to be in it all just felt great and I was so excited. The prospect of working with this team was incredible – and in that theatre – it was a no brainer! It’s proved to be brilliant. It’s a hard show but it’s worth it. The team is lovely and they are making groundbreaking new theatre and not “just” old revivals. That’s what so exciting. It’s new theatre that will last.

Do you think people watch the show with very specific expectations (having seen the film)? How is the show different from the film?
I’ve never seen the film! Ha! But yes, people have expectations and most people I know who have seen the show and the movie actually say they prefer the show. Interesting! I will be watching the film in a week’s time (when the show is done).

What’s it like working with Andy Karl?
Horrendous! He stinks, he never washes…. No, joking! He is lovely, a very nice man, very hard working and brilliantly talented. I think he is going to become quite famous. And I think he is going to win every award for this show and he deserves to.

You’ve been in various shows over the past years. If you had to choose one show to go back into which one would it be?
I would like to do lots of my shows for maybe a week and no more. I’d love to do Mamma Mia for a week because I did it when I was much younger and it was really fun. I’d love to go and do Guys and Dolls again because the Donmar production at the Piccadilly Theatre was so special. It was a brilliant production and I’d like to go back and do that now that I’m a bit older. And I’d like to go back and do the big three and “Who loves you” at Jersey Boys because I never got bored of those. They were amazing to do every night.

Do you have a dream role or a show you would love to be in someday?
I’m not sure I do. It’s difficult for me being a bass singer. There are not many roles for me especially in new musicals so I’m often limited in what I can do in that sense. I always wanted to play Bert in Mary Poppins but I wouldn’t be able to dance it because my knees would concave and I would never be able to walk again. I would maybe like to be Miss Trunchbull in Matilda. I saw Jesus Christ Superstar recently and I’d like to sing Caiaphas because it’s a really low bass but it’s not a very exciting part to play if I’m honest. And I always wanted to be in The Producers because it’s amongst my favourite shows. In fact, I’d like to play any of the knights in the original big West End production of Spamalot as well. And playing Geoffrey in Stepping Out would be great.

What are the last musicals and/or plays you watched and which ones are on your “to see” list at the moment?
I’ve not seen anything because Groundhog Day has basically taken over my life for five months (apart from Jesus Christ Superstar as mentioned above!). The last thing I saw was People, Places and Things with Denise Gough which was the most amazing performance I’ve seen for so long and she was just outrageous and incredible. And that inspired me and had me buzzing for days and weeks. I want to go and see Yerma with Billie Pieper but I won’t get the chance unfortunately. She’s supposed to be incredible. And I’d like to see Funny Girl but I’m not sure I will get round to. I’d also liked to have seen Deep Blue Sea at the National with Helen McCrory because I think she’s brilliant. What else? I want to see Hamilton.

What are your top three pet peeves when it comes to (bad) audience behaviour?
I guess one is people who don’t throw flowers at me at the end because everyone really should…. Haha.
People who have their phones on and you can see the light when you’re looking out into the audience. That is really, really annoying. In a way, latecomers: If you are doing a scene and it’s really quiet and latecomers come in it’s really frustrating. And when I’m in the audience and people are eating sweets (those with the noisy wrappers). That drives me insane.

Why should people go and see Groundhog Day?
Because I don’t think you will see a better new musical for quite a while. And that might sound biased but I think it’s the best new musical for a long time. And it’s inspiring and it’s funny, it will make you cry, it will make you laugh and it’s clever. It’s really, really, really clever and witty. And the ensemble are the hardest working ensemble – I keep saying this but we really do work so hard. And if you want to see people sweat and you want to see me tap dancing in winter boots, a parka jacket and a woolly hat with a big smile – come and see Groundhog Day!

Groundhog Day is playing at the Old Vic Theatre until 19th September. Public booking for the last performance on 19th September opens this Thursday.
http://www.oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2016/groundhog-day/

Follow Eugene on Twitter @McCoyEugene  .

Ryan Molloy live at the Electric Carousel – 29th August 2015

30 Aug

Ryan Molloy’s long-awaited first public appearance after starring as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys on Broadway took him to the Electric Carousel, an intimate concert venue in Central London. Advertised as “The New Jersey Songbook” the evening turned out to be a diverse journey through the music history of Jersey – from Frank Sinatra to Ben E. King to The Isley Brothers right to the hits of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons Ryan treated his audience to a collection of some of the finest songs that were ever written.

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The special thing about Ryan is his ability to give every song a completely unique touch. You may have heard all of them a thousand times by various artists but you will always discover something new when you listen to Ryan’s take on them. And while there is no question that Ryan Molloy has one of the best voices in the business he also knows how to entertain and engage his fans making all of them feel part of the evening.

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As expected Frankie Valli / Four Seasons’ hits like “Can’t take my eyes of you” and “Beggin'” proved to be favorites amongst the audience along with a mini reunion for which Ryan was joined on stage by former Jersey Boys Matthew Wycliffe, Eugene McCoy and Chris Gardner singing “Who loves you”, “Oh what a night” and a Jersey Boys Medley.

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But it was the tender “Stand by me” (Ben E. King) and the powerful “This old heart of mine” (The Isley Brothers) that stood out for me. Here Ryan really showed that he is not just “the guy who sings Frankie Valli”.

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Those songs might be what he is best known for but over the years Ryan has proven that he can sing anything from Frankie Valli to modern-day Rock, Pop and Funk. And this concert at the Electric Carousel proved that he is just as comfortable singing a whole collection of classic hits that have their origin in Jersey.

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I could keep on praising the undeniable talent of Ryan Molloy for hours but instead I am going to let music speak. Below are some videos from last nights’ concert. Watch, listen and enjoy.

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Check out ryanmolloy.com for all the latest info about upcoming appearances and get in touch with Ryan on Facebook and Twitter @molloyofficial .





Jersey Boys at the Piccadilly Theatre – 8th August 2015

11 Aug

Some might remember the last time I watched Jersey Boys in the West End. It was 14 months ago and I left the theatre rather disappointed. The show I had been supporting for six years was lacking something and I just didn’t enjoy it anymore. I decided to take a break back then and I stuck to it (apart from one visit to the Broadway production last September).

But on Saturday I found myself taking my seat in the Piccadilly Theatre for the first time since that not so enjoyable performance in May 2014. Normally I don’t review a show again and again but I feel like I have to make it up to the show because it is such a vital part of my theatre going past in the West End and I don’t want my last words about it in this blog to be “It is no fun anymore”.

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So, just like last time Sandy Moffat was on for Frankie Valli. I admit I was worried because I just didn’t like his performance the first time I saw him. But it really needs to be said: Sandy has grown so much over the past months. His Frankie is well-defined and his vocals are good. He looks at ease on stage and handles the big numbers in the show well. He is not the most charismatic or unique Frankie but he fits in perfectly with the rest of the cast and delivers a great performance.

Ben Wheeler’s Tommy De Vito (understudying Jon Boydon) is just as outstanding and wonderful to watch as ever. He has been with the show from the very start and it is a joy to see how much effort he is putting into his performance. As a repeat visitor you will find little nuances that are one hundred percent unique for Ben’s Tommy. As a first time visitor you will see a perfectly balanced portrayal and one hundred percent commitment to the role.

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Edd Post is still in the show playing Bob Gaudio and he does so with a cheeky charm and great vocals. His Bob Gaudio goes from insecure young boy to “Bobby Businessman” in a convincing way – it’s a very slick and professional performance. And despite having been with the show for years Edd’s portrayal feels fresh and full of life.

Gary Watson has joined the cast as Nick Massi in March. I have seen Gary in a few productions over the years (from Saturday Night Fever to A Chorus Line and Fings aint what they used t’be) and he always struck me as a great singer, actor and dancer. In Jersey Boys the acting part is what it is most about and I was curious to see how a rather boyish looking Nick would work in the show. First of all, I am not easily pleased when it comes to Nick. So far only two actors have managed to convince me with their portrayal (Philip Bulcock and Mark Isherwood). Gary’s performance is solid and I can’t fault his portrayal as a whole. I’m not sure I like his intonation though. His voice seemed unnaturally deep and his Nick speaks with a strange slur that doesn’t do anything for me (apart from making me think Nick might have more than just a taste for alcohol). He leaves every single one of his sentence open which means some of Nick’s very on point one liners don’t come across as well as they should. But all in all I think Gary is a good addition to the cast. I have heard people praise his performance which is great – it doesn’t matter I’m not one hundred percent sure about his portrayal if the paying public enjoys seeing his take on the part.

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I’m not going to mention every single member of the current cast but I have to name a few more. Simon Adkins has returned to the show as Bob Crewe. There really are no words for how much I’ve missed him in Jersey Boys. In my eyes Simon is the ultimate Bob Crewe. No other performer has ever come close to his portrayal. In short: I am over the moon to have him back in the show.

Mark Isherwood’s Joey Pesci (understudying Matt Thorpe) is a pure delight to watch. He might not be the perfect fit for Joey but the fact he pulls of such a great performance nevertheless just shows what a great actor he is.

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Last not least: Matthew Hunt’s Gyp de Carlo (understudying Matthew Cutts). At first I thought he might be too young but I was definitely wrong. He oozes authority on that stage and just makes it work. He delivers a very impressive performance and is definitely my favourite new face in Jersey.

The rest of the cast does a good job. The show is in great shape which makes me happy. I will never be a dedicated return visitor again – those days are behind me now. But it’s good to know that I can pay my former second home a visit now and then and be sure I will have fun and leave the theatre with a smile on my face.

Jersey Boys continues at the Piccadilly Theatre. For more info and to book tickets go to http://jerseyboyslondon.com/

Everybody knows my name – A short film by Philip Bulcock

18 Jun

“Everybody knows my name” is a short film featuring the original London Jersey Boys leads Ryan Molloy, Glenn Carter, Philip Bulcock and Stephen Ashfield. The film is based on the song of the same title (written by Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe) which is referred to but not actually used in the hit musical Jersey Boys. Some might call this film an extended music video but it really is so much more than that.

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We see four guys in a hotel room. The setting is gloomy and there is a hint of melancholy in the air. It is clear that these four guys are famous – members of a band. The window is opened for a second, screaming fans can be heard, the window is closed again. The four guys hardly acknowledge their surroundings. One of them starts playing a melody on his guitar. They sing a song about the price of their fame. All the while they appear impassive – maybe they are lost in thoughts, maybe they have just given up.

“Everybody knows my name” exposes the cost of fame. In the musical Jersey Boys Frankie Valli tells the audience: “If you’ve got a home and a family, you’ve got much more than me”. In Philip Bulcock’s short film we see what exactly that means.

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Ryan Molloy’s clear lead vocals are a joy to listen to and together with his fellow Jersey Boys he gives the song a wonderfully melodic sadness that fits right into the picturesque but despondent appearance of the film.

I’ve always admired the chemistry the original London Jersey Boys leads had and it is wonderful to see those four guys reunited in this film. There is something about this group that makes them special and Philip Bulcock has managed to capture this unique vibe perfectly.

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Whether you are a fan of the original London cast of Jersey Boys or just generally interested in short films – “Everybody knows my name” is a work not to be missed. Philip Bulcock proves his talent as both director and actor with a thought-provoking story told through song and pictures.

“Everybody knows my name” is set to be released on Friday, 20th of June 2014. It has been a long time waiting but I can assure you: This film is worth the wait.

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Stay up to date with the latest news about the film on Facebook and follow its director Philip Bulcock on Twitter @PhilipBulcock .

Jersey Boys at the Piccadilly Theatre – 3rd May 2014

6 May

It took me almost 2 months to finally go and check out Jersey Boys – the show that used to be one of my absolute favourites in the West End – in its new home. Now, before I sum up my thoughts I want to point out that I went with an open mind – even more so, I wanted to enjoy the show just as much as I had enjoyed it for the past 6 years.

First of all, I think the staging works well in the Piccadilly Theatre. Everything seems slightly smaller and it took me a few scenes to get used to props being wheeled on from the sides rather than appearing out of a trap door. I did feel the sound was rather flat in parts – I was missing the buzz I always felt when the big numbers came on in the Prince Edward Theatre. But that might have been due to my seat on the far stage left side of the auditorium since I haven’t heard anyone else complain about the sound so far.

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Ben Wheeler gave a faultless performance as Tommy DeVito. He was one of the reasons I chose this particular performance because I just adore his Tommy. He really makes the part his own and manages the mix between Tommy – the bully and Tommy – the charming man perfectly.

Edd Post’s Bob Gaudio has developed so much since he took over the part in March 2013. His singing is great and he gives Bobby a boyish charm and just the right amount of confidence.

I enjoyed Matt Nalton’s take on Nick Massi. For me Nick needs to be calm and collected right until his outburst in act two. Matt managed that well and I think he will be wonderful in the role once he has settled into it fully.

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Sandy Moffat was on for Frankie Valli and I had high hopes for his performance having seen him in several other shows (Rock of Ages and Dirty Dancing to name two). He has always impressed me with his voice and acting and I was happy when I found out he had been cast as alternate Frankie Valli. However, I have to say he didn’t convince me in this role. His acting was ok with room for improvement which is understandable considering it was only his second Frankie show. His singing was very inconsistent and he struggled with the falsetto. I realise this is one of the toughest singing parts in the West End but Sandy seemed to have problems hitting the high notes at all. I have heard other Frankies sing in a slightly lower key and that worked perfectly well. Obviously it is not on me to advise a singer on how to approach a song but personally I would love to hear Sandy give the lower key a try.

Out of the new guys and girls I enjoyed Graham Vick’s Gyp de Carlo (although he is technically not a new guy) and Rob Wilshaw’s Donnie / Knuckles the most. Sean Mulligan’s Bob Crewe was too over the top in parts for my liking. Emma Stephens gave a solid performance as Lorraine but didn’t stand out for me. And I couldn’t warm to Sophie Carmen-Jones’ Francine and Matthew Hunt’s Norman Waxman.

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All in all the show is not in a bad shape and I can’t fault the cast in general (after all it’s mostly down to personal preferences if someone enjoys a performer’s take on a role or not). But I admit I just didn’t enjoy the show like I used to. For me it was missing a certain sparkle and I sadly ended up being slightly bored and wanting it to end.

I’ve had a fantastic time watching Jersey Boys over the past 6 years but I won’t rush back to see the show again at the Piccadilly Theatre. It’s time to move on and leave Jersey behind. However, that shouldn’t stop you from watching the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

For more info and to book tickets go to http://www.jerseyboyslondon.com.

Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre 2008 – 2014

10 Mar

I still remember how it all started. In 2008 I stumbled upon a few clips of this new show which had just opened at the Prince Edward Theatre. This was the first time I heard that voice and I was hooked straight away. This guy named Ryan Molloy hit all those insane notes with such ease – I was amazed and I knew I had to go and see him and the show.

It’s actually almost funny that the main reason I booked tickets for Jersey Boys was indeed Ryan and on my first visit to the show the main man was off sick. Was I disappointed? Of course I was. At least until the show started. Because once I got over the fact that Ryan wasn’t on I realised I was watching one of the slickest and most entertaining shows I had seen in my life. The timing in Jersey Boys is incredible and doesn’t fail to amaze me even after almost 6 years of watching the show. That combined with the incredibly talented cast made me fall in love with Jersey Boys straight away. In case you are wondering, my first Frankie Valli was no other than the wonderful Jye Frasca who still has a place in my top 3 favourite Frankies.

I started out with the odd visit every 2 months which means I only got to see the original London cast a few times. It wasn’t until after the first cast change that I became a proper regular at the show. But once I started there was no going back for me and up to 4 visits a month became the norm pretty quickly.

And here I am, almost 6 years later. I have seen this show develop over the years, I have seen performers come and leave. Every cast has had something special. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the “Original Four” though: Ryan Molloy, Stephen Ashfield, Glenn Carter and Philip Bulcock. Those four guys had a special chemistry that no other Four Seasons combo has been able to match so far (at least in my opinion).

So many wonderful people have graced the stage at Jersey Boys since 2008 – it’s impossible to name them all. I feel extremely lucky to have met some of the most talented and nicest performer in the West End through this show, many of whom I have continued to support after they moved on to other shows.

This show has been a big part of my theatre life for the past 6 years. And now that its time at the Prince Edward Theatre has come to an end I feel a huge loss. Yes, I realise this is not the end of Jersey Boys. In less than a week a brand new cast (including some familiar faces) will open the show at its new home, the Piccadilly Theatre. However, this is the end of my time as a Jersey Boys regular. Unlike other fans I won’t be moving with the show. For me Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre was something special and no matter how good the new cast may be, I just feel that it’s time for me to close this chapter.

I have loved my 6 years at the Prince Edward Theatre – a place I could probably call my second home by now. I have met some dear friends through this show and I wouldn’t change a thing about my time spent at Jersey Boys.

So many people had a part in making those years a wonderful experience, from the cast to everyone working backstage, from the band to the lovely people at the box office and the front of house staff. This is my way of thanking each and every one of you. Without you Jersey Boys would not have been such a great place to spend an evening (exactly 182 of them in my case).

I have to take an extra moment to thank one person in particular because without him I might never have booked my first ticket for the show and I might not have stayed with it all those years. Ryan Molloy is not just an amazingly talented performer but also a wonderful person and I’m happy and proud to call myself a supporter of him and his work. I salute his 6 years commitment to Jersey Boys and even though I think leaving the show is the right decision I am terribly sad I will never get to see his Frankie again.

All things must come to an end and my Jersey Boys journey ended on 9th March 2014. This doesn’t mean I will never watch the show again. There is no way I am not going to jump at the chance of seeing Ben Wheeler’s Tommy DeVito or Mark Isherwood’s Nick Massi. But my days as a regular visitor are definitely over. It’s time to start a new chapter. Let’s see where it takes me.

Little trip down memory lane in pictures

 

West End Live 2013 – Photo Feature Part 3

24 Jun

Sunday 23rd June 2013

Matthew Morrison, High Society (Daniel Boys), Jersey Boys, Stuart Matthew Price, Oliver Tompsett

West End Live 2013 – Photo Feature Part 2

24 Jun

Saturday 22nd June 2013

Once, Wicked, Billy Elliot, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Top Hat, Matilda, We will rock you, The Bodyguard, Jersey Boys, A Chorus Line, Rock of Ages

West End Live 2013 – Photo Feature Part 1

24 Jun

Sound Check – Friday 21st June 2013

Jersey Boys, We will rock you, The Bodyguard, Wicked, Top Hat, Billy Elliot, Les Miserables