STARS of musical theatre bring a festive evening’s entertainment to Usher Hall, writes Liam Rudden.
Ruthie Henshall, John Owen-Jones and Keith Jack. Three of the country’s best loved musical theatre stars headline ‘an evening of movies and musicals’ at the Usher Hall a week on Saturday. Part of a sell-out concert series that has already taken the country by storm, An Evening of Movies & Musicals at Christmas features a host of smash hits and well known signature tunes from musicals and movies.
Olivier Award-winning Ruthie Henshall may be best known to television viewers for her stint as a judge on ITV’s Dancing on Ice, however, her West End credits are second to none including lead roles in Cats, Crazy for You, Oliver! and Chicago, amongst others.
Henshall leads the company at the Usher Hall with renditions of Broadway Baby, from Follies, a Sound of Music medley and As If We Never Said Goodbye from Sunset Boulivard. She’ll also sing I Dreamed A Dream as well performing a duet of Last Night of the World, from Miss Saigon, with Owen-Jones.
The Welshman meanwhile, returns to the Capital fresh from his stint as the Phantom Of The Opera, although he is equally well known as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Both roles he recently played at the Playhouse.
His choice of songs reflect the many musicals he appeared in, and include Music of the Night from Phantom, Bui Doi from Miss Saigon, which will accompanied by a large community choir, and Bring Him Home, from Les Mis.
The James Bond theme, Thunderball, also features in his repertoire for the evening.
Owen-Jones says, “This will be the first thing that I have done in Edinburgh since finishing Phantom of the Opera and I always look forward to coming back to Scotland.”
Completing the headlining trio is Dalkeith’s Keith Jack.
Runner-up of BBC’s Any Dream Will Do, Jack went on to land the lead role in the nationwide tour of Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a role you can see him play at the Playhouse until Saturday.
Jack admits that he is excited to be taking part in “such a fantastic show.”
He says, “To perform alongside West End greats such as John Owen-Jones and Ruthie is going to be amazing.”
Jack’s contributions to the evening will be Only The Brave from the musical play of the same name, Why God Why (Miss Saigon), This Is The Moment (Jekyll and Hyde) and the ever catchy Any Dream Will Do .
However, there’s much more to the evening than just those three names.
A 65-piece orchestra will open proceedings with the Indiana Jones theme followed by The Rhythm of Life from The Lion King. John Williams’ famous scores for E-T and Jurassic Park will also feature.
The community choir too will be kept busy bringing the concert to a close with a Christmas medley before the entire company takes to the stage for the grand finale, a rousing rendition of One Day More.
For one young Edinburgh performer the evening will be one to remember for a very long time.
Ten-year-old Jessica Nolan, a pupil at Duddingston Primary School, will have her dream come true when she opens the second half of the evening with a timely rendition of Walking In The Air from The Snowman.
The evening, which will raise finds for The Aberlour Child Care Trust, which provides help to more than 6000 of Scotland’s most vulnerable children, young people and their families each year, is the brainchild of Peter Ferguson of pdf Productions, who says, “Being a lover of musical theatre, I have always dreamed of producing a show with some of my best loved West End stars in a venue as prestigious as The Usher Hall.
“I am delighted to welcome Ruthie Henshall and John Owen-Jones to Edinburgh for what I know is going to be a never forget concert.”
An Evening of Movies & Musicals at Christmas, Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 24 November, 7.30pm, £20-£38 (a limited number of VIP tickets are available at £60, price includes pre-concert reception and post-concert meet and greet), 0131-228 1155