Deciding to forego the pleasure of another trip out into live theatreland was a tough decision, but as we set up the Thespie livestream of the first Monday Night at the Apollo it did feel like ‘showtime”.
Produced by Wild Mountain (Greg Barnett, who hosts tonight’s show and opens with a song; and Hugh Summers), the formula for the series is a rotating cast, chat and music from Broadway’s Golden Age to surprising choices from the world of rock/pop (Julian Ovenden, about to open in Chichester’s South Pacific, sings Dolly and Tom Waits).
With Ovenden joining forces with Lucie Jones (Waitress), Cassidy Janson (&Juliet), Cedric Neal (Back to the Future) and Thespie co-creator and SIX alumnus Aimee Atkinson (Pretty Woman), this is a vibrant ‘hello again’ to the big musicals which dotted the West End when the lights went out last March.
The chat veers in all kinds of directions, as you’d expect from old friends and colleagues happy and relieved that the industry is starting to get back on its feet.
Jones and Neal recount their paths through TV talent shows: Ovenden recalls his formative years in My Night With Reg in the Apollo (only six years ago, as it happens). Janson trots out her Carole King story and a juicy workshop story about a Bridget Jones musical, and Atkinson discussed the lockdown creation of SEVEN.
With duets, big numbers (from Chess, The Wiz, Annie Get Your Gun, Waitress), and a lot of pizazz, this night is a triumph and a happy return.
Further shows follow on 14 June and 5 July both at the Apollo and via livestream. You can also view tonight’s concert on demand – purchase tickets here for live shows and here for the stream (a bundle of all three shows is available).
LouReviews received complimentary access to view the 24 May stream of Monday Night at the Apollo.