YORK Musical Theatre Company will offer escapism to Hollywood’s golden era after release from the pandemic lockdowns at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York.
The classic American cinema of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s will be explored in song in the slick and sophisticated six-hander Hooray For Hollywood! from November 8 to 10.
Devised and directed by Paul Laidlaw, the piece was first staged at York Theatre Royal Studio in 2007, and now Laidlaw reignites his show with a cast of six – Richard Bayton, Cat Foster, John Haigh, Rachel Higgs, Henrietta Linnemann and Helen Spencer in a nostalgic, whirlwind journey through the sounds of a bygone era from the MGM, Warner Bros, RKO and Universal studios.
“Packed with a classic collection of love songs, torch songs and comic numbers, Hooray For Hollywood! covers iconic artists such as Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra to name just a few,” says Laidlaw, who recalls the premiere 14 years ago.
“We’ve actually performed the show at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre before, as well as at the York Theatre Royal Studio. As we head into our 120th year next year, it felt right to be a bit nostalgic and look back at some of our original pieces that audiences loved and revive them for new audiences.
“We loved performing The World Goes ’Round a few years ago and this show has a similar feel in that it’s a small cast and is fast paced and slick but will take the audience on a magical musical journey.”
In the lead up to next month’s performances, Laidlaw’s cast members have been Puttin’ on the Ritz in a photo-shoot at the Nola jazz restaurant and bar in Lendal, designed to evoke the glitz and glamour of vintage Hollywood.
“Housed in the old congregational chapel on Lendal, the gold, mirrored decor of Nola was the perfect setting as the cast of six brushed up their white tie, tails and top hats – so to speak! – and posed with martini glasses in the 1920s’ Art Deco atmosphere,” says publicity officer Anna Mitchelson.
“Richard, Cat, John, Rachel, Henrietta and Helen are now deep into rehearsals for the show, learning intricate harmonies and weaving famous Hollywood melodies together in a unique and clever way.”
Tickets for the 7.30pm performances cost £15, £12 for age 18 and under, on 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.