Sound of Musicals with Neil Brand

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Something's Coming

Series 1 - Episode 2 Something's Coming

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Review

Brand’s witty, delighted history of musical theatre saw the form find its feet in last week’s opening episode. Now we move into the middle of the 20th century, when a new blush of composers widened the genre’s scope, taking on more challenging subjects and changing our view of what musicals could do. West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, A Chorus Line and Oliver! are among the shows lovingly deconstructed, with the unique oeuvre of Stephen Sondheim given its own celebration.

What sets Brand apart from similar arts presenters, though, is the depth of his musical expertise, as shown when he dismantles important songs at his piano. Robert Lindsay and Frances Ruffelle are on hand to help with that.

Summary

The presenter explores how a new generation of composers transformed musical theatre by embracing more gritty, challenging subjects, from the mean streets of 1950s New York in West Side Story to the Dickensian London of British blockbuster Oliver! Neil learns the stories behind Broadway hits Fiddler on the Roof and A Chorus Line, and celebrates the ground-breaking work of composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. He also reveals the `secrets' of some classic numbers with the help of performers Robert Lindsay and Frances Ruffelle.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Neil Brand
Contributor Robert Lindsay
Contributor Frances Ruffelle
Executive Producer John Das
Producer Sebastian Barfield
Documentary Music