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Theatre director promises audience ‘something they’ve never seen before’ with fundraising musical

PUBLISHED: 10:00 27 February 2016

Theatre director Steven Day and singers rehearse for the upcoming Rogers and Hammerstein musical at Kenneth More Theatre,

Theatre director Steven Day and singers rehearse for the upcoming Rogers and Hammerstein musical at Kenneth More Theatre,

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The director of the Kenneth More Theatre has promised customers “something they’ve never seen before” with their third ever fundraising show.

Theatre director Steven Day and singers rehearse for the upcoming Rogers and Hammerstein musical at Kenneth More Theatre,Theatre director Steven Day and singers rehearse for the upcoming Rogers and Hammerstein musical at Kenneth More Theatre,

The director of the Kenneth More Theatre has promised customers “something they’ve never seen before” with their third ever fundraising show.

The theatre is bringing Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Carousel to the stage with more than 100 performers and musicians, to raise money to keep the establishment running.

Theatre director Steven Day told the Recorder the audience will see the Kenneth More’s biggest ever chorus, and it will be a show they will never forget.

“We have done two previous fundraising shows in the five years I have been here.

Theatre director Steven Day and singers rehearse for the upcoming Rogers and Hammerstein musical at Kenneth More Theatre,Theatre director Steven Day and singers rehearse for the upcoming Rogers and Hammerstein musical at Kenneth More Theatre,

“First we did the musical Nine, which was a massive success and raised £18,000, and last time we did Eric Idle’s He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy just after Monty Python had performed it at the Royal Albert Hall.

“We wanted to do something completely different because we hadn’t really done a traditional musical.

“It also meant we could involve so many people in the chorus.”

In December Redbridge Council announced it was proposing the cut the theatre’s grant, with some speculation it could force the Kenneth More to close.

Theatre director Steven Day and singers rehearse for the upcoming Rogers and Hammerstein musical at Kenneth More Theatre,Theatre director Steven Day and singers rehearse for the upcoming Rogers and Hammerstein musical at Kenneth More Theatre,

But Steven is confident they can innovate and survive, and has been planning these shows for months.

“When we found out about the news it just spurred us on, we are more excited than worried.”

And former actors and musicians are returning to Ilford from across the country to take part.

Steven said: “It’s been easy to prepare because everyone has performed at the Kenneth More before, and are also well versed in the musical.

Theatre director Steven Day, centre, and singers rehearse for the upcoming Rogers and Hammerstein musical at Kenneth More Theatre,Theatre director Steven Day, centre, and singers rehearse for the upcoming Rogers and Hammerstein musical at Kenneth More Theatre,

“Everyone is doing it completely free of charge to support the theatre, people have come all the way from Wales.”

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s favourite musical tells the story of carefree carnival barker Billy Bigelow from Maine, who marries naive millworker Julie Jordan.

Billy loses his job as Julie gets pregnant, and so he embarks on an ill conceived robbery to provide for his family.

It goes completely wrong and Billy gets busted. Facing certain prison he commits suicide and is sent up to the sky.

In the absence of her father Louise grows up a sad and lonely teenager.

Up in the clouds Billy is not allowed into heaven, and is given one day back on earth to make things right with his daughter and be granted through the pearly gates.

The show is filled with brilliant musical numbers performed by a 32 person orchestra.

The most famous tune is ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, which is sung to Julie by her cousin after Billy dies.

Liverpool football players are now serenaded with this by their fans before every home match, “which I only know because my brother told me” admitted Steven.

Despite the cuts, the theatre director does not foresee these huge fundraising shows becoming commonplace.

“This is not something we will be able to do every couple of months,” Steven explained.

“There are different ways of raising money, and we will be doing smaller events, like selling books.

“This is the biggest chorus in the 41 years of the Kenneth More Theatre, and the show will be something the audience have never seen before.”

Carousel is on as a matinee and evening performance on March 5. Tickets are £25 with all funds going to the theatre. To buy ring 0208 553 4466 or visit kmtheatre.co.uk.


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