90th Celebration Concert – March 2014

Musical Director: Ann Sleigh
Dance Director: Heather Taylor

(Review taken from ACT Magazine)

THE MAGIC OF MUSICALS

Frank and June MillwardTo celebrate its 90th birthday Crewe AMS presented an evening of music from shows from each of their nine decades. The unenviable task of correlating all the music required was undertaken by Sue Dodd and a most enjoyable selection was chosen.

All the rules of presenting this type of concert were adhered to. No full songs, a verse and a chorus segueing to the next number. This musical feast was in very capable hands. Ann Sleigh is an established accompanist, no other instruments were needed, her playing complemented the composers.

After a diet of contemporary musical theatre, to have an evening revisiting music from the Andrew Lloyd Webber’s of their time, made me realise what we had been missing.

Nine decades of programme coversFor many on stage it was a new experience singing this style of music from the 1950s, 40s and 30s, operettas, and Gilbert and Sullivan. So much discipline and technique is needed and everyone on stage was so well-rehearsed.

Act 1, or the early years, took us from G&S to The Student Prince, The Desert Song, The New Moon and a visit to the White Horse Inn, but no “Happy Cows”.

The next selection came from the world of operetta with numbers like “Brother Mine” from Die Fledermaus, and the most beautiful “Merry Widow Waltz”. Neither did they forget dear Ivor Novello and his Perchance to Dream. Then the Rogers and Hammerstein song book was opened. First out was South Pacific washing that man out of their hair, a soupcon of the “Oklahoma” chorus. Then a visit to fairy-tail Brigadoon.

Annie got her gun and the Fair Lady adapted from Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion was “luverly”.

Act 2 or from then to now.

Cole Porter, that master of American music, was represented by Kiss Me Kate and it was “vunderbar”. Then the company members put on their Sunday Clothes, watched the sunrise sunset, because luck was a lady and anything goes. The Lambeth Walk, with toffs who said they must call her Madam. Thoroughly Modern Millie’s friend Sweet Charity was a Superstar and was never “Miserable”.

Many original principals replayed their characters, and most of the other 31 on stage covered the other solos and duets.
One highlight of the evening came from Frank Millward and his rendition of “More I Cannot Wish You”.

Seeing that there was going to be a selection from “Les Miserable”, my heart went a little heavy as I am a little Les Mis’d out. There was no need to worry, as a type of Glee choir arrangement brought a new and exciting musical presentation.

That was the cherry on the birthday cake that proved, for 90 years, CAMS has been a leading society in musical theatre – and the musical standard of this concert explains why.