Through the writing that I do, I have had the good fortune to meet many amazing and talented people in the theatre industry, both those on the stage and those behind the scenes; one such person is Mark Petty, one half of the transatlantic composing duo Anderson & Petty. I first met Mark through our shared association with The Make A Difference Trust. He and song-writing partner Barry Anderson were commissioned by the charity to compose a song for the World Aids Day service, which has led to a fruitful relationship between the MADTrust organisation and them. I’ve since had the pleasure of being in Mark’s company many times since then, including the wonderful trip we both took to the Musical Theatre Academy’s (MTA) annual musical revue last year (Something Old Something New) to showcase the first and second year students of the up-and-coming performing arts school.
Anderson & Petty are a musical theatre song-writing team full of potential and whose name is already becoming known in theatre circles. A wider audience may now be introduced to their work through their debut album, which was released this week (16th December).
Their very first songbook album, titled You Are Home: The Songs of Anderson & Petty, is an outstanding collection of the work composed over the past few years which spans the music genres of musical theatre, pop, country, -rock and gospel. The album features 16 original songs, some of which may be recognisable to existing fans, and performed by a wealth of musical theatre stars from both sides of the Atlantic.
Les Miserables’ original Eponine, Frances Ruffelle, is one of the performers representing the West End line-up. She recently sung alongside Michael Xavier at West End Bares 2013 on the new Anderson & Petty number ‘Bare It At The Funfair’. On the album she sings ‘We Stand Together, the song which was composed for that MADTrust World Aids Day Service of Dedication and Celebration in 2012 and originally sung at the event by Rachel Tucker with the MTA students. They have also secured the singing talent of Kieran Brown (Love Never Dies, Wicked), who delivers a rendition of a song which was specially composed for him and which he performed at his solo cabaret last year (‘A New Star Tonight’), and Gina Beck, singing the song she previously premiered at the 2012 A Night of Anderson & Petty concert at the Delfont Room (‘Forever Child’). Both of these songs have been personal favourites of mine since learning the story behind their creation.
Other UK performers featured on the album include Matthew Barrow (The Wizard of Oz, Merrily We Roll Along), Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple, I Can’t Sing), Debbie Kurup (The Bodyguard) and Sophia Ragavelas (Les Miserables), the latter of which performs a bonus track on the album titled ‘Stand Up’. It was originally composed for the MADTrust’s annual fundraising night West End Bares in 2012 and performed by Louise Dearman and Mark Evans.
More high-quality stage names stepped forward to represent Broadway on the album, such as Autumn Hurlbert (Legally Blonde), who presents her version of the popular Anderson & Petty song ‘Superman’. There are also vocals from Jason Kappus (American Idiot) on ‘Tell Me’, Lucia Spina (Kinky Boots) on ‘Love Will Find Its Way’ and Coleen Sexton (Jekyll and Hyde), who sings the title track on the album ‘You Are Home’. Also featured are Brent Michael DiRoma (Avenue Q National Tour), Natalie Gallo (Jersey Boys), Jen Burleigh-Bentz (Mamma Mia), Jonathan Rayson (Because of Winn-Dixie) and Josh Franklin (Anything Goes).
Anderson & Petty came together in 2010 when they were introduced by a mutual friend. Their debut concert was staged at the Duplex in Greenwich Village, NYC in May 2011, and in the last 2 years, they have gone on to showcase their work through various events in both the USA (The Triad, Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center) and the UK (Delfont Room, Café de Paris, The Union Theatre, The Garrick Theatre). Most recently, they premiered a new song at the MADTrust annual concert, A West End Christmas, at The Actor’s Church in Covent Garden; the festive-themed ‘Reindeer Wives’ which was performed live by Sophie Isaacs, Harriet Thorpe and Christopher Howell.
You Are Home, which was co-produced with Dennis Michael Keefe from the record label Great White Wax, is the culmination of 3 years of partnership. A songbook album is something which any songwriter aspires to and I have seen my fair share of them in my time. Already a fan of their work, it’s a pleasure to see the fruits of their labour spectacularly displayed in this way and I would hope that their debut album will bring them a wider audience and help to take them to higher places.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
You Are Home, the debut album from composing team Anderson & Petty, is now available to buy on iTunes and Amazon.
You can follow Anderson & Petty on twitter: @andersonpetty
Tuesday 17th December 2013.