Today (24th March) is the last performance of Broadway composer Charles Strouse’s cabaret at The Pheasantry in London. The Tony Award-winning composer of over 30 musicals, including the hit Broadway musicals Annie and Bye Bye Birdie, appeared at the popular live performance venue in the heart of Chelsea for a three-night run of his first ever cabaret performance in the UK, making his début on Sunday 22nd March and continuing through to tonight’s final show. Special guest artist Bonnie Langford has joined him for each show to perform a number of his songs. The legendary actress/singer has had a long and successful career spanning the genres of film, TV, radio and theatre in both the UK and America, and is known for her roles in such West End musicals as Gypsy, Cats (original cast), Peter Pan – The Musical, Guys and Dolls and Chicago; she was most recently seen in the critically-acclaimed West End musical adaption of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, playing glamorous divorcee Muriel Eubanks.
It was a rare London performance for Charles Strouse, but The Pheasantry is one of the most popular cabaret spots in London and consistently offers musical entertainment of the highest calibre. Musical theatre performers often use the venue for cabarets, with such up-and-coming names as Kieran Brown, Nadim Naaman and Scott Garnham being just a few who have held highly successful cabarets there. The Pheasantry is a hidden gem of delights for any musical theatre fan, not just for the line-up of talent it hosts, but also for the intimate, warm and friendly atmosphere of the place. I’ve been there on a few occasions and always enjoyed the experience.
Theatre fans kicking themselves for having missed the chance to see Charles Strouse and Bonnie Langford performing there together can therefore console themselves with the knowledge that there is a whole range of upcoming events at The Pheasantry which will tickle their musical taste buds just as sweetly. The popular Cabaret Confidential is back in April, as too are composer Chris Hamilton and musical theatre actor Shimi Goodman, along with solo cabarets from Ben Richards and Jenny Gaynor. Before then however, The Pheasantry is welcoming West End star and vocal powerhouse Sharon D. Clarke to its stage for a one-night only performance this month.
Sharon D Clarke is a British television and theatre actress who has enjoyed a varied and successful career to date. Her most notable TV roles include playing council estate muSharon D Clarke is a British television and theatre actress who has enjoyed a varied and successful career to date, and shows no signs of slowing down yet. m Kendra in EastEnders and doctor Lola Griffin in Holby City, but she is primarily known for her stage work. She has appeared in many West End musicals, playing General Cartwright in Guys and Dolls, Miss Sherman in Fame, Joanne Jefferson in Rent, Rafiki in The Lion King, Matron Mama Morton in Chicago and Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray as well as originating the role of The Killer Queen in the West End Queen musical, We Will Rock You, for which she earned an Olivier Award nomination for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical. Her last major musical role in the West End was in the stage adaption of Ghost, playing the role of Oda Mae Brown which was first portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg in the 1990 film. She also won the Oliver Award for Best Supporting Actress last year for her performance as Odessa in the National Theatre play, The Amen Corner.
The West End Wonder-Woman is now bringing her solo cabaret show to The Pheasantry. Presented by Richard Douglas Productions, the show features Clarke performing a collection of show tunes, jazz and soul songs, accompanied by MD and pianist Mark Dickman. She is a vocal superstar, and the opportunity to see her perform and hear that impressive voice in such an up-close-and-personal setting is an unmissable opportunity for any musical theatre fan. She will be appearing at The Pheasantry, London on Sunday 29th March 2015 (doors open: 6.00pm / show starts: 8.00pm).
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Tuesday 24th March 2015