A YOUNG musical director from Warwckshire is organising an online Musical Marathon with top West End and Broadway names to help people through the coronavirus crisis.
Sam Young has organised the extravaganza to raise money for Warwick-based NHS Charities Together, which supports and champions the work of NHS charities, and also Acting For Others, which provides financial and emotional support to theatre workers in times of need.
Performed live by more than 20 of theatre’s leading musical directors, it will be broadcast on the Musical Marathon Facebook page on Thursday May 7 at 7pm, with an intermission at 8pm to applaud the NHS and carers.
There will be performances from the musical directors of shows such as global phenomenon Six, Tony and Olivier Award-winning Hamilton and smash hit Les Miserables.
The concert will unite both West End and Broadway veterans such as London’s Gareth Valentine (City of Angels, Guys & Dolls, The Pajama Game) and New York’s Brian Usifer (Frozen, Kinky Boots, The Book of Mormon).
Sam, from Moreton Morrell, has been working as a musical director in London for the past two years since leaving Warwick School.
The 20-year-old also teaches at drama schools in the capital alongside working on West End shows.
Sam explained how the Musical Marathon came about.
“The idea itself was prompted by my mum. I do a livestream on my Instagram every Friday and I wanted to make it a fund-raiser so I floated the idea of doing a piano marathon, where I played for 12 hours straight.
“My mum very quickly shot the idea down and said it was boring and suggested instead I get together as many musical directors as possible and do a musical marathon. I thought the idea was stupid but just in case I put out a few feelers to my friends in London (I am lucky enough to be mentored by a very prestigious music supervisor Gareth Valentine, whose influence has been so helpful in assembling the line-up).
“Even so, I didn’t for a second think that I’d get the calibre of musical directors that I now have. I have been struck, too, my the extreme generosity of everyone I have spoken to – we are all grieving the theatre and so many of the musicians I spoke to have jumped at the chance to bring enjoyment to people at home while also providing a platform to both showcase the talent of musical directors from around the world and raise some money.
“The technical aspects of it are hugely challenging – meticulously managing over 20 musical directors joining and leaving a livestream at specific times to prevent the whole thing crashing is not something I am looking forward to.
“Having said that, I was very keen for it to be a live concert because I love the inherent risk of live music/theatre. It also gives watchers the chance to interact directly with the musical directors of their favourite shows, something they would not usually be able to do.”
Sam, who is also musical director for Warwick-based Playbox Theatre, has just been accepted onto the prestigious postgraduate course in Music Direction and Coaching at the Royal Academy of Music with a full scholarship.
His long term ambition is to write his own successful musical.
Full details on the line-up of shows and musical directors can be found on the Musical Marathon Facebook page.