A Song Cycle for Soho, running at Soho Theatre from 27 February until 3 March, is a musical song cycle that explores Soho's rich history. It showcases the work of several British composers and lyricists, both established and emerging, including Douglas Hodge, Christopher Hamilton, Stuart Matthew Price, Dougal Irvine, Susannah Pearse, Tim Sutton and Stiles & Drewe. A Song Cycle for Soho is directed by Mercury Musical Developments associate Simon Greiff, with musical direction from Tony Award winner Sarah Travis.
West End cast members Michael Cantwell (Passion/Queen’s Theatre, Assassins/ Donmar Warehouse), James Gillan (Wicked/Apollo Theatre, Peter Pan/Royal Festival Hall), ClaireMoore (London Road/National Theatre, Miss Saigon/Theatre Royal, Drury Lane) and Niamh Perry (Love Never Dies/[Adelphi Theatre, Mamma Mia/Prince Edward Theatre) are the full company for A Song Cycle for Soho.
The show is presented by Mercury Musical Developments (MMD), an organisation dedicated to developing the craft of composers, lyricists and book-writers working in musical theatre. The organisation, working in partnership with Musical Theatre Matters (MTM), is one of the few to join the Arts Council Portfolio this year demonstrating a recognition for the need to create an infrastructure for new musical theatre writing that has, up to now, been lacking in the UK.
MMD and MTM are facilitating both the first National Festival Of New Musical Theatre, which goes live in 2014 and The Cameron Mackintosh Resident Composer Scheme, which places five composers in producing venues.
TheResident Composer Scheme was piloted with the Bush Theatre last year and recipient Michael Bruce is now Composer in Residence at the Donmar Warehouse. Residencies at the Royal & DernGate Theatre, Northampton and the Finborough Theatre start later this year through the support of The Mackintosh Foundation.
2012 is Mercury Musical Developments’ 20th Anniversary year with a fundraising gala planned for October. MMD started in 1992 when founding members studied with Stephen Sondheim at Oxford when he was visiting the Professor of Drama and Musical Theatre. Early members includEd Howard Goodall, Charles Hart, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.
MMD now has over 250 members ranging from the experienced to the emerging including; Sandy Wilson, Willy Russell, Don Black, Tim Rice, Diane Samuels, Richard Stilgoe, Sam Adamson, Stephen Fry, Brian May, Gwyneth Herbert, Grant Olding, DougalIrvine, Conor Mitchell, Osnat Schmool, Tim Sutton, Douglas Hodge,Stuart Matthew-Price, Adam Cork, Richard Taylor, Tim Minchin, Richard Thomas, Steve Brown, David Mcalmont, David Arnold, Dave Stewart and many others.