A farm in Hampshire is the unlikely birthplace for a new musical with an all-star cast and the blessing of Stephen Fry. Stars Russel Tovey, Richard Fleeshman, Julie Atherton, and Anna-Jane Casey are already lined up to be driving through the muddy lanes of East Hampshire to sing on the concept album of the show.
"How Do You Fall In Love with Somebody You've Never Met" was conceived by West End star Julie Atherton and her friends Marcos D'Cruze and Paul Clarke at their studio on Wallops Wood farm in Droxford. The writers believe that it is the first show of its kind to be "crowd funded" - or supported by pledges from members of the public.
The stars will perform on the album which will be recorded at Wallops Wood Studios after Christmas - as long as the money can be raised to complete the project. The team is planning to release the album in April 2013, and to present the songs in a 'sing-through' with the cast members, to which people who have pledged a certain amount will be invited. Other innovative pledge 'rewards' include a chance to be at the studios during a recording session, and a lyric book signed by the cast.
"We wanted to take our philosophy of 'do-it-yourself' to next level and see if we could apply it to a West End Musical", said Marcos. "Getting people to fund a musical sounded a bit far-fetched so we hatched the plan of getting there via a recorded album. This meant we could write the songs and the story - have the musical written - but provide supporters with something tangible for their pledge: a beautifully performed CD of the finished songs."
"We're talking to theatres both locally and in London about setting up some preview shows, and we're very excited about that. Getting a run in the West End or Off Broadway would be the ultimate goal, but we're going to have to break a few more rules to do that!"
Julie adds, "The story idea is such a great one that we soon had a buzz going, so roping in Richard, Russel and Anna-Jane was a piece of cake. Having Stephen offer to record the voice-over for the pledge video was the icing on that cake".
The pledge video can be seen at www.dorisproductions.co.uk, where others can also follow a link to make their own pledge and be part of the creation of a new musical comedy. Click here to watch a promotional video for this project.