Thursday, 1 September 2016

South Staffs Musical Theatre Company | Spotlight on Am Dram

South Staffs Musical Theatre Company was originally formed in 1936 and now perform one full production at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, the biggest local theatre, as well as a variety concert each spring, or a shorter production such as this year's Lift. I’ve seen many of their recent shows (including Rent, Oliver! and Carousel) and have always been impressed by their professionalism despite being put on entirely by amateur performers and creatives. I was therefore excited to visit a rehearsal for their upcoming show, Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5, to get a flavour for how the company works and to have a chat with some of the members.

9 to 5 is a fairly new musical comedy which tells the story of three office workers who turn the table on their sexist boss. It’s filled with lively yet touching songs written by Parton herself and was nominated for four Tony awards in 2009. The show hasn’t been seen in Wolverhampton since the UK tour back in 2012 which is why, chairwoman of thirteen years Alison Norton told me, the company jumped at the chance to perform such an exciting show.

I witnessed almost the full cast learning choreography for the upbeat musical number Change It at the rehearsal I attended, as well as hearing them sing through some of the chorus numbers including Around Here, I Just Might and the opening and title number 9 to 5. James, who plays the character of Dick, told me that the title number of the show really stood out for him and is one of the reasons he decided to take part in this show although, after joining the company last year to play his dream role of Bill Sykes in Oliver! he told me that he found the company so friendly and fun that he would have continued with the group whatever show they decided to perform.

There’s no denying it’s a difficult show: the musical numbers are complex and there are multiple numbers that require almost the full cast and chorus on stage, but the company is large and has varying levels of experience so there’s no doubt that they’ll pull it off. The show runs at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from Tuesday 11th until Saturday 15th October and tickets start at around £10 meaning it’s a great opportunity to see a very high quality show but at a very reasonable price. I for one can’t wait to see the colourful 70s costumes, slick dance routines and experience the catchy music with a full live orchestra. Visit the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre website for tickets and check out the South Staffs website for more details. Looking forward to seeing some of you there!

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