Scarborough Spa until September 12
Many will remember when a stage play with music was referred to as a musical comedy.
Often the subject matter was not particularly funny. Jerome Kern’s masterpiece Show Boat is a brave exposé of colour prejudice – but there are comic characters in the cast to provide light relief, and the musical score is full of glorious tunes.
Modern plays with music, such as Les Mis and Phantom, are more often described as music theatre, which does not mean that comedy is not present, but the drama of the piece has become more prominent.
This is nothing new. More than 60 years ago and into the 1950s Rodgers and Hammerstein were writing musicals involving murder, female inferiority in Siam, wartime tragedies and the Nazi threat in Austria – all with great tunes.
They are Carousel, The King and I and the Sound of Music.
Back in the 1920s, most light composers were more concerned with musical romance, again with comic characters to lighten the mood.
Some of the most popular of these will be presented in the Spa Orchestra’s gala concert on Wednesday July 11.
In a programme called Golden Days, the memorable melodies of Sigmund Romberg, Vivian Ellis, Noel Coward and Lionel Monckton will be performed by the orchestra and their guest singers Maria Bovino and Owen Webb.
They will be joined by the chorus of the York Music Theatre Company, all under the musical direction of Paul Laidlaw.
More than 30 performers will be bringing these fondly- remembered musicals to life.
Romberg will be represented by his three greatest shows, still regularly requested by Spa Orchestra audience members: The Desert Song, The New Moon and the ever popular tunes of The Student Prince.
Many favourite tunes will be heard in the performance of Lionel Monckton’s The Arcadians and Vivian Ellis’s Bless the Bride.
The terribly English-sounding song Tea For Two comes from the Broadway musical No, No, Nanette.
The most English of all in the show will be Noel Coward’s great stage musical Bitter Sweet, containing some of his most famous songs.
“Good tunes never die, and the very best of them stay in the memory and give pleasure every time we hear them. Golden Days will be an evening of total pleasure,” said orchestra
musical director Paul Laidlaw.
The Spa Orchestra plays each Sunday to Thursday in the Sun Court at 11am.
There are evening concerts on Monday and Wednesday at 7.45pm with Wednesdays being gala night.
There is an afternoon concert each Sunday at 2pm.
Teddy Bears’ Picnic sessions led by Kathy Seabrook are held in the Sun Court each Tuesday at 1.30pm.
The Spa Orchestra wil lplay in Peasholm Park on Friday August 24 at 8pm.
Other gala concerts include: Wednesday July 18: Russian Roulette: spectacular Music from the Great Russian Compsers’
Wednesday July 25: A G&S Extavaganza: a fun-packed evening of songs by Gilbert and Sullivan
Wednesday August 1: In The Mood: Music from dance band era.
Tickets: 01723 821888