‘Priscilla Queen of The Desert’ comes to ‘The Forum’ in Barrow in Furness, Cumbria from the 16th- 20th May. Don’t miss out!

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‘PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT’ is on at ‘The Forum’ in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria from Tuesday 16th May- Saturday 20th May. If you are a fan of feel good musicals, then this one is for you!


To book, call ‘The Forum’ on 01229 467498 or online at http://www.theforumbarrow.co.uk/events/b-o-d-s-present-priscila-queen-of-the-desert?spektrix_bounce=true.



#JcsGlasto ….ps. Jesus would like his own tent!

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Late last month, members of the Jesus Christ Superstar cast flew out to America to begin rehearsals for one of the most anticipated theatrical, arena/ stadium tours of the year. However, the rug was pulled from under the cast member’s feet. On Friday, S2BN Entertainment announced the cancellation of the planned US arena “Spectacular” of Jesus Christ Superstar. The ‘tour promoter’ Michael Cohl was interviewed by The New York Times and stated that; “It became obvious the shows were in trouble but we tried until the last moment to give it every chance to turn around. In the end it just did not make business sense to continue and we didn’t want the cast to endure playing to disappointing audiences.”

Ben Forster, who won the role of Jesus in the ITV talent search “ITV Superstar”, recalls the moment he was told during a rehearsal in New Orleans. He could do nothing at the time but gasp.
Forster stated; “He was like: ‘Guys, take a break. We need to chat. It’s not going to happen.’
“What’s that Miley Cyrus song, “Wrecking Ball’? I feel like someone just came in and took a big wrecking ball to the ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ tour.”

A glimmer of hope

It seemed that all was not lost, for some of the ensemble members (@adamstrong1 and @Rob_Copeland) embarked on an ingenious idea to start a campaign to perform the show at Glastonbury.

rob copeland glasto

Within a matter of minutes, the saddened cast seemed to bounce back. @Rob_Copeland created a twitter page and whipped up support from old and new Jesus Christ Superstar cast members and fans. In a matter of days, the page is nearing 600 followers and the hastag #Jcsglasto has reached 3 million people!
Cast members took to Twitter once more to express their excitement;

ben glasto(Jesus would like his own tent)

um mel-Erm, Melanie? 0_o


This is where you come in….

Even if you just scan over this post for a split second or click the share button, take the time to follow their Twitter page; @JcsGlasto https://twitter.com/JCSglasto  and use the hash tag #jcsglasto.

The cast need you to turn their dream a reality.

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

30 Question musical theatre challenge :

  •  01: a number from one of your favorite musicals of all time Bring Him Home from Les Mis ( It has to be sung by the AMAZING John-Owen Jones though)
  •  02: a number from one of your favorite musicals of the past three years  Heaven on their Minds from Jesus Christ Superstar
  • 03: a number from one of your least favorite musicals Breaking Free from High School Musical… YUCK !
  •  04: a number from the first musical you remember seeing hmmmm maybe a local amateur production, something like “It’s a hard Knock Life” from Annie !
  •  05: a number from the musical you saw most recently  “Down Once More” From The Phantom Of the Opera (I saw it in London in December 2010)
  •  06: a favorite opening number Has to be “Prologue/Look Down” from Les Mis ! Its unbeatable, You would have had to hear the cheering from the audience during the Tour when the insanely powerful music began! just epic ahhh !
  •  07: a favorite duet “Sun and Moon from Miss Saigon” OR “A Little Fall of Rain from Les Mis” beautiful…but they make me Cry :’-(
  •  08: a favorite dance break OMG ! Masquerade from The Phantom of The Opera WHAT A SCENE , especially the choreography on the staircase !!!
  •  09: a favorite ballad Is that something that tells a story ? like a folk type musical….I do love “Easy Terms” from Blood Brothers sung by Barbera Dixon !
  • 10: a favorite “11 o’clock” number  “Epilogue” Les Mis …has me in tears EVERY TIME !! but it is SO MOVING ! BEAUTIFUL !
  •  11: a favorite comic number  Your Timeless to me from Hairspray was brilliant ! Purely because Michael Ball (Edna) and Ian Tablot (Wilbur) were hilarious !! They literally completely lost focus during the song and burst out laughing and Michael Ball shouted to the other guy ” I CAN’T CONCENTRATE WHEN YOU’RE LAUGHING BEHIND ME LIKE THAT !!!!! ” They had to apologise to the audience and start that verse again !!
  •  12: a favorite ensemble number oooh hard maybe “One Day More” from Les Mis.
  •  13: a number from a guilty-pleasure musical You can’t Stop the Beat from Hairspray
  • 14: a number from a Best Musical Tony nominee the year you were born Aladdin !! (Okay that doesn’t count) but it was released in 1992 the year I was born !
  •  15: a favorite female solo number  I LOVE “I Still Believe” from Miss Saigon or “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Mis ….BUT NOT THE SUSAN BOYLE VERSION she ruined it ! :’-(
  • 16: a favorite male solo number Gethsemane from Jesus Christ Superstar sung by the one and only Steve Balsamo, Bring Him Home from Les Mis by John Owen Jones they both make me cry !!!
  • 17: a number from a musical that is underrated Manchester England, England from “Hair” I can’t WAIT to hear Gareth Gates sing this as Claude !!
  •  18: a number from a musical that is overrated You are the Music in me from High School Musical EURGH !!! CHEESE !
  •  19: a favorite love song from a musical A Heart Full of Love from Les Mis !!!
  •  20: a favorite number from a musical that did not originate in the U.k Aquarius/ Let the Sun Shine in , from “Hair” ……..it’s an American musical !
  •  21: a favorite number from the “golden age” of Broadway Getting to Know You from “The King and I” 
  • 22: a favorite number performed by an antagonist Stars by Police Inspector Javert from Les Mis….it HAS to be sung by Earl Carpenter though !
  •  23: a number from a show you have never seen live but wish you could Could we start again please? (Jesus Christ Superstar) its really sad!
  •  24: a number performed by a favorite female West End star On My Own from Les Mis performed by Rosalind James from the 25th anniversary tour production it had a really blue-sy feel. She really made it her own, I still think a lot of the other covers of it are a much of a muchness….yeah she put a stamp on that song!
  •  25: a number performed by a favorite male West End star Music of the Night by John Owen-Jones or Empty Chairs at Empty Tables by Gareth Gates -stunning !
  • 26: a number by a favorite composer Close Every Door To Me from Joseph by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber!
  •  27: a number by a favorite choreographer Riverdance is pretty epic…(it was sort of musical in parts)
  • 28: a number you would love to perform if you were of the opposite sex Why God Why? Miss Saigon ❤
  • 29: a number you have performed I haven’t ….one day I’d LOVE TO, I can sing I just don’t have enough confidence to sing in front of others !!
  • 30: a number you would love to perform in the future Everything’s All right (Jesus Christ Superstar), Out here on My Own (Fame), or I Still Believe from Miss Saigon! CHOON !!!!
                                     THE END (Roll Credits)

Two of the most under rated Musical Theatre performers EVER !! …..

We have all heard of Michael Ball haven’t we? Yes? Good! Well in my opinion I think he’s over-rated. I agree he has a fantastic voice but his vocal range is a bit limited.

There are many west end performers who have been around for a while yet get zero credit. Two of my favourites are as follows……


This guy here…..you don’t recognise him? I didn’t think so! this is John Owen Jones.

I adore musical theatre and I have to admit that like many until the end of 2009 I had not heard of John Owen Jones either!

John Owen Jones in my opinion is a musical theatre god and has the best voice in the west end beating the likes of the well known Michael Ball by miles, yet he never gets the recognition he disserves.

John’s early theatre days

In 1994 he graduated from The Central School of Speech and drama with a BA (Hons) in acting. He starred in “A little night music” in 1995 alongside the legend Dame Judy Dench. He became the youngest actor ever to take the lead role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables at the age of 26 in 1997, also appearing in the 1995 10th anniversary concert of the show. The Manchester Evening News even went so far as to describe his performance as “a truly astonishing achievement that must be one of the greatest stage performances of all time.” He has also been voted the Best Ever Les Miserables Performer and Best Ever Jean Valjean in a worldwide online poll by fans of the show.

In 2001 he changed theatre roles and played The Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera” becoming the west ends longest running phantom ever after a whopping 1,400 performances!

In June 2005 he decided to return to Les Miserables where he joined the 2005 cast once again reprising the challenging role of Jean Valjean in the west end and at a later date joining the cast in America on Broadway.

I was fortunate enough to see him twice in the 2009-2010 25th anniversary touring production of Les Mis also starring Earl Carpenter as Javert and Gareth Gates as Marius. The tour sold out in all 10 venues…getting tickets as like finding gold dust..almost impossible.

He appeared on Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night with Shona Lindsay, Jacinta Whyte and Les Mis co star Gareth Gates celebrating the 25th anniversary of Les Miserables. It was really incredible, I loved John&Gareth’s duet “River in the Rain” from “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” Their voices blended so well with John’s powerful voice and Gareth’s slightly more feminine yet filled with emotion and stunning!

After the tour finished he featured in the 25th anniversary concert DVD of Les Mis as part of “The Valjean quartet” in my opinion he is far superior to Alfie Boe who played the role in the concert, although he has a great voice he isn’t right for Jean Valjean…his voice is too operatic! (okay he is a tenor opera singer) but the role should be played by someone with a more “theatre style” voice but not enough in my opinion.

He announced that he would be returning to Phantom of The Opera in November 2010! I was so excited and I received tickets for last Christmas as both my mum and I are fans.

Other theatre credits include Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music at the National Theatre along with Judi Dench, Patricia Hodge and Siân Phillips: The Ladies Paradise at the RNT Studio: The Pirates of Penzance and Much Ado About Nothing at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre: The Boys from Syracuse: Herr Zeller in The Sound of Music and Gaylord Ravenal in Show Boat.

In my opinion he is far better than Michael Ball with a far greater vocal range yet he never gets the recognition he disserves. This year sees him continuing with Phantom of the Opera but this time in the UK 2012 tour with a different cast. Even though he gets fantastic reviews I still thinks he should get more credit !

Ok here is the second guy…..

Steve Balsamo he’s also Welsh


Steve Balsamo is a singer/ songwriter from Swansea in Wales. He became successful as a thetre performer as playing the title role of Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar in the West End revival in 1997. He has a whopping 3.5 octave vocal range wow !

It was his version of the song “Gethsemane” which impressed me massivley. This song showcased his phoenominal vocal range as the song goes from Tenor to Falsetto (VERY high! for a man) I love the emotion he portrays. The song made me cry the first time that I watched it on Youtube, its the fact that he puts so much anger and passion into the song! it gives you goosebumps and then makes the hairs s I only wish that I could have seen him live !!

After winning a Variety Club Award for the role, Steve decided to return to his first love – writing and performing his own music – and signed to Columbia Records soon after. In 2002 Steve released his debut album – All I Am – which reached the top 40 in the UK. He then went on to win Best Male Solo Artist at The Welsh Music Awards the same year.

I am actually so shocked that he hasn’t had many theatre roles since then. There was a rumour that he is going to be part of the judging panel for ITV 1′ s new talent contest “Superstar”- the new television search for a new Jesus to star in an arena tour revamp of the show. I hope it’s true but I’ll have to wait and see before getting my hopes up too high !

This has turned into another extremely random blog post but it cannot be helped ! I LOVE musical theatre !

The saddest musical scenes….(In my opinion of course!)

I adore musicals as you all know (or should do by now :P) …this may be a slightly morbid topic….however I am going to compile a list of scenes from musicals that I consider to be the saddest moments…here goes….

7) The final lair scene Phantom of the Opera

Many people probably wouldn’t consider this scene sad however when I was lucky enough to see the show in December 2010 I was moved to tears. John Owen-Jones is one of the most underrated musical theatre stars ever. The way he portrays the emotions and madness of the Phantom is completely breathtaking. He is infatuated with Christine Daae who is the female soprano in the Opera Populaire however she is in love with Raoul the Vicomte De Chagny who is the patron of the theatre. This causes dilemmas and tragedy through the show and nearly resolves in Raoul being murdered. “Take the boat and swear to me never to tell the secrets you know of the angel in hell” are some of the Phantoms final words to them, he has never known love and his hatred for people has turned to madness. I wasn’t in the least bit surprised when John-Owen Jones received a standing ovation at the end.

6) The death of Eva Peron – Evita

I don’t particularly like this musical….I should I guess because it is a piece of world history based around Eva Peron’s rise to fame in the 1940’s/1950’s in Argentina. Madonna received quite a lot of criticism for playing the lead role in the 1996 film. I think she was good although she doesn’t have the strongest voice. Still the death scene was really moving I cannot watch that scene without tears trickling down my cheeks when she died so young, way before her time. The sadness in Madonna’s voice always moves me!

5) Claude’s death Hair

I have to say Claude’s death is pretty sad. I watched it on YouTube today and had a cry…I’m an emotional person OKAY !! Its pretty tragic, Claude is the leader of a group of hippies called “The Tribe” in 1960’s America but eventually ends up leaving them and joining the Vietnam war to respect his parents wishes even though it is against what he believes in. He ends up getting shot dead during the song reprise “ain’t got no.” His body is revealed lying upon the American Flag …it’s so sad, I watched it today for the first time and cried !! I wonder how I will cope when Gareth Gates plays the role of Claude on Tour this year? I imagine I’ll be getting pretty emotional !!

4) Fantine’s death Les Mis


Hmmmm I think this blog post may be becoming a little bit to “Les Mis” orientated. To be fair 29 people die in the 3 hours of the show so it would be almost impossible for it not to have the saddest musical theatre scenes in it. This scene made me so emotional…Fantine is dying and singing for her daughter who she knows that she will never see again. Jean Valjean promises her that “Your Child will want for nothing” and then “and none will ever harm Cosette as long as I am living”

(this image is from Fantine’s arrest I couldn’t find the actual one)

3) Jean Valjean’s death Les Mis (Epilogue)

I beyond love Les Miserables…Jean Valjeans death is so sad as it is the concluding scene of the whole show. Valjean (John Owen Jones) is ill and dying. At his wedding Marius (Gareth Gates) is blackmailed and discovered that Valjean saved his life at the barricade after he confesses all. I have to say that it is one of the most moving musical endings ever its the beautiful music and lyrics. There wasn’t a dry eye in the theatre hence why the cast received a full house standing ovation on both occasions that I was lucky enough to see the show.

2) Jesus’s crucifixion (Superstar) : Jesus Christ Superstar 

This scene is AWFUL !! I’m not surprised that it caused such an outrage amongst Christians as it’s a very controversial subject. The show becomes very morbid in the second act after Jesus’s trial before Pontious Pilate…he is sentenced to death, imprisoned and then beaten. The crucifixion scene is brutal really messy and bloody especially in the 2000 version! The song John 19:41 is the song that really gets me; when Jesus is dying on the cross (as I’ve probably mentioned before in a previous blog post)

1) Eponine’s Death :  A little fall of rain from Les Miserables

Gareth Gates and Rosalind James  (2010)

 (Gareth Gates & Samantha Barks 2011)

Ok at number 1 it’s  “A Little Fall of Rain” from Les Mis….and it just HAD to be the Gareth Gates and Rosalind James version from 2010’s 25th anniversary tour of Les Miserables (I just thought I’d throw in an extra picture from the London Production too) It’s actually amazing and moved me to tears both times that I saw the show. It was heart breaking…the duet between Eponine and Marius when Eponine is dying. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the theatre as it was so dramatic and moving.

I’ve seen it being sung before where there has been a serious lack of emotion…take Nick Jonas for an example he’s not exactly a bad singer but his acting skills are TERRIBLE, yeah he really didn’t pull this song off as you have to be able to skillfully act your way through it to portray the emotion ! Michael Ball was also superb at this song, but his days of playing Marius in Les Mis are long gone !

These are the top 7 in my opinion …what are your thoughts ?

I LOVE Musical Theatre !!

I cannot explain how much I LOVE watching musical theatre productions. I haven’t exactly seen lots but the ones that I have seen have been amazing………

Hairspray is great, I’m not a massive fan of the 2007 film starring Nikki Blonsky, Zac Effron and John Travolta. I was lucky enough to see it on the west end in 2008 with the Original London Cast…It was fabulous, one part in particular which I really remember was during the song “You’re Timeless To Me” between the main characters parents…Michael Ball was playing her mum Edna Turnblad. I just remember the two of them completely loosing concentration and Michael Ball shouting  “I CAN’T CONCENTRATE WITH YOU LAUGHING BEHIND ME LIKE THAT !!!!” they couldn’t physically continue and had to apologise to the audience and start that verse again! It was brilliant! I met some of the cast after the show, including Ben-James Ellis (he played Link Larkin in the show) who was in the BBC1 talent search for the West Ends new Joseph “Any Dream Will Do” he was gorgeous !! I’m still gutted that Michael Ball didn’t come out of the stage door, but I imagine that I’ll meet him one day !

I saw Les Miserables in London in 2004 age 11, I was immediately hooked and have been ever since, the cast were fantastic with a couple of exceptions, Jon Lee (S Club 7) was pretty weak as Marius vocally and from what I remember I don’t rate his acting either. It’s the music which really moves me. The best production of Les Mis that I have seen was the 25th anniversary tour last year…It was just out of this world from beginning to end and really proved that Gareth Gates is an exceptional “all round performer” …it was his time to shine hence why he got snapped up to lead the musical “Hair” on tour next year in 2012 as the care free hippy Claude  !

I got tickets for Phantom of the Opera in London last December. John-Owen Jones was playing the phantom, I don’t know how it is physically possible for anyone to hit half the notes he sings..but he makes it possible, yet literally no-one has heard of him. He is probably the most under rated musical theatre performer EVER…He’s far more superior than Michael Ball having probably double his vocal range and he’s also really modest!! How can I explain his voice…hmmm… its like smooth honey or velvety chocolate it just seems to trickle splendidly through the score effortlessly, pure perfection. His acting is also sublime and out of the 3 times in which I have been lucky to see him live he has never failed to make me cry…needless to say he is my favourite west end performer !!

I tend to go through phases I get hooked to a show, listen to it over and over again then stop listening to it for a while moving onto something else. I’m a funny one for that ! I like musicals with deep and meaningful story lines…in my opinion Les Miserables has the best story line going, however Jesus Christ Superstar’s plot is also brilliant, even though it closed in the west end in 1998…over 13 years ago, although it has been on tour since. The music is wonderful and the lyrics are very clever, I suppose it has to be as it is all sung in recitative (sung all the way through) its pretty brutal though and potentially morbid, it depends what type of shows you are into but I’d rather watch something deep and depressing rather than something really cheesy like High School Musical because that just annoys me !!

I really hope I manage to see a professional production next year….I’m dying to see Gareth Gates and Zoe Birkett in “Hair” , it sounds AMAZING !! hopefully my Mum and Dad will have taken notes of the hints which I keep dropping and have bought me tickets for Christmas !! Fingers and toes crossed !!