Next year will see the 30th anniversary of Alnwick Stage Musical Society – and to celebrate, the group is giving away a pair of tickets for its latest show in tomorrow’s Gazette.
The amateur group was formed in October 1986 by solicitor Norman Luke and civil servant Paul Toward.
The pair went on to perform in the group’s first production, The Sound of Music, by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, in March 1987.
Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength and performed musicals including Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!; Noel Gay, Douglas Furber and L Arthur Rose’s Me and My Girl; Arthur Sullivan and William Gilbert’s The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore; Samuel and Bella Spewack and Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate; Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joseph Stein’s Fiddler on the Roof; and Irving Berlin and Dorothy and Herbert Fields’ Annie Get Your Gun.
As well as the group’s main show in March at Alnwick Playhouse, the group sometimes put on a summer show in July, such as the mini-musical Nunsense, was performed in 1999 and 2000.
More nuns can be seen next year in Sister Act: The Musical, a 2006 show based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg.
The show – written by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner, Douglas Carter Beane, Glenn Slater and Alan Menken – is set to be one of the biggest musicals the society has ever produced.
Group members have been rehearsing since September, and there are lots of new faces behind the scenes.
As well as a newbie director and assistant director at the helm, the cast are joined by Georgia Robinson, of Alnwick’s GL Dance.
Assistant director Ali Wrangham said: “We’ve been working so hard since September to stitch this production together, and we’re so privileged to have such a fantastic cast and crew to work with. We have a cast of just under 50 and a production team of less than 10 people, and there’s a lot of work to do, but there’s so much passion from everyone.
“When you sit through a rehearsal and see Miss Georgia’s choreography come together with the fantastic music, led by Peter Brown, it’s a real pleasure to watch.
“We have around 30 nuns, and each one of them brings something new to the production.
“I’m quietly confident that this will be one of the greatest productions we’ve ever put on.”
Leading the cast is beautician Leonie Dial, owner of the Powder Room in Alnwick’s Market Place. She will take the role of Deloris Van Cartier.
The budding thespian faced tough competition for the role as more than 20 people auditioned for the main parts.
Leonie only joined the society last year, going on to take the role of Nancy in the 1960 Lionel Bart musical Oliver!
Leonie, originally from Kent, said: “When I was 17 years old, I travelled abroad living my dream of being a singer and dancer on the cruise ships.
“When I came home, I missed the stage so much I had to continue my passion with an amateur group.
“After playing my dream role as Nancy in Oliver! back in March, I made so many friends, so I am now so excited to challenge myself doing the role of Deloris in such an amazing show with a fab cast.”
The show is on at the Bondgate Without venue from Wednesday, March 16, until Sunday, March 20. Tickets will be available at www.playhouse.co.uk or contact 01665 510 785 - book ahead to avoid disappointment.
You can follow their progress at www.facebook.com/Alnwick StageMusicalSociety
To win a pair of tickets for one of those performances, answer this question – who was the star of the film Sister Act? – and fill in the form on the right.