Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Preview | PROPAGANDA SWING (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry)

The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry is thrilled to present the UK premiere of Peter Arnott’s gripping WWII drama Propaganda Swing, a captivating combination of WWII intrigue and drama set against a backdrop of glitz, glamour and Big Band swagger. playing on the Belgrade Main Stage for two weeks this September from Sat 13 – Sat 27.

Throwing a spotlight on the gripping true story of ‘Charly and his Orchestra’, this compelling new play reveals the characters behind the story of how some of the greatest German jazz musicians of the day entered into a Faustian pact with the Fascists in order to continue playing their beloved music at the price of seeing it corrupted for evil.

With music playing an integral role in the show, Musical Supervisor on the show, Hilary Brooks reveals more.

Bradley Clarkson as Bill Constant & Miranda Wilford as Lala Anderson

How did you become involved in Propaganda Swing and what first attracted you to the play?
Hamish Glen, the Director, rang me to discuss the play and then sent me a copy of the script. We had worked together on various musical theatre productions at Dundee Rep and on his first two shows at the Belgrade Theatre. I was so impressed by this story, the style of writing, and the song suggestions, that I had to jump on board!

What does the role of a Musical Supervisor involve?
I am responsible for everything to do with the music, in consultation with the Director and the Writer. This includes auditioning actor/musicians, writing the score, arranging the music, rehearsing the actors who are singing, supervising musician band calls and facilitating the actor/musicians and the trio of professional musicians.

Have you been provided with original scores for any music featured in the show and have you had to create new arrangements based upon the size of ensemble you will be working with?
The songs chosen by the writer, Peter Arnott, are all standards from that era and although there are some resources online, I prefer to transcribe from the original recordings, most of which are available on YouTube, and then input the data into a score programme called Sibelius, which ultimately will allow me to build specific arrangements and importantly, transpose the songs into different keys very quickly.

 Jonny Bower as Charly Schwedler

How would you describe the style of music that features in Propaganda Swing?
It’s 1930s Swing. This featured vocal and instrumental soloists with a rhythm section at the core, led by a bandleader out front, often the arranger. Our band template is vaguely modelled on Artie Shaw and the Gramercy Five.

Propaganda Swing
seems set to be an exciting production, featuring a talented cast of actor-musicians performing some of the greatest jazz music of the era. This powerful new stage production will see Chris Andrew Mellon return to the Belgrade in the role of Otto Stenzl following his critically-acclaimed appearance in their 2014 Spanish Golden Age Season. He will be joined by Clara Darcy, whose previous theatre credits include the 2014 UK Tour of Brassed Off in 2014. Completing the cast are Callum Coates as William Joyce/Lord Haw Haw, Miranda Wilford as Lala Anderson, Paul Lincoln as Heinrich Hinkel, Tomm Coles as Lutz Templin, Bradley Clarkson as Bill Constant and Jonny Bower as Charly Schwedler.

View a playlist of videos about the show:

Tickets for Propaganda Swing are available now from the box office on 024 7655 3055 priced from £9 - £21.25 or via the website, here where cheaper tickets are available.

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