..THE STAR. Plays at Theater on The Bay in Cape Town, South Africa from Jan 13th through Feb 6, 2016!
Johannesburg & Cape Town, South Africa: When Pieter Toerien first gave Jonathan Roxmouth a documentary to watch on American composer Marvin Hamlisch he could probably predict the outcome. Roxmouth, star of Sweeney Todd, currently on stage, will star in a new show about Marvin Hamlisch – I’m Playing Your Song – moving onto the same stage at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre from December 17 Through January 10th. The show is now showing at Cape Town’s Theater On The Bay from January 13 through Feb 6, 2016.
“It’s going to be nice rolling from this murderous barber to Hamlisch who is such a mensch,” says the prolific performer.
It seemed immediately obvious to Roxmouth when watching the footage that the man needed a show. “He is the most famous unknown composer,” says director and co-writer Alan Swerdlow. And while Roxmouth seemingly jumps from one big musical to a solo show and back again, he knew that Hamlisch was a very different subject through which to shine than Liberace, which was his previous homage to a star.
“He never grew to anything else, the world grew around him,” says the man with both the voice and piano skills to pull this off.
He and Swerdlow also knew quite early on that they wanted to bring a woman on board. “It is about Hamlisch and his girls,” says Roxmouth who is also thrilled that both Swerdlow and his female co-star Sharon Spiegel-Wagner are Jewish.
Hamlisch was too and Roxmouth wanted to get those sensibilities spot on.
“He is the quintessential American-Jewish boy and I’m not from that world.”
Hamlisch also won a Grammy, Tony, Emmy and Oscar as well as a Pulitzer Prize. They don’t come better than that. As a young over-achiever himself, Roxmouth feels he and Hamlisch do have some things in common, the first being that they come from homes dominated by strong women.
When it came to the choice of a female voice, Roxmouth was keen on Spiegel-Wagner because he had witnessed her voice growing and changing emotionally and vocally over the years.
“This will be the first time I’m playing a mom, and just having had a baby, it makes a huge difference,” she says.
She’s also playing piano, something she hasn’t done for a few years and she finds it daunting with Roxmouth in the room, but one suspects this is a gal who will hold her own. It was also important that she could play the different women from Carly Simon to Barbra Streisand, it was all part of the show.
It is all about music we know but perhaps not the composer.
He started as Streisand‘s rehearsal pianist on Funny Girl to winning a record three Academy Awards on the same night at only 29.
Not only was he the composer of famous hits like The Way We Were, Nobody Does it Better and I Finally Found Someone, he was also the composer of musicals such as A Chorus Line and They’re Playing Our Song. In-between these, he was responsible for the film scores of The Sting, Ice Castles, Sophie’s Choice and a plethora of other titles.
His music shaped a generation.
VIDEO FLASHBACK: MARVIN HAMLISCH SINGS: “IF YOU REALLY KNEW ME” (From the Musical: “They’re Playing Our Song” – 1980s:
Roxmouth is back (as an ambassador) at the Yamaha grand piano as Marvin Hamlisch, with Spiegel-Wagner playing everyone from his first Julliard teacher to Streisand in an evening of nostalgic music and memories.
“It’s songs you know and songs you wished you knew,” says Roxmouth. “It’s such a privilege to sing,” adds Spiegel-Wagner.”
Roxmouth says their show is probably the “real version of They’re Playing Our Song.”
After 10 weeks of thrilling audiences in Sweeney Todd, he’s overjoyed to step into this kind man’s shoes for a few weeks in a show that honours the music and the material.
As someone who believes you surround yourself with the best, he is grateful to Swerdlow as co-author and director, Denis Hutchinson as lighting and set designer, Bryan Schimmel as arranger who insisted on coming on board and as he keeps rambling on about everyone who contributes, Swerdlow interjects, “I’ve just had an idea for a show…”
I’m Playing Your Song opens on December 17 until January 10 in Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre. Performances: Wednesday to Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 4pm and 8pm, Sunday at 3pm, until January 10. The Show will also perform in Cape Town’s THEATER ON THE BAY from January 13 through Feb 6!
Source: The Star (Dec 1)