Students stage classic musicals in Bognor Regis

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Bognor Regis audiences are in for a treat with not one, but two Rodgers & Hammerstein classics as University of Chichester’s musical theatre students take to the Alexandra Theatre stage, complete with a live 25-piece orchestra.

Show spokesman Paul Ackerley said: “Carousel opens this mini-season, followed by Cinderella, which was written specially for the British-born Hollywood-star, Julie Andrews.

“Voted best musical of the 20th-century by Time Magazine, Carousel is renowned as Richard Rodgers’ personal favourite of his own musicals, with a timeless score that includes If I Loved You, June Is Bustin’ Out All Over and the iconic You’ll Never Walk Alone.

“The swaggering, carefree carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, captivates and marries naive millworker, Julie Jordan. Billy loses his job just as he learns that Julie is pregnant. Desperate to provide for his family, he is coerced into a robbery. Caught in the act and facing the certainty of prison, he takes his own life and is sent ‘up there.’ Billy is allowed to return to earth for one day, 15 years later to meet the daughter he never knew. She is a lonely, friendless teenager, her father’s reputation as a thief and bully having haunted her throughout her young life.

“How Billy instills in both the child and her mother a sense of hope and dignity is as dramatic a testimony to the power of love as has ever been committed to the stage.”

Student Charlotte Fishwick, who is playing the part of Carrie Pipperidge, said: “I am thrilled to have been chosen to play this challenging role in my first production at the University of Chichester. I can’t wait to perform for the Bognor musical theatre audiences. I’ve heard that they are amazing!”

Paul added: “The enchantment of Cinderella was reborn with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s specially-written symphony, originally presented on television in 1957 starring Julie Andrews.

“It remains one of the most sophisticated musicals in the 20th-century repertoire,” says Paul. “Adapted for the stage, with great warmth and more than a touch of hilarity, the production has all the familiar ingredients that audiences have come to love, from pumpkins to princes, and the hearts of children and adults alike will still soar when the slipper fits!”

Ian Summers, the show’s director, said: “It’s a strong creative team with a talented cast who are all eager to create an impossibly-magnificent production.”

Ian is working alongside Wendy White, choreographer, and Julian Kelly, musical director.

Maria Hewitt, who is playing one of the Cinderellas, said: “I was shocked and over the moon when I was cast in the role. Cinderella the character is so not me! Then again… I’m a northern lass so I can take on a challenge and I can scrub up well.”

Carousel’s director and musical theatre course leader Karen Howard added: “Carousel and Cinderella are a huge responsibility for our students.

“Much loved by musical theatre societies Carousel remains an astonishingly powerful story, regardless of the era we live in and if we get it right the audience will be simultaneously in floods of tears and uplifted ready to change to world.”

Carousel: November 17 and every evening at 7.30pm until November 19, with a 2.30pm Saturday matinee.

Cinderella: November 25-November 27 with shows at 7.30pm on Friday and Saturday and at 2.30pm on Saturday and Sunday.

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