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February 18, 2014

Hello DollyCELBRATING half a century on the boards, Shenfield Operatic Society will be bursting at the seams with the exciting rhythm of Copacabana later this month in Hornchurch.

The group who started life in 1962 with just two shillings and sixpence in their bank account, will be putting on the Barry Manilow spinoff at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, from Tuesday February 25 to Saturday March 1.

From the early beginnings at St Martin’s School in Hutton, and the inclusion of many former pupils, Shenfield Operatic is among the few societies that regularly put on challenging and difficult musicals winning high acclaim for the standard and quality of their productions. (pictured above: Hello Dolly).

I first came across the Society in the late 1960s I was freelancing for a Brentwood weekly newspaper, and produced a feature on their production of Lionel Bart’s Oliver.

It was an astounding success and the plaudits rained down on the production  would have been the envy of many professional theatres. (below: Fiddler on the Roof)Fiddler on the Roof

It seems the secret of their success has been the open welcome for all who show an interest in working in front and behind the curtain.

An idea of the quality regularly achieved is vested in the financial ability to hire the Queen’s Theatre for five days, something few amateur groups would be able to consider.

The choice of Copacabana is another challenge with its rich and colourful ambience and vibrant music, something that will be taken in their stride.

Manilow wrote the title song with lyricists Bruce Sussman and Jack Feldman and it became an instant hit, gaining eighth place in the Top 40 Chart being included in Manilow’s first Greatest Hits double album, his first gold single, and a Grammy Award for Pop Male Vocalist in February 1979.

The song was expanded by Manilow and the lyricists in 1985 and became a  television musical, a full length film and two act stage musical that ran at the Prince Of Wales Theatre in London for two years.

Copacabana The Musical will be for six performances, evenings at 7.30pm and a Saturday Matinee at 2.30pm

Tickets are available at the Society box office on 01277 223154 and the Queen’s on 01708 443333.

From → Entertainment

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