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Is He Musical? (Book, Music, Lyrics by Jude Taylor)

 

As 1933 draws to a close, Laurence and Wilfred find themselves absorbed in a whirlwind of fabulously indulgent evenings across London’s West End with their fellow queer friends. But although their hidden world seems surprisingly free and easy, how long can it last?

IS HE MUSICAL? is an intimate, joyous musical comedy inspired by the true stories of the queer friends who loved, lived and partied across 1930s London.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first full production of IS HE MUSICAL? opened in February 2022, supported by Arts Council England, Curve, De Montfort University and the University of Wolverhampton, and produced by MPTheatricals. 

The show premiered in a digital production streamed live from the University of Wolverhampton before transferring to Curve in Leicester for two in person performances as part of the 2022 DMU Pride festival. It was then presented as a semi-staged concert at The Other Palace in London.

In addition to the shows, an immersive digital space ('Didn't We Have Some Wonderful Times?') showcased curated historical & creative responses to both the musical and the rich history that has inspired the show. Historians Sacha Coward and Sheldon Goodman led an informative online talk on the real history behind the musical and shared stories from other similar spaces of the time.

As part of DMUPride, the team behind the production also facilitated a series of workshops at Curve and over Zoom.

 

Original Production: Cast and Creative Team (February 2022)

Laurence: Barry O'Reilly (he/him)

Wilfred: Teddy Hinde (they/them)

Composer/Writer: Jude Taylor (he/him)

Director: Matt Powell (they/he/she)

Musical Director: Francesca Fenech (she/her)

Musical Supervisor/Arrangements: George Strickland (he/him)

Violin: Adastra Fletcher-Hall (they/she)

Cello: Kathryn Monteiro (she/her)

Set and Costume Designer: Ana Webb-Sanchez (she/her)

Movement Director: Ryan Wiggins (he/him)

Artwork: Ashley Goh (they/she)

Producers: Matt Powell & Jude Taylor for MPTheatricals

Supported by Arts Council England, Curve, De Montfort University and the University of Wolverhampton. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Recs  ★★★★

"Is He Musical? is a heartfelt celebration of the 1930s gay scene and, during LGBTQ+ History month, a timely love letter to the queers who boldly paved the way."

Theatre and Other Things LDN ★★★★

"A story of queer joy, and joy indeed is what it gave its audience. Both actors offer up incredible performances. Hinde gives a scene stealing performance as the ever flamboyant Wilfred and is certainly a musical theatre performer to watch out for. O’Reilly’s character Laurence’s growth throughout the musical is also delightful to watch!

The entire musical was exquisitely written, both musically and theatrically, and it was lovely to watch during LGBT+ history month. 
...absorbing, charming, amusing"

From Page to Stage ★★★★

"A delightful new musical comedy...

A joyous production with two standout performances, Is He Musical? is a promising and timely new musical which is deserved of a bright future."

 

 

 

 

 

PREVIOUS DEVELOPMENT OF 'IS HE MUSICAL?'

Is He Musical?  was initially commissioned by MPTheatricals after the premiere of a standalone song, 'Upstairs at the Trocadero', at QUEERME, a new writing night in February 2021. The characters of Laurence and Wilfred and events in the story are loosely based on interviews featured in an episode of 1980s British TV show ‘Gay Life’.

In April 2021, Is He Musical? received its first virtual reading, which was followed by its first workshop at Leicester's Curve Theatre in June 2021, featuring actors Josh Barnett (Wilfred) and Jonathan O'Neill (Laurence), with direction by Matt Powell and musical direction by Francesca Fenech.

In October 2021, Jonathan O'Neill and Teddy Hinde performed 'My True Self' at the Rewrites Festival at The Lowry in Manchester.

 

(Photos of Josh Barnett and Jonathan O'Neill, taken from the Leicester Curve June 21 workshop)

 

 

Original demos by Jude Taylor:

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Teddy Hinde and Barry O'Reilly (photo taken by Ana Webb-Sanchez)

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Barry O'Reilly as Laurence (photo taken by Ana Webb-Sanchez)

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Teddy Hinde and Barry O'Reilly (photo taken by Ana Webb-Sanchez)

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Teddy Hinde and Barry O'Reilly (photo taken by Ana Webb-Sanchez)

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