Momentous Musicals was a one-off event in July 2012 which brought together musical theatre stars Gareth Gates, Rachael Wooding, Emma Williams and Jonathan Ansell at the New Wimbledon Theatre for an explosive night of ‘songs from the shows’. This live recording fizzes with energy as Wooding kicks off with One Night Only from Dreamgirls (made most famous by the hard-to-beat Beyoncé), backed by a fantastic quality band, musically directed by George Dyer and the vocals of some fresh-from-drama-school performers. Any Dream Will Do’s Daniel Boys then mellows the mood with an impressively controlled and well acted (even to the ear) Maria from West Side Story.
Other highlights include a sexy, rock-tinged Mein Herr from Cabaret, where Emma Williams (best known as truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Jenny in Love Story) shows perhaps the most versatility alongside her spellbinding version of Hushabye Mountain from the former. Wooding also gives a great rendition of Elle Woods from Legally Blonde with one of the show’s most energetic and funniest songs, So Much Better. Listening to these two less high-profile female cast members, you can’t quite believe they’re not the biggest stars on the billing.
Gareth Gates revisits his spell in the revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat with a pretty rendition of Close Every Door To Me, though some fans might have wished for a bigger departure from his start in musical theatre. There is the occasional odd decision; mum favourite I Know Him So Well feels a little unimaginative (with Wooding and Williams duetting), though Wooding shows what an excellent Florence she’d make, as does Ansell’s Love Changes Everything – with no Michael Ball on the bill, even the most basic Lloyd Webber fan might have hoped to avoid that one. But in the main the choices are classic, performed with verve, and with a seriously good band to match.
Momentous Musicals is a great addition to any musicals geek’s collection – it is a rare treat to hear classics like Being Alive, For Good and Mein Herr performed so well live and remember why they are so well loved. A 2013 tour of Momentous Musicals kicks off on 17 July (London, Torquay, Bradford and Manchester) – now with added John Owen-Jones – so you can even get your next fix live.