The Festival opened with the slick cutting-edge Song Writers Showcase (14 Aug), giving a professional platform for some awesome new musical songs from a plethora of musical genres, very clearly showing the calibre of shows on tap for three weeks at The Other Palace.
The Festival included darker musicals XY (15 – 17 Aug) by Oliver Houser: “whilst studying on my undergraduate psychology course, I learnt about the psychologically harmful, non-consensual corrective surgeries still performed regularly on intersex infants. It’s been percolating in me for 5 years….” – Christopher Dickens and Tom Wright’s Rebel Song (21 – 23 Aug), a topical love story adapted from the award-winning novel At Swim, Two Boys…… – and One Way (24 – 26 Aug), in which an astrophysicist is selected to go on the first one-way trip to Mars by Ben Bonnema and Christopher Staskel.
Creating a perfect FPTS mini Family Festival in the studio (28 Aug-02 Sept), The Queen’s Nose was one of three family shows alongside the infectious tale of Chicken Little by Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary; and the first musical where the world of carnivores and herbivores clash in Dinostory by Luke Di Somma, Mark Anderson and Erin Carter.
Other exciting musicals being premiered at FPTS included: The Edinburgh 7 (24 – 26 Aug) by young bloods Christina Tweeddale & Catherine Myers (from the band Honeyblood), the Kielty Brothers and Jordanna O’Neill – their musical of women’s suffrage and their fight to study medicine in 1866…. – The comedy musical by Chris Burgess, The Girls of Downey Hall (24 – 26 Aug) based on Jenny Colgan’s best-selling novel Class …. – Tasha Taylor Johnson (Feed Your Ego) and musical director Phil Cornwell’s Cult! (24 – 26 Aug) a comedy tale of an unlikely group of Doomsday Seekers…. – and One Day (28 – 30 Aug) by Ben Toth, Todd Almond and Anil Baral set in 1972 Northern Ireland: Catholic against Protestant, Irish against British, neighbour against neighbour….
The headline show was: Some Lovers (24 Aug – 02 Sept) – Bacharach’s first new score for the theatre since 1968s Promises Promises. Steven Sater says: “Love songs, that’s what I write. Burt and I had just written our first song together; and some months and any number of songs later I came to recognise how distinct our songs were from those ubiquitous pop anthems of young love. Ours seemed invariably to express a sort of disaffection, a disappointment, a dark joy, or the renewed determination of a more mature, mid-relationship romance. One day, in the heat of July in Los Angeles, as Burt and I laboured away on a Christmas song, I thought: what if we revisited that Depression-Era classic story, The Gift of the Magi? What became of those young Christmas lovers, twenty years after their happily ever after? And that was the beginning of Some Lovers.”
The first weekend of FPTS also saw two special evenings in the Studio, with British composer Charles Miller in You Know How To Love Me (18 – 19 Aug). Joining him will be a host of West End artistes singing from his wonderfully surprising shows including: Brenda Bly: Teen Detective, When Midnight Strikes and The Return Of The Soldier – and Charles will be sharing his favourite behind-the-scenes stories.
And then the Closing Gala (03 Sept) and the icing on the cake of Aria Entertainment’s From Page To Stage Summer Festival was an evening with America’s finest: An Evening Of Songs From Spring Awakening Creators Duncan Sheik And Steven Sater. An extraordinary concert performance of Steven and Duncan’s many musical collaborations including: Spring Awakening, Phantom Moon, Nero, Alice By Heart, Umbrage, The Nightingale and A Home At The End Of The World – and a sneak preview of their latest projects….. a unique ending to the world renowned festival From Page To Stage.