Hope Mill stages online Rodgers + Hammerstein concert

Published: 16 April 2020
Reporter: David Chadderton

Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester is staging an online concert, Some Enchanted Evening, featuring West End stars celebrating the songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein for one night only, on Sunday 26 April at 7PM.

The venue was to present the UK theatrical première of the Broadway version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella next month as its first in-house production of the year, but this has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, it will present a virtual concert featuring songs from shows such as Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific and Cinderella featuring West End performers Maria Friedman, Louise Dearman and Sophie-Louise Dann, plus performers from past Hope Mill shows Joel-Harper Jackson (Little Women), Laura Harrison (Parade) and Simbi Akande (Putting It Together), as well as Any Dream Will Do contestant Keith Jack.

The cast will perform their songs at home, with performances edited together, and there will also be some special guest hosts and "familiar theatrical faces". The concert will be shared on Hope Mill’s YouTube channel, Twitter and Facebook and will be free to watch but the venue is asking for donations and will launch a crowdfunder on the evening which will be used to raise money to help the venue to eventually reopen.

Artistic Director Joseph Houston said, “it has been important for us as a venue to stay engaged with our wonderful and loyal audiences and supporters. Since closing, we have had so much love and support from individuals and it has been the catalyst for us to continue to do what we know best and produce theatre, just in a very different way. We were so upset that we had to cancel our production of Cinderella as we had lined up the most incredible cast, but we are thrilled that finally some of these talented performers will have the chance to be seen.”