Forget the West End and Broadway, on Thursday the epicentre of the musical theatre world will be the tranquil village of Moreton Morrell.
It is where musical whizz Sam Young has masterminded Musical Marathon, an online concert performed live by over 20 of theatre’s leading musical directors to raise money for charity and to bring a bit of razzamatazz into homes during lockdown.
The concert will include big name West End and Broadway veterans such as London’s Gareth Valentine (City of Angels, Guys & Dolls, The Pajama Game) and NYC’s Brian Usifer (Frozen, Kinky Boots, The Book of Mormon).
Even though Sam is only 20 his phenomenal talent has seen him take on the musical director role in many local productions, including at his old school, Warwick boys’ school, Stratford Musical Theatre Company and Playbox Theatre. More recently he has been teaching at Central and Mountview drama schools in London, and working on musical City of Angels in the West End.
During lockdown Sam has been staying at his Moreton Morrell home with his mum, dad and younger sister.
Speaking about how Musical Marathon has come together, Sam told Herald arts: “I’d been doing some livestreams of mini bedroom concerts every Friday and was getting a good number of views, so I thought I should do them in support of charity.
“I thought how cool would it be if I could get all the musical directors from all the musicals across the world to take part? Using a few contacts I put out some feelers, and it just snowballed.”
Sam continued: “When Ian Weinberger, the musical director of Hamilton, got on board I thought wow this is going to be quite a thing.”
The concert will be broadcast on the Musical Marathon Facebook page on Thursday, 7th May at 7pm, with a break at 8pm to applaud the NHS and carers. Viewers will be able to donate money to NHS Charities Together and Acting For Others, a charity which supports theatre workers.
Each of the directors will have a timed slot of around six minutes, with some playing instrumentals, to which Sam encourages people to singalong; while others will sing themselves or are handily in lockdown with professional singer spouses.
In such esteemed company Sam laughs that he was a bit nervous about playing a slot himself, but will no doubt bring a few tears with his cover of Over the Rainbow ahead of the NHS clap.
In September Sam is off to the prestigious Royal Academy of Music to study directing musical theatre, and after that he says he would like to work on new musicals, with his ultimate ambition to write one himself.
Speaking about the role of the musical director, Sam said: “Forty per cent is musical and the remaining 60 is all about people skills. You are the only member of the creative team that stays with the show throughout its run, and you are the glue that holds it altogether.”
Watch the Musical Marathon via Facebook on Thursday, 7th May at 7pm. A schedule of performances is available to view on Facebook.