Overtures at the Bishopsgate Institute
Overtures Piano Bar offers a unique and exciting experience in which audience and orchestra join to celebrate the pleasures of musical theatre. For a one-off show at the Bishopsgate Institute, strangers under one roof came together to share the sweet reverie of sitting with the whole family to watch a good musical, probably for at least the second time, until everyone could sing – or in some cases shout – the lyrics together. As soon as the piano began, so did the spectators, with cheers and hurrahs in anticipation of a magical evening of unplugged, unrecorded boisterousness at the beautiful venue.
This participatory performance, with its intergenerational homage to the very best of musical theatre, was made possible with the strong backing of London Musical Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Freddie Tapner. Overtures included songs for all ages, all styles and all singing levels, ranging from popular classics such as Wicked and Les Misérables to shows close to the heart such as The Sound of Music and Grease. Beginning the night with the message that indeed It Is Better with a Band, the energy was already high, but after this was followed by a harmony of myriad voices singing along to My Favourite Things, it was clear this night would not be easily forgotten.
The stage had a slightly lower platform on which guests could also climb and sing with a microphone in hand – which produced a powerful and dazzling rendition of Poor Unfortunate Souls – while another mic was carried around the hall for others to also to have a bit of a go, leading to a fun singalong of Under the Sea (both from The Little Mermaid), Friend Like Me from Aladdin, and Barbra Streisand’s Don’t Rain on My Parade.
Guests could take part in the uplifting evening while enjoying a drink. Even those who did not know the words or do not sing could just watch and share in the energy. You could also refer to the song lyrics provided – but you had to work to find them, flicking through the many pages stapled together in no particular order.
Photo: Darren Bell
For further information and future events visit The LMSO’s website here.