Eamon Friel’s musical comedy The Music Makers was staged at The Playhouse in Derry, N Ireland in the autumn of 2010. It was an outstanding success. Friel, who wrote and directed the new production, said he was delighted with the feedback from audiences. “I am just thrilled to get such a warm response. The cast and crew have put so much work into every aspect of the show, and they thoroughly deserved it! “With Eddie O’Donnell as Musical Director and an experienced, talented and enthusiastic local cast, I knew I couldn't go wrong!” The Music Makers will now play a part in the Derry City of Culture presentations in 2013.
A cast album of the musical has now been recorded and two songs from the show are available as a CD single. The show features a mix of brand new Eamon Friel songs and a few of the very best to be found on his albums. Such a Night of Stars first appeared as the opening track on Word of Spring
Track 1. Such a Night of Stars is a duet from the first act. The lovers find themselves alone beneath the vastness of the starry sky. What does the future hold for them? They vow to stay true to each other no matter what. Sharon Duffy and Keith Lynch bring much of their stage chemistry to their romantic singing of this lovely duet.
Sharon says, “Such a Night of Stars was a delight to sing each night. Myself and Keith were transported by the song and I think the audience was too. It really is a beautiful song.”
Track 2. Jerusalem Today is very different. For its writer Eamon Friel it is as much an anthem as a song. “It has intentional echoes of William Blake’s Jerusalem”, says Friel.
The song is a heartfelt plea for us to value more what is beautiful and full of wonder in life and to reject the tawdry blandishments of the world. It features the powerful singing of Laura Douglas whose passionate vocal both opens and closes the musical. “I know The Music Makers is a comedy but when we sing Jerusalem Today” says Laura, “both the cast and the audience really begin to believe that it is not too late to make a better world.”
The Music Makers is a piece of theatre that works on a number of different levels. It is a tale of redemption. It is a love story too. But most of all it is a comedy. The comedy ranges from broad farce to subtle satire. Friel says, “Yes it’s a comedy first and foremost but a song like Jerusalem Today has some serious points to make. I was confident about the songs because I knew they were strong. But comedy is a strange commodity. You never know till the opening night. The audience laughed a lot. I knew then it was a winner!
Ironically The Music Makers, a comedy about culture, was holding auditions when it was announced that Derry/ Londonderry was designated as UK City of Culture for the year 2013. Just a coincidence?
What isn’t a coincidence is that The Playhouse is to stage the musical again during 2013 and there are plans as well for this intimate (seven characters), tightly written, song driven comedy to be filmed in the near future. Meanwhile enjoy two of the best songs from a wonderful score.
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