Around 90 Friends gathered at the York House Hotel on Eastbourne’s seafront on Sunday 8 March to listen to fellow friend, Robin Gregory, take them through half a century of great musical theatre, from Lionel Monckton’s Arcadia – considered by many to be the classic musical of the Edwardian period and whose racecourse scene was undoubtedly the inspiration behind My Fair Lady – to Cabaret, the musical by John Kander (with lyrics by Fred Ebb) based on the book by Christopher Isherwood set in 1930s Berlin, and first performed on Broadway in 1966.  To many present the sound of the familiar title song sung by the character Sally Bowles will bring back memories of the excellent production that visited Eastbourne in 2013.

Robin Gregory

An hour was not really long enough to do justice to the wealth and breadth of the musical theatre in the first part of the last century but the audience was treated to glimpses of this with extracts not only from such iconic and familiar musicals as Oklahoma and South Pacific (Rodgers & Hammerstein 1931 and 1949 respectively), West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein, with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim 1957,) and Oliver! (composed by Lionel Bart in 1960). but also works by Franz Lehár, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and Noel Coward.  To everyone’s amusement he also played a piece from a curiously named My Kingdom for a Cow, a musical play first performed at London’s Savoy Theatre in 1935 having been written by Kurt Weill following his flight from the tyranny of pre-war Nazi Germany.

Following an afternoon tea of sandwiches and cake the raffle was drawn which raised a net profit of £146 for The Friends.

Thanks are undoubtedly due to Robin for sharing with us his love and knowledge of the musical theatre and giving us the opportunity to listen to his twenty personally selected pieces.

Please click on any of the images  below to enlarge