A British musical theatre producer, now living in Thailand, has plans to serenade Bangkok with London West End classics.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born in England and lived most of my early life in London during the swinging ‘60’s and‘70’s, an amazing era for fashion and music. Actually, I saw The Beatles live twice! My father was a successful theatre producer in the West End and on Broadway so my childhood was a mixture of premiere nights and celebrity parties.
What’s your background and when did you start getting involved in musical theatre?
After school I went to work in TV as an assistant floor manager at Thames TV, where we made The Benny Hill Show. Then I started a successful fashion company with my brother called Bridgebags. Later, I ran London fashion exhibitions before changing to worldwide property shows.
Who have been your biggest influences?
Mary Quant, the British fashion designer, and Terence Donavon, the fashion photographer. Terence actually worked for my father.
What is your all-time favourite musical play?
I was lucky and I got to see many first nights as I was an investor in several big musicals. Miss Saigon was very exciting, so was Star Light Express, however, I appreciated the privilege of seeing the very first private preview of Phantom of the Opera—my middle brother Andy Bridge is the show’s lighting designer—and I have very fond memories of this, it was like watching history unfolding.
Tell us more about Big Mango Productions.
Along with Mike Cordwell, we felt there was a lack of theatrical entertainment coming to Bangkok and Thailand. So, we decided to set up Big Mango Productions with the British Embassy supporting our first concert this month, by the London’s West End Men.
What can the audience expect from the upcoming show?
West End and Broadway musicals have some exceptionally talented leading men who command the stage every night. We have been extremely lucky to find that three of the top actors were available to fly over to Bangkok. For instance, Daniel Koek played Jean Valjean for two-years in the London production of Les Misérables, Hugh Maynard was in the original cast of Miss Saigon, returning a few years ago to play the same part in the award-winning London revival. And Oliver Tompsett played the lead in Wicked and is currently starring in American hit musical, Kinky Boots.
Joining the men at the Thailand Cultural Centre will be our special guest Miss Harriet Jones, who captivated West End audiences for three-years playing the role of Christine in Phantom of the Opera.
Normally the orchestras in the theatres are hidden in the pit and number less than 15 musicians total. We have booked 45 talented musicians from the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra to support the cast on stage. The two hour concert will include songs from Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Chess, Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Wicked and The Lion King. With sound, lighting and special effects, it should be a night to remember.
What is your next musical event and when is it planned for?
We plan to take this concert—London’s West End Men—to other Asian cities.
Tickets from www.thaiticketmajor.com or Tel: 02 262 3456
interview by Zazi Ruengchinda