PICTURE PERFECT: The Beginning
Simon Greiff, creator and director
'PICTURE PERFECT A New Musical' has been two years in the making, and next weekend it will be presented in front of a London audience. On Monday we officially start rehearsals, and Scott Evan Davis, my wonderful collaborator and friend, and I are beside ourselves with excitement!
I first met Scott in New York when I was out there directing a British show that was part of the 2012 New York Musical Theatre Festival. Scott noticed that over the years I had been working hard to introduce London audiences to new musical theatre writers (by presenting both British and American composers in concerts and cabarets), and approached me for some advice. And as I was in New York for a month, he asked to take me for coffee. Not that I actually drink coffee!
It just so happened that I had an upcoming 'Emerging Artists' evening planned at the newly restored London Hippodrome when I returned to London, and knowing that Scott was a rising talent in the world of songwriting, I invited him to join fellow US composers Georgia Stitt and Michael Patrick Walker (all of them described in The Huffington Post as 'today's must-know songwriters') in an exclusive concert. I'm thrilled to say that the evening was very well received, and it was a pleasure to introduce London to Scott's beautiful songs.
But over that 'coffee' back in New York, I asked Scott whether he'd ever considered using the songs from his acclaimed album, 'Cautiously Optimistic', to tell a single story - and thus create a musical song-cycle. Scott loved the idea and wanted me to be the one to help, but sadly at the time I wasn't able to commit to the project. I did however inspire Scott to try something out, and with director Lennie Watts, they created a revue that showcased Scott's wonderful songs, and the 'PICTURE PERFECT Revue' successfully played in New York and LA.
Over a year later, Stuart Matthew Price (who happened to have performed in my Hippodrome concert) and his producing partner James Yeoburn from United Theatrical, approached Scott about putting on a production of his revue. They were already making waves producing American work in London with Andrew Lippa and more recently Kerrigan-Lowdermilk and, when Scott mentioned to them that he and I had discussed taking the concept of PICTURE PERFECT further, they were very happy for us to explore the idea.
So, nearly two years later since Scott and I had 'coffee', and now with a window in my schedule, I got to work writing a storyboard and creating characters that could sing Scott's songs. This also created an opportunity for Scott to write two brand new songs, based on the characters and scenarios I have created within the 'book' of this new show. 'PICTURE PERFECT A New Musical' goes one step further than a revue and connects all the songs to tell a simple story about four individuals:
Josh is graduating college and preparing to face the future - whatever that may bring! Unlucky in love, he wonders whether the right person is out there for him. Ellie, on her gap year from her law degree, wonders whether she's making the right decisions in life - both professional and personal! Harry & Elizabeth, Josh's parents, are also at a turning point in their lives - with Harry inadvertently starting an affair with a younger woman, and Elizabeth believing now is the time to finally leave her husband. Is anything 'Picture Perfect'?
United Theatrical got to work booking the St James for a four-performance try-out run, and we then managed to put together the most talented cast; Helen Hobson, Joel Harper-Jackson, Jerome Pradon, and Charlotte Wakefield; and the wonderful musical director Colin Billing.
And this Monday, at our first full day of rehearsals, Scott and I will finally get to realize our glorious show. The day can't come fast enough!
St James Theatre Studio
Saturday 31st May (4pm & 8pm) and Sunday 1st June (3pm & 7pm)
0844 264 2140