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Musicals hit the right note for recession-hit audiences

PUBLISHED: 12:51 04 March 2009 | UPDATED: 15:42 16 August 2010

THE borough s insatiable taste for musicals is being spurred on even more by the recession, according to an industry insider. While the economy is shrinking,

THE borough's insatiable taste for musicals is being spurred on even more by the recession, according to an industry insider.

While the economy is shrinking, audiences are growing and Bromley's theatres are bowing to demand by staging more productions than ever before.

Lynda Trapnell, editor of Musical Stages, a magazine dedicated to the business, said: "Musical theatre has never been more popular than it is right now. In times of depression like we're in at the moment, people can go to Mamma Mia which is huge fun, or Billy Elliot, a stunning piece of theatre, and come out singing songs. They are uplifted and it has taken them out of the not too happy place they were in before.

"Bromley has been very active in promoting the scene. People of Bromley want some escapism. Over the last 20 years, with the advent of Andrew Lloyd Webber, it has really expanded.

"If you go to the theatre and see a serious play you might come out depressed but if you go to see a musical and you come out humming the tune you feel exhilarated."

Over the past year, The Churchill theatre in Bromley has put on 14 musicals and manager of the theatre, John L Short believes there is no chance of their appeal waning.

He said: "The Churchill audience loves feel-good musicals but they also enjoy heart-wrenching classics such as Carousel."

Mr Short attributes part of their success to the fact that many of their sell out shows move the West End.

He said: "Price and the exclusivity factor come into it as well. Our audience get to watch big musicals before they transfer, at a fraction of the price they'd pay in the West End."

The Churchill's current musical production, Dreamboats and Petticoats finishes this Saturday but the unyielding demand for all things musical means another song filled feast is on its way on March 8 with Hot Flush, starring Lesley Garratt.

And with barely a breath after that, Jolson, a tribute to Broadway entertainer extraordinaire, Al Jolson, is set to run from March 10 to 14.

For tickets see www.ambassadortickets.com.

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