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2009 Let Us Entertain You

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Programme Notes

Act One

Our opening features a medley of songs from the 2002 musical Hairspray. Written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and based on the 1988 John Waters movie of the same name, Hairspray is one of the most successful shows so far this century, amassing a total of eight Tony awards on Broadway. Hairspray was nominated for a record eleven Olivier awards, eventually winning three. The story of Tracy Turnblad's dream to dance on the local Corny Collins TV show and her rise to celebrity also features some strong social commentary on the injustices of 1960s American society. The musical of the movie was eventually turned back into a movie in 2006, starring John Travolta.

We begin our look back to the 1990s with Robbie WIlliams' 1997 hit, Let Me Entertain You. Co-written by Williams and his now ex-writing partner Guy Chambers, the song was the fifth single taken from Robbie's debut album Life Thru A Lens, eventually reaching number three in the UK and featuring a memorable video that paid tribute to classic rockers Kiss.

Torn was originally recorded in 1995 by its composers, US band Ednaswap, but is more famous as a 1997 cover version by Natalie Imbruglia, which reached number two in the UK charts.

Nothing Compares 2 U was originally composed by Prince for one of his protégé bands, The Family, in 1984, but became a worldwide smash for Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor in 1990. The song reached number one in more than a dozen countries and was recently voted number 10 in VH1's 'Greatest Songs Of The 90s' poll.

Whatever is a 1994 Oasis track, released as a stand-alone single between the band's first two albums. Featuring a memorable string arrangement by the London Session Orchestra, the song peaked at number three in the UK. Originally credited solely to Noel Gallagher, the song is now co-credited to former Bonzo Dog Neil Innes, who successfully sued Gallagher for 'borrowing' part of the melody from his 1970s song How Sweet To Be An Idiot and was rewarded with 50% of all future royalties from the song. Whatever spend fifty weeks in the UK chart, more than any other Oasis track to date.

Say What You Want, originally performed by Glaswegian band Texas and taken from their 'comeback'album White On Blonde, was released in 1996 and gave the band their biggest UK hit, reaching number three. Co-written by bass guitarist Johnny McElhone and lead singer Sharleen Spiteri, the video of the song featured only Spiteri and led to the song becoming a huge worldwide hit.

Released in 1997 from their second album Spiceworld, the Spice Girls' seventh single Stop! was their first song not to reach number one in the UK, stalling at number two. This brought to an end the group's remarkable record of each of their first six singles reaching the top of the Uk charts. The single was kept from number one by US rappers Run DMC. The song is officiallyu a collaboration between all five girls and their produces, but was predominantly written by Ginger Spice, Geri Halliwell, who quit the band shortly after this single's release.

Taken from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman's 1996 musical Whistle Down The Wind, No Matter What provided Irish boyband Boyzone with a number one single in 1998. The song was their biggest UK hit and also provided the band with their only US hit single, reaching number twelve in the same year.

Anthem and I Know Him So Well are taken from the musical Chess, featuring lyrics by Tim Rice and music from former Abba stars Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. The show tells the story of a romantic love triangle between two grand masters and one of their managers, set against a Cold War struggle between the US and the Soviet Union. The lead single from the project - I Know Him So Well - was released as a duet featuring Elaine Page and Barbara Dickson in 1985. Although the song is officially the biggest selling single by a female duet, the pair recorded their vocals separately and met in person for the first time to record the song's video.

42nd Street made its Broadway debut in 1980 and was based on the 1993 movie of the same name, directed by Lloyd Bacon and featuring classic choreography by Busby Berkely. The show won the 1980 Tony for best musical, and the 1984 London production was also awarded the Oliver award for best musical. Telling the classic story of the 'chorus girl made good', Peggy Sawyer and her growing relationship with director Julian Marsh, the show completed its unique hat trick of awards when its 2001 Broadway revival also won the Tony for best musical. Tonight we feature a version of the opening tap sequence.

We Will Rock You, written by Ben Elton and based on the music of Queen, opened at the Dominion Theatre in London in 2002 and is still running today. Originally panned by the critics, the show has subsequently become an enormous success, playing to full houses in the West End while a second version has been selling out a national tour around the country. The story takes place in an Orwellian future, where all musical instruments are banned and all music is sanctioned by the all-powerful Globalsoft Corporation, led by the domineering Killer Queen. A group of rebels - the Bohemians - led by young dreamer Galileo Figaro, fulfil the prophecy that one day, rock and roll will return.

Act Two

O Fortuna is a poem from Carmina Burana, a collection of Latin poems written in the 13th century, which was set to music by German composer Carl Orff between 1935 and 1936. The piece has been used in countless movies and commercials, in everything from X Factor to Oliver Stone's The Doors movie. Perhaps the song is best remembered (for those of us of a certain age) as the backing to the famous Old Spice surfer in a series of 1970s adverts.

The version of The Lord Is My Shepherd we are performing tonight was arranged by Howard Goodall as the theme to the TV series The Vicar Of Dibley. The original version was performed by the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford and was released as a single, with all proceeds going to Comic Relief.

The Dark And Endless Dalek Night is a piece of music taken from the fourth new BBC TV series Doctor Who. Composed for that season's two part finale - The Stolen Earth and Journey's End - composed by Murray Gold, our version tonight is a unique translation by David McFarlane. The original version featured the BBC National Chorus of Wales and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and was featured last year in the Doctor Who prom concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

Nella Fantasia is based on the theme Gabriel's Oboe, written by Ennio Morricone for the 1986 movie The Mission, which starred Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons. The lyrics were later added by Italian writer Chiara Ferraú. The original idea of turning the theme into a song came from Sarah Brightman and the song has now been covered by many different artists, perhaps most famously by Il Divo.

What A Feeling was the almost title track from teh 1983 movie Flashdance. Originally performed by Irene Cara, the song was a huge number one hit in the US and reached number two in the UK charts. The song subsequently won an Osca and Golden Globe for best original song, as well as a Grammy for best female vocal performance. The song was co-written by Cara and Giorgio Moroder.

Our medley from the 1997 John Travolta movei Saturday Night Fever features three songs from one of the biggest selling soundtrack albums in history. Night Fever and were written by Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb especially for the movie, while Jive Talkin' was a previously issued Bee Gees track included on the album but not used in the movie. The soundtrack album was the bestselling album in the UK in 1978 and features in the top ten biggest selling albums worldwide, ever.

Fame was written by Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford as the theme to the 1980 Alan Parker movie set in the New York School of Performing Arts. Recorded by Irene Cara, the song was not a hit at the time, but was re-released on the back of the success of the Fame TV series and hit number one in the UK in 1982.

Starmaker was featured in the Fame TV series and was released as a single in 1982, reaching number three in the UK charts. Recording the song was very poignant for the cast, as it was written for an episode where the cast were saying goodbye to a long-time teacher who was being forced to leave the school. In real life, the actor playing the teacher, Michael Thoma, was nearing the end of a long battle with cancer and the emotion clearly audible on the record unmistakably demonstrates the affection felt for him by the cast. Sadly, Mr Thoma passed away only a few weeks after filming his final scenes and never knew the impact this song would have, and would continue to have throughout the years.

Motown Records was founded by Berry Gordy in January of 1959 and eventually became one of the most influential record companies in the world. Motown was the first record label in the States to feature predominantly African American artists and played a huge role in the integration of black music into the mainstream. I Heard It Through The Grapevine, one of the most famous Motown songs, was recored by various Motown artists, but the definitive version was made in 1968 by Marvin Gaye - a legendary performance that topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The song was the bestselling Motown record of all-time, until the release of I'll Be There, a song which has twice hit number one - the original version in 1970 recorded by the Jackson % and again in 1992 in a version by Mariah Carey. Ain't No Mountain High Enough was written by Ashford & Simpson and hit the top of the charts in 1970, recorded by Diana Ross. In 1966, Ross also recorded You Can't Hurry Love with the Supremes. Written by the legendary Motown writing team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, the song was a massive hit for the group and hit the top of the charts again in 1983, in a cover by Phil Collins. Dancing In the Street was co-written by Mickey Stevenson and Marvin Gaye, and was recorded in 1964 by Martha and the Vandellas, hitting the top five on both sides of the Atlantic.

Run was originally recored by the British group Snow Patrol for their third album, Final Straw and was released in 2004, reaching number five in the UK charts. The song was covered by X Factor winner Leona Lewis and was released in 2008, becoming the fastest selling digital only release and hitting number one in numerous countries.

Bridge Over Troubled Water, written by Pual Simon, was recorded by Simon & Garfunkel for their last album together and was released as a single in 1970, becoming a huge international number one hit. The song was the source of much tension between the duo, with Simon famously stating his regret at insisting Garfunkel performed the song solo. Tellingly, on their last tour as a duo in 2006, Simon and Garfunkel sang a verse each and duetted on the third.

These Are The Days Of Our Lives was predominantly written by Queen drummer Roger Taylor for the band's last LP with frontman Freddie Mercury before his death in 1991. The song was issued as a double A side single (with Bohemian Rhapsody) following Freddie's death and was awarded a Brit award as best single of 1991. The song is featured in the musical We Will Rock You, representing memories of happier times. In very much the same vein that Taylor was writing about when faced with Mercury's illness. The song is especially remembered for its poignant video, in which a visibly ill Mercury appears to be saying goodbye to his fans.