Described as “a night of unashamed showbiz glitz and glamour”, A Night at the Musicals at Wales Millennium Centre on Sunday evening featured The Novello Orchestra with an all-star cast. The result was an evening of musical theatre’s best-loved moments including songs from Wicked, Les Misérables, Chicago and Phantom of the Opera.
The Novello Orchestra, whose trademark passion and charisma has made it one of the finest show orchestras in the UK, opened with the unmistakable sounds of Big Spender (from Sweet Charity) which moved into a carefully produced mashup of popular musical theatre songs seamlessly moving from one to the other, then back again. The sound was big, loud and fun and just from this short overture, the audience got the impression everyone was enjoying themselves on stage.
The first guest was David Thaxton who went to explain how he was one of the first performers on the Wales Millennium Centre Stage at it’s opening concert 11 years ago. He gave a passionate performance of the title song from Jesus Christ Superstar.
The second and final orchestra piece was a Chicago instrumental which blended beautifully into Don’t Rain on My Parade performed by Danielle Hope looking elegant in a beautiful gold dress. Danielle followed this with a rendition of Somewhere over the Rainbow (from Wizard of Oz) recalling the Over the Rainbow TV series of which she originally rose to prominence.
John Owen Jones took to the stage next, recalling his time on Phantom of the Opera as he sang The Music of the Night. Other memorable moments included John’s duet with Danielle on The Prayer and a stunning performance of Being Alive by David Thaxton along with the musical Company
The first half ended with West-End star Kerry Ellis taking to the stage with her performance of She used to be Mine from Waitress. This was followed with a beautiful rendition of Anthem, which she dedicated to her nan who had passed away earlier in the day. Kerry fully deserved the standing ovation she received as the curtain went down on the first half.
The second half continued the high standard of performances. The irresistible pairing of John Owen Jones performing alongside Kerry Ellis for a charismatic performance (complete with dancing) of Miss Saigon’s The Last Night of the World is a memory that will endure.
Ahead of Les Miserables appearance at Wales Millennium Centre later this year, there was a preview of the show’s musical highlights. Kerry Ellis began with I Dreamed a Dream, followed by David Thaxton singing Stars, Danielle Hope sang On My Own and the finale of the section was everyone’s favourite Jean Valjean from Burry Port, John Owen Jones with Bring Him Home!
An evening of musical memories flew by with more highlights including Kerry Ellis’ own spell-binding version of Defying Gravity from Wicked!
John Owen Jones began the finale with From Now On from the musical film The Greatest Showman and was joined by Danielle, David and Kerry Ellis to perform it, but ultimately it was the encore that had the whole audience was on their feet with Don’t Stop Believing from the musical Rock of Ages. An evening of the finest musical songs featuring the finest performers, A Night At The Musicals was unmissable treat for all fans of the genre.
A Night at The Musicals was the first in a short series of shows led by The Novello Orchestra, with Movie Mixtape: Songs from The Silver Screen to follow on November 17, 2019 and Heart and Soul: A Motown, Rnb And Soul Celebration on the 3rd March 2020.