Don’t miss this excellent new series on BBC Radio 2 all about the musical.

Sian Phillips, presenter of episode one of The Musical

Sian Phillips, presenter of episode one of The Musical

The eight part series started on Monday, 6 September 2010, at 10pm UK time (listen again here) and each week will cover a different aspect of the world of musical theatre and its 80 year history.

The Musical is presented by a different name in musical theatre each week – with this Monday’s show voiced by award-winning actress Sian Phillips.

This first programme, “Stories with Songs”, revealed the importance of a good book – or story – in a musical, and the contradiction between this and why so few musicals choose to adapt existing stories rather than originate their own. Shows used to demonstrate include The Boy Friend, A Chorus Line, Chess, Starlight Express and Sunday In The Park With George, with lots of showbiz contributions from the likes of Stephen Sondheim, Patti Lupone, John Barrowman, Elaine Stritch, Maria Friedman, Sandy Wilson, Ruthie Henshall, Tim Rice, Elaine Paige, Marvin Hamlisch and Michael Grandage.

Episode two, “Drawn From Life” will be presented by musicals star, Sondheim aficionado and current artistic director of Sheffield Theatres, Daniel Evans, and covers some of the life-stories of real people used in musicals, from Gypsy and Evita to The King and I.

The Musical is produced by Malcolm Prince, who also produces Elaine Paige’s Sunday show on Radio 2.

A number of other theatrical documentaries will come to Radio 2 this autumn including a look at the history of the London Palladium in its centenary year.

LINKS

Listen to The Musical – Episode 1

BBC Radio 2 – The Musical