The students sing one song by Sondheim and a new song by members of Mercury Musical Developments, an organisation dedicated to the craft of writing book, music and lyrics for musical theatre. Stephen Sondheim who is a patron of both The Stephen Sondheim Society and MMD waskeen to incorporate a Prize for new writing in musical theatre within the event and with support from UK writers George Stiles & Anthony Drewe there will be a presentation of the fifth Stiles and Drewe Best Song Prize, which also has a prize value of £1,000 for the best new song of the evening.
Recent finalists for Student Performer of the Year have been in Les Miserables, Sister Act and Billy Elliot, whilst recent entrants for the Best Song Prize are now Composers in Residence at the Donmar Warehouse, Derngate and FinboroughTheatres.
The Stephen Sondheim Society said: “We are delighted that over the past few years hundreds of students of musical theatre have had the opportunity of entering the heats for our competition and dozens have gone on to perform in the finals on a West End stage, mentored and supported by some of the country's best Music Directors and Directors, in front of a panel of eminent judges. Singing a song by Stephen Sondheim and a new work from one of the Mercury Musical Developments composers/lyricists gives them an opportunity to show their singing and performing ability to a West End audience and gives them a real boost when they come to graduate and go out into their careers on the stage. We like to follow our winners and offer them support and encouragement throughout their careers."
Whilst The Stephen Sondheim Society (www.sondheim.org) has been running for 19 years it was set up in its present form as a Charitable Trust in 2011 and is now managed by a Board of Trustees who bring with them a range of different and appropriate skills. It arranges a wide range of activities for its members including talks, workshops, discounted theatre tickets and group theatre visits (often with Q&A sessions with directors and actors) and other social events. It publishes a quarterly magazine with reviews, articles and competitions and has special offers on CDs, DVDs, books and other materials. Its extensive archive is being curated by Kingston University and will shortly be available to those wanting to carry out research. The Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Competition attracts students from colleges all over the UK and, following heats, culminates in the finals in a West End theatre in front of industry and celebrity judges. This year the number of entrants has increased by over 40%, a testament to the high regard in which the event is held by colleges and the industry.
Dates: 27 May
Ticket prices: £12 - £25
Address: Queen’s Theatre, Shaftesbury Ave, W1D 6BA
Box Office: 0844 482 5164