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Archive - Friday, 12 November 2004
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Preview: Gary Wilmot, My Kind Of Music, Grand Opera House, York, November 14
ENTERTAINER Gary Wilmot had a gap in his diary.
"I was chatting with my musical director and dear friend, Mike Alexander, and I said 'Look, I'm finishing in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and panto's coming up later, but I've got three months to fill. Shall we do a show in between?' The idea just grew from there."
The idea turned into Gary Wilmot - My Kind Of Music, a showcase for Wilmot to celebrate his performances in The Pirates Of Penzance, Me And My Girl, Carmen Jones, Oliver!, The Goodbye Girl, Copacabana and, naturally, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
"We soon realised that just me and Mike wouldn't be enough for this show, and before you knew it, there were ten of us on stage. First we added a rhythm section and then we thought we should have bits of brass and a percussionist too, and that's where Mike's skills comes in. He's a terrific arranger," he says.
"It's proved to be a good thing to have them all, not only musically but visually too, and the musicians are absolutely loving it."
The stage becomes even fuller in the second half, when Wilmot welcomes his special guests, the London Community Gospel Choir. "They do a 20-minute spot that really rips the place apart, and they're so enjoying working with the orchestra," Gary says.
"I then do some cocktail lounge singing, just to give another texture to the show. I'm doing songs that I love, Let There Be Love, Buddy Can You Spare Me A Dime and Mr Bojangles, which I've been doing for as long as I can remember."
For the finale, Wilmot is joined by the choir for four numbers.
"We do one in a gospel style, and I'd love to do a gospel musical at some point. I've loved choral music over the years; I've always been interested in that - and in fact my favourite scene in Me And My Girl is when the servants in the basement are singing together. It's so powerful," he says.
Next month he returns to the theatre stage, for a long, long run until February 27 next year in Cinderella. "I'm doing Buttons this year; I'm far too good looking to be an Ugly Sister!"
Gary Wilmot, My Kind Of Music, Grand Opera House, York, November 14, 7.30pm. Tickets: £19.50, £16.50; ring 0870 606 3595. Double Standards, Gary Wilmot and Mike Alexander's limited-edition album for the tour, will be on sale.
Updated: 16:24 Thursday, November 11, 2004