THE Bev Jones Music Company brings together Yorkshire actors, singers and dancers to present the world premiere of Bev Jones's final work, Penny Millionaire, at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, from January 18 to 23.
Written by the York music impresario and musical theatre composer, the show is based on the tragic tale of French Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin, a richly successful stockbroker who wanted nothing more than to paint, despite his wife's objections.
"Set in France and the South Seas, the musical is unashamedly traditional, featuring glorious melodies and harmonies, drama, passion, tragedy, frivolity and love," says Bev's wife, Lesley, the show's producer.
Penny Millionaire began life as a joint venture between Bev Jones and Stephen Ward in 1976. Later, Bev re-wrote the musical with new arrangements, new songs and a new script with modern theatrical twists, a task he completed in 2012 while recovering from a stroke.
"The Rowntree Theatre show is being staged as a legacy for Bev and will be the biggest production we'll ever stage. I want it to appeal to all ages and be a great theatre evening for the whole family," says Lesley.
Composer Bev Jones, front centre, with cast members for the world premiere of Penny Millionaire
"Our show will be a "not for profit" production. All remaining income will be donated to the Alzheimer's Society to help people with Alzheimer's disease and dementia, a condition that has beset Bev, who now lives at Thistle Hill Care Centre in Knaresborough."
The Bev Jones Music Company was formed to keep the flame of Bev's music alight by providing a variety of popular and classical music concerts and productions throughout North Yorkshire.
Taking principal roles in Penny Millionaire will be Rory Mulvihill as Paul Gauguin; Simon Trow as Pisarro; Terry Rord, Monet; Lee Patterson, Cezanne; Chris Hagyard, Bernard Martin; Angela Edwards, Madame Gloanec, and Sally Lewis, Mette Gauguin. Alexis Jagger will play Aline Gauguin, Kelly Bolland, Justine, and Keira Eden, Emile Gauguin.
Joining Lesley in the production team are director and choreographer Iain Harvey, musical director James Rodgers, rehearsal accompanist Gill Boler and Adam Moore, who is in charge of artistic effects and stage production. All 12 members of the orchestra played previously in Bev's band.
Penny Millionaire's cast first performed a selection of songs from the show at the Riley Smith Hall in Tadcaster last October when Bev attended the matinee performance. Since then, Cal'O Connell and Julia Munder have made a promotional film for the premiere
Tickets for the 7.30pm evening performances and 2.30pm Saturday matinee are on sale at £15 or £12, with concessions available, from York Theatre Royal's De Grey Rooms box office, on 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk
Courtesy of Lesley Jones and the Bev Jones Music Company, What's On has two pairs of tickets to be won for the Gala Press Night on January 18, when each audience member will receive a free luxury souvenir programme.
Question: To which French Polynesian island did Paul Gauguin set sail to satiate his passion for colour?
Send your answer, with your name, address and daytime phone number, either on a postcard to Charles Hutchinson, Penny Millionaire Competition, The Press, 76-86 Walmgate, York, YO1 9YN, or by email to email@example.com, marked Penny Millionaire Competition, by Friday, January 15. Usual competition rules apply.
Did you know?
MUSICALS star Dave Willetts will attend the January 23 matinee of Penny Millionaire with his wife Lyn.