Scott Alan & Special Guests performed at the Hippodrome, London.
Scott Alan is a huge deal in musical theatre circles. This singer/songwriter from the USA has become a big influence, thanks primarily to his ability to craft richly structured ballads carrying immense emotional power. Alan is also a composer who wears his heart very much on his sleeve, and 48 hours without sleep heightened this trait, making for a emotional rollercoaster of an evening in the presence of the young, hip, West End stars of the day.
Alan’s rapport with his audience is deeply personal and this is undoubtedly part of his appeal as he flirts amicably with actor/singer Oliver Tompsett and in fact most of the talent on stage during the evening, male and female. Talent is the key to Alan’s success and his writing attracts some of the brightest names on Broadway including Idina Menzel, Cheyenne Jackson and Jonathan Groff. Over here, his guests included Tompsett, Alexia Khadime, Savannah Stevenson and Cynthia Erivo.
Tompsett’s ‘Letting Go of You’ reassured the audience that the vocalist will have a long and successful career after he closes in We Will Rock You at the end of the month and Khadime’s powerful rendition of ‘I’m Coming Home to You’ brought the house down – and this after a two-show day in The Book of Mormon!
That afternoon Alan had been to see the new production of Miss Saigon, which is creating quite a buzz in the West End, and invited two of the cast members to sing. Rachelle Ann Go, who is playing Gigi, belted out a formidable ‘There It Is’, while Dale Evans, appearing in the ensemble, sang ‘Blessing’. An exceptionally poignant number written by Alan, it’s about coming-out to your parents and was heightened by a confession from Evans that his parents are no longer speaking to him.
It is this kind of live musical therapy that marks the dividing line between fervent fans of Alan’s work and his detractors. Alan’s almost evangelical openness about his depression, homosexuality, relationships and loss, play an enormous part in his songwriting. What is lacking are the songs about success, love, fun and friendship.
Alan appears to have a vast network of talented associates, a loyal family (father and sister were in the audience) and a whole heap of fans who love his work, and yet his songs seems to dwell on the negative. He is indisputably talented, but the sturm und drang of his set verges on the oppressive, saved only by effervescent exchanges with his guests between numbers.
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Fascinating Aida – Charm Offensive – St James Theatre – Review
Julie Atherton – Tempting Fate – St James Theatre Studio – Review