Mel Lawman (Writer, lyricist) and Matthew Finch (Composer) are taking songs from Freckles- the new musical, to perform to the legendary Claude-Michel Schönberg, composer of Les Misérable and Miss Saigon, in a day’s masterclass in London in June.
“We are all in a semi-state of shock, excitement and apprehension. Who would have thought just over a year ago that Freckles would develop into a musical which would get such attention? Well, we can all dream…. work very hard, never give up…. and yes, sometimes aspects of dreams do become reality,” says Mel who has written radio and television drama before but never taken on the mammoth challenge of writing the story and lyrics to a full scale musical.
When Mel came into some inheritance from the death of her father, Mel thought that she would make one of her dreams come true in honour of her dad. Freckles was originally inspired by a character Mel knows well from adapting the script from the story of Anne of Green Gables. Although the central character in Freckles is also called Anne, it is now a truly British affair, with a story set in 1930s Bigbury on Sea, South Devon.
Across the sands is Burgh Island, home to the famous Art Deco hotel, which at high tide is cut off from the main land. Mel and her husband, Matt (not the composer) spent their honeymoon there and ever since Mel has been fascinated but the history of past guests including Agatha Christie, Noel Coward, a ghost called Tom Crocker (who appears in the show)… and Edward and Mrs. Simpson. Why indeed, in the musical Freckles, a charismatic American woman named W also appears and has a chance encounter with the red-headed befreckled Anne. Both characters are viewed as foreign and odd…. and both characters do in fact go on to change the lives of others and cause a little controversy along the way.
The next fully developed production in August will bring together a cast of about 50 youth performers. They will only have two full weeks of intensive rehearsals before the shows but the production team members are confident that “together” they will create a thrilling family show. Having also recently been short-listed for the “Stiles and Drew” Award for best song from a new musical, the team are confident that the full youth production of Freckles in August will win the hearts of the people of Bath.
The young incredible composers Owain Coleman and Tom Cory (from the band Bare Knuckle Parade) have also worked with Mel and composed many of the upbeat Freckles songs which include “Imperfect”, “I won’t say sorry”, “Together” and the amazing dream sequence music for “Guilty.”
To quote a response to a previous production (in development) in November “I was so thrilled to be there and witness something so unique and professional. I wish the world could have seen and heard the show! I was in awe of the genius of everyone. “- past Chair of The Mid Somerset Drama and Music Festival, Sandy McDowell.
Kingwood School is sponsoring the production in August, with the Head of Drama Kate Nash directing. The show will have an exceptional cast of young people from various schools in and around Bath, ranging in age from eight to nineteen.
In the meantime, Yasmine Meaden, Joe Croucher, Jessica Finch and Lara Lawman are thrilled to be performing the haunting song “Cruel Ache” and the powerful love song, “Filament” to their “musical theatre icon” at the masterclass. They, of course, intend to invite Claude-Michel to a performance of Freckles in August. Who knows, more dreams might come true!