Christmas feast of festive concerts
A West End Christmas lets top London musical performers such as Daniel Boys have fun with top quality music. Rather than a complicated set-up or concept, the show aims to take talented singers and let them do what they do to great songs.
"It's for West End performers including myself, singing the popular tunes from West End musicals," Daniel says.
It's the classic songbook – with a festive twist. They drop in a few of the Christmassy ones as well.
"We do sing I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas," he says. "I love that one."
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For the stage actors, it's all good fun. "It's lovely to just be yourself and sing songs that you love singing rather than being a character for six months or a year," he says. "And also, it's nice to get out of London."
Daniel will return to Nottingham later in the year – he just started rehearsals for a tour of Cole Porter's High Society that's scheduled to come to the city in June.
He and the three others met for the first time just last week to learn the harmonies.
"It's very different to a show where you have to spend four or five weeks putting it together," he says.
They learn the songs by themselves, have a day's rehearsal before they do the concert.
"Then," he says, "we have the day of the concert.
"It's a short rehearsal period but you don't really need that much."
There aren't even any lines to learn, although there will be a bit of audience banter.
"And I'm sure," he says, "there will be a few Christmas jokes as well."
A West End Christmas is on Thursday, December 20 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £16 to £25.
THOSE vampires get everywhere. And now, they're even rocking Christmas.
Although as Steve Steinman points out, the undead in Vampires Rock Christmas aren't quite like the ones that are all over television at the moment.
"I think the new vein (Ed: Ha!) of vampire shows and films are all shiny and glittery," he says. "We're old fashioned vampire rock."
Not that he's complaining about the whole Twilight, True Blood deal.
"It's been good, the fact that vampires have been in the press all the time," he says. "I suppose in one way people have not shied away from giving it a go. I can't see it not helping, but I don't think people have flooded to see (Vampires Rock) because they saw True Blood."
No, Steve created his vampire empire the old fashioned way.
"We've built and built and built a fanbase," says the man who, as you do, built his vampire dynasty off a show telling the life story of the singer Meat Loaf.
Steve played Meat Loaf in the musical production 15 years ago.
"We got such a good reaction we thought 'why don't we produce a show with all the great rock songs rather than just focusing on one singer?'"
And they thought – hey, you know what would make this show hang together? Vampires.
"It is a funny show as well," Steve says. "The music's done seriously, but we do have some fun with it."
They did the first Christmas show three or four years ago. For Steve, creating a festive show was basically an exercise in throwing in some Slade and writing the script slightly different. "The show's pretty much the same," Steve says. But, you know, with Christmas.
And it's got no pretensions about being fancy.
"We're not a high street, off the West End kind of show. We're just kind of under the radar. And I do it myself through my own company.
"It's been tough at times, but I've been promoting myself for 15 years, and who better to do it than you."
Vampires Rock Christmas comes to the Royal Concert Hall on Monday, December 17. Tickets are £23.50 to £25.50.
IF the West End or the undead aren't your thing, the Royal Concert Hall has plenty more Christmas-themed material coming up in the coming days. They include:
The Hallé Christmas Concert. The Manchester-based orchestra returns to its second home with soprano Elin Manahan Thomas for an evening of festive selections and a few that are just fun. They include Handel's Rejoice, from The Messiah, Adam's O Holy Night, excerpts from The Nutcracker, When you Wish Upon a Star, Rebikov's Christmas Tree Waltz and Williams' ET's Adventures on Earth.
The concert is on Tuesday, December 18 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £10 to £27.
Family Carol Concerts. David Laing conducts the talented local musicians of the Nottingham Harmonic Choir and the Thoresby Colliery Band.
The concerts are on Wednesday, December 19 and Saturday, December 22 at 7pm. Tickets are £8.50 to £15.50.
Celebrating Christmas with Cantamus. Mansfield's award-winning girls' choir will feature songs from The Little Red Riding Hood Songbook by Paul Patterson with lyrics by Roald Dahl as well as The Emperor and the Nightingale. And that's in addition to the selection of Christmas favourites that is always a Cantamus speciality. The concert is on Friday, December 21 at 7.30pm Tickets are £12 to £20.
Christmas With the Rat Pack.
If you make it through Christmas and still haven't slaked your seasonal thirst, then this show, which actually arrives in Nottingham between Christmas and New Year, should do the job.
And actually, a show featuring the best of Las Vegas-style Frank, Dean and Sammy might just be the best way to get you in the mood for a swingin' new year.
The concert is based on the legendary 1960s shows at the Sands hotel on the Vegas Strip. Songs include Witchcraft, The Lady is a Tramp, I've Got You Under My Skin, That's Amore, New York, New York, Fly Me to the Moon, Sway, Volare and My Way, as well as Christmas and New Year numbers such as Baby it's Cold Outside, Winter Wonderland and Auld Lang Syne. The Burrelli Sisters and The Rat Pack Big Band fill out the roster on an evening of cool, swinging sounds. The concert is on Friday, December 28. Tickets are £21.50 to £27.50.