Singer and broadcaster Gary Williams chats with musical movers and shakers.
Star of the West End’s “Rat Pack”, Gary Williams has performed worldwide, from the BBC Concert Orchestra to the Melbourne Symphony, Bestival to Buckingham Palace. He wrote the performers’ bible ‘Cabaret Secrets’, recorded at Abbey Road and was profiled in the Sunday Times' ‘Fame and Fortune’ section. He has presented four original Podcasts, and shows for BBC Radio 2, The Wireless and Jazz FM.
Bass player, teacher and big-band leader Joe Pettitt talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Joe has worked with the Ronnie Scott's Big Band, the John Wilson Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and South Bank Symphony Orchestra. If that wasn't enough he's also travels the country as the leader of the Len Phillips Big Band.
Is cruising safe now? Are cruise ships actually safer than being on land? Karl Lornie from tribute band Beatles Celebration is performing on the MSC Grandiosa and tells us what it’s like cruising and working on a cruise ship during the Covid-19 pandemic. We talk about the safety measures on board, when masks need to be worn, one-way systems, how the buffet works, and testing requirements for guests before boarding. Karl also tells us what it’s like working as an entertainer on board, medical requirements, length of contacts, how many shows they need to do and when entertainers need to quarantine. The ship’s home port is Genoa. It’s doing 7 day cruises, calling only at Italian ports and guests can only leave the ship on an organised tour. After the interview, Karl told me that in one port a small group of guests decided to take themselves off to a restaurant and for that they were denied boarding. It’s reassuring to know the cruise line is taking it very seriously.
The lockdown implemented in India as a result of Covid-19 created a humanitarian crisis overnight, with millions of day labourers and migrant workers suddenly trapped with no resources or income. Many fear starvation above contracting the virus. Prints for India is a limited-time photographic print sale showcasing work shot in India by a diverse collective of photographers. The initiative has been set up by Sam and four friends who met on a photography workshop in India, and aims to raise funds to aid some of those in India hit hardest by the virus. For more details on this initiative go to http://www.printsforindia.com
Eric Yves Garcia is a New York based singer, pianist, writer and actor. The Wall Street Journal described his shows as “... Incredibly moving and very funny—often both at the same time." He's performed his cabaret in New York, London, Paris and beyond. We talk about how we are coping with the Coronavirus and how to make the most of the time at home.
The Make A Difference Trust (trading as TheatreMAD) was founded in 2008 by Melanie Tranter, David Pendlebury and Julian Bird, establishing the first official stand-alone Charity to coordinate the theatre community’s fundraising and grant making for HIV and AIDS. In recognition of the theatre industry’s long term fundraising efforts, MAD set up The Make A Difference Trust Hardship Fund to support people in the theatre industry affected by long term chronic illness. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Ventriloquist Gary Hunter talk about Covid on cruise ships. He’s been performing professionally since 1975, when he boarded his first cruise ship in the port of Miami. Hundreds of cruises later with stops in over 165 countries he has visited some of the most famous sites in the world, all because he "Works with Dummies". In 2014, he was voted Best Cruise Director by Porthole Cruise Magazine.
West End star Jacqui Scott on the impact Covid 19 on entertainers and especially cruise ships. At the age of fifteen Jacqui Scott became the youngest winner of the first ever BBC talent show Rising Stars. This led to her own series for the BBC, performances for the Royal Family including three televised Royal Variety Performances in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Princess Margaret. She has a regular slot on BBC Radio 2's Friday Night is Music Night and has starred in the West End playing the leading roles of Ellen in Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Grizabella in Cats - both on tour and at the New London Theatre, and Eva Peron in Evita. Other theatre credits include Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Misérables and Nunsense.
Theatre Digs Booker founder Phil Barley on the impact of Covid 19. After working as an actor in musical theatre productions like Beauty and the Beast, Singin’ in the Rain, and The Rat Pack, Phil Barley founded TheatreDigsBooker.com - the UK’s number one Theatre Accommodation website.
Juggler Pete Matthews talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Widely recognised as the UK’s Premier Comedy Juggler, Pete’s early career kick started in 1990 with TV appearances on “Barrymore” and “You Bet!” He blends high energy comedy and technical skill to create an unforgettable show. Saying Pete Matthews is just another juggler is like saying London is just another city!
Photographer Ian Weldon talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. He has made his name as a wedding photographer – but in a very particular style, breaking traditions by employing his discipline as a documentary photographer. In 2019 he had a solo exhibition at the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol, where his work is also now held in the permanent collection.
Singer Carl Draper talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Carl is a singer-songwriter based in New York. Theatre credits include Kiss Me Kate (Shakespeare Theatre Company), Oklahoma! (Paramount Theatre Aurora), Carousel (Lyric Opera of Chicago), West Side Story (Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace) and a soloist for Crystal Cruises.
Photographer Verity Fitzgerald talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Verity is a commercial photographer based in cape town, focusing on advertising and lifestyle, working on TV commercials to feature films. Past clients include: Nestlé, Garnier (Russia), Zurich Insurance (UK), GlaxoSmithKline/GSK (Global) and Sony Pictures (USA).
Singer Glenn Macnamara talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Scottish born Glenn Macnamara has performed in front of royalty at Hampton Court Palace, sung at The Dorchester and Savoy hotels, Ronnie Scott's and Birdland Jazz Club in New York. He has shared a stage with Sinatra’s guitarist Lino Patruno and toured in a Rat pack tribute show.
Producer Mark Halliday talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. I first met Mark on tour with The Rat Pack. After a stint in the West End's Jersey Boys, he carved out a new career as a producer of shows. Now, his company presents 100s of shows every day including tributes to Dusty Springfield, Michael Bublé, Abba, a disco show and many more.
Vocal coach Richard Halton talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Richard has played the title role in The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London and Ravenal in Showboat, which he performed for nearly two years on national tour and twice at The London Palladium. He now works with his wife, Julie, teaching a variety of singers on a one-to-one basis as well as directing choirs and musicals.
Producer Libby Battaglia talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Libby was one of the first agents to book me for large cruise ships. Nowadays she creates and produces remarkable public art projects by collaborating with some of the world's leading lighting designers, engineers, programmers, mathematicians, film-makers and more. If you're on the south coast of the UK you may have seen her work in the annual “Light Up Poole” event.
Fixer and journalist Ravi Mishra talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Ravi's clients include National Geographic, The New York Times, TIME, APT (American Public Television), NBC Universal, Channel 4, Vice on HBO, Al Jazeera, Der Spiegel, Getty Images, Associated Press, The Sydney Morning Herald, and more.
Stride pianist Judy Carmichael talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Judy is a Grammy nominated American jazz pianist who hosts her own nationally syndicated radio show in the States. The London Times called her “a player of extraordinary accomplishment who has made stride piano relevant again” and the New York Times declared her “astounding, flawless and captivating.” She's met legends like Sinatra, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan and Antonio Carlos Jobim, to name a few.
Singer, comedian, actor Allan Stewart talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Allan has appeared in numerous pantomimes throughout the UK but for the last 20 years he has topped the bill in pantomime at the Kings Theatre Edinburgh. He performed lead roles in the West End and on TV he has appeared in two Royal Variety Shows before the Queen and Prince Phillip, hosted Chain Letters quiz show for Tyne Tees, four LWT series of Copy Cats and his own shows for Scottish television.
Magician Hector Ruiz talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Hector has performed on numerous TV shows, such as “Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde” (Paris,France), “O domingao do Faustao” (Brazil) and “Penn and Teller’s Fool Us!” (Las Vegas, USA). When not on TV, he brings his beautiful show with its jaw-dropping illusions to theatres and cruise ships all over the world, and tours with international magic productions, such as “The Illusionists, Live from Broadway”.
Producer Justin Stucey talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. An adventure-filled career path has led Event Producer Justin Stucey around the globe to learn and work with organisations like Santa Fe Opera, MTV, Princess Cruises, BMW Americas and more.
Comedian Brian Conley talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Over his 40 year career Brian has presented the Royal Variety Performance eight times, starred in multiple award-winning television sitcoms and in the West End, he has played the lead role in musicals such as Me and My Girl, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Hairspray, Oliver!, The Music Man, Barnum and Jolson for which he was nominated for a prestigious Laurence Olivier Award.
Singer songwriter Jon Nickoll talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Jon went from busking on street-corners to being the youngest ever resident musician at The Savoy Hotel. He's a singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist. He's made countless radio, TV and film appearances. He's performed for President Bill Clinton, hung out with Sex Pistols, sung with Amy Winehouse and Paul McCartney and has been pelted with peanuts by the Royal Family.