Copacabana: Life is going to be a beach at Harlow Playhouse!

By Matt Critchell

THE fabulous Copacabana stage show opens at the Harlow Playhouse on Thursday October 2nd. The Barry Manilow inspired story of romance and stardom is loved by audiences from the UK to the US and now comes to Harlow, straight from the West End.

As expected, this is an incredibly exciting time for the Playhouse, and rehearsals are more than under way, with just a week until opening night. We visited the theatre to speak with the cast and directors to see how the show was coming along.

YH spoke to Jon Lee, who plays a central character in the production; you might recognize him from the pop group S Club 7. After a fantastic career in pop music Jon has taken to the stage.

When asked how rehearsals were coming along, he said “They’re good! There’s a lot to take in, but I think it’s always good to have a challenge”. He added how the actors often learned different elements of the play, one at a time; “We spent the first week learning all of the music and then we spent last week putting it up on its feet and then reading through the scenes, and where we’re standing”.

Jon joked about how catchy the songs are, like plenty of Manilow’s material, and how he struggles to get the songs out of his head. “Songs are so catchy literally you lay in bed and you’ve just got the soundtrack on loop in your head”.

Jon spoke highly of working in the theatre, and how the Harlow Playhouse had welcomed him as part of what he called a great team. “I have to say this is one of the nicest companies I’ve ever worked with. One of the most supportive and one of the most creative companies that I’ve worked with. A really, really talented bunch and it’s a really happy family, it’s a really nice place to work”.

Keen for another point of view YH also spoke with Director, Thom Southerland. We asked him about changes made for this show, he told us that also it is the same story, about Lola, the showgirl, and there are plenty of changes to bring a new improved version.

“This is a completely new version of the script. This is a version that no one has ever seen before, it is brand new for this production and we’re really creating a new Copacabana. It’s great that the people in Harlow can come and see this new version of the show rather than something people might have seen before.

Thom Sunderland then went on to explain what is different this time around. He spoke about how he wanted to make it more relevant to today, but the basics had to stay the same. “It’s still Lola, she’s still a showgirl, and she still meets Tony who is the love of her life. It’s still the really good old fashioned wonderful show that everybody knows and loves we just felt that for this production we just wanted to create something that was more up to date”.

For full details of the show go to www.playhouseharlow.co.uk

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