Follow Us on Twitter

The Great British Musicals - in Concert

Nicholas Parsons

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING the critically acclaimed sold-out concert, Ivor Novello – The Great British Musical, award-winning Musical Director Ross Leadbeater returns to the St. James Theatre with The Great British Musicals – in Concert.

Celebrating the very best of British musicals, including works by Gilbert and Sullivan, Lionel Monckton, Vivien Ellis, Noel Coward, Ivor Novello, Lionel Bart, Leslie Bricusse and Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Great British Musicals – in Concert plays three performances on Friday, July 4 and Saturday, July 5, 2014.

The Great British Musicals – in Concert is narrated by BBC Radio 4 Just A Minute host Nicholas Parsons (Friday and Saturday evening) and stage and screen legend Simon Callow (Saturday matinee), and features The Novello Singers.

A newly established eight-voice musical theatre ensemble, The Novello Singers include West End performers Rhidian Marc (Les Miserables), Annatt Bass (The Phantom of the Opera) Leigh Rhiannon Coggins, (The Pirates of Penzance), Matthew Crowe (South Pacific), Jonathan Broad (West End Men), Lydia Jenkins (Iolanthe) and Victoria Humphreys (The Bakewell Bakeoff).

The Great British Musicals – in Concert also features a special First World War centenary tribute to Ivor Novello’s 1914 composition Keep the Home Fires Burning.

Nicholas Parsons has worked in every branch of show business, including starring roles in the musicals Into the Woods, The Rocky Horror Show and Charlie Girl. A serious actor and comedian, he has performed solo cabaret work and stand-up comedy around the world, including the Edinburgh Festival – where he has appeared for nine years presenting three different shows.

He became a household name in Britain as straight man to comedian Arthur Haynes in the early 1960s, topping the comedy ratings for ITV for 10 years. He hosted the amazingly successful Sale of the Century for 14 years, and has hosted BBC Radio 4’s Just a Minute for 45 years. His starring roles in the West End include Boeing-Boeing, Say Who You Are and Uproar in the House.

Simon Callow

Simon Callow is an actor, author and director. He joined the National Theatre in 1979, where he created the role of Mozart in Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus. He has appeared in many films and TV dramas, including A Room with a View, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Shakespeare in Love, The Phantom of the Opera and Dr Who. He directed Shirley Valentine in the West End and on Broadway, Single Spies at the National Theatre and Carmen Jones at the Old Vic, as well as the film The Ballad of the Sad Café.

His many one-man shows include Inside Wagner’s Head (Royal Opera House) and The Mystery of Charles Dickens, Being Shakespeare and A Christmas Carol (West End). He has written acclaimed biographies of Oscar Wilde, Orson Welles and Charles Laughton; his autobiographical book, My Life in Pieces, won the Sheridan Morley Award; and his most recent book, Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World, was published in 2012.

Produced by Ross Leadbeater in association with St. James Theatre Productions, The Great British Musicals – in Concert has lighting by Jon Winn and graphic design by Jon Dawkins. Movement Director is Philip Joel. Further special West End guests will be announced.

Tickets: £20, £25, £30, £35 (premium). To book, call the box office on 0844 264 2140, e-mail or visit

Times: July 4 and 5 at 7.30pm (hosted by Nicholas Parsons); July 5 at 2.30pm (hosted by Simon Callow).