Hello and welcome to my website. I am a writer, composer and teacher, with extensive experience of actor-musicianship as a performer, composer and musical supervisor.
I studied English Literature at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (MA Hons Cantab), before training as a performer and voice teacher at the Royal Academy of Music in London (ARAM, LRAM).
From early 2013 I researched and developed a musical based on the life of the maverick theatre director Joan Littlewood. Produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and directed by Erica Whyman, Miss Littlewood premièred at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, in June 2018. See my News page for more updates. The script is published by Samuel French, and the cast recording available from the RSC shop, on iTunes and on Spotify.
Early on in my performing career I performed in two plays directed by Erica Whyman - Les Justes & Ion - both during her time at the Gate Theatre. More recently we collaborated together on a series of projects during her time at Northern Stage in Newcastle. For Oh What a Lovely War (Northern Stage and National Tour, 2010), I wrote brand new arrangements and we directed the piece together; for The Glass Slipper I wrote additional lyrics (alongside Stephen Sharkey), and composed the music. For Close the Coalhouse Door (Northern Stage and National Tour, 2012, directed by Samuel West and recorded for BBC Radio 4) I was Musical Supervisor, and for The Borrowers (Northern Stage, 2012), I wrote music and lyrics. In December 2014 I provided music and additional lyrics for Phil Porter's new play, The Christmas Truce, directed by Erica at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and in 2016 I wrote the score for her production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, also at the RSC. The album is available on iTunes, or CD from the RSC shop.
My collaboration with Tom Morris dates from his time at the Battersea Arts Centre, on such projects as Jerry Springer: The Opera, The Othello Music, and Macbeth. In 2010 he asked me to write the arrangements and orchestrations for Neil Hannon's new musical version of Swallows & Amazons, with additional arrangements by Andrew Skeet. In late-2011 we brought this production from the Bristol Old Vic into the West End prior to a National Tour in 2012.
in 2000 I was commissioned by the BBC to adapt Kurt Weill & Ira Gershwin's The Firebrand of Florence for the Kurt Weill Centenary. I replaced much of the original book with a rhyming couplet verse narration, delivered on the night by Simon Russell Beale. A live recording is available here from Capriccio Records.
I am the lyricist for the show Best Friends & Butterflies, written with Elliot Davis. The show won Best Musical for Young People and Best Composer at the Vivian Ellis Prize awards in 2000. The show is published by Faber, and you can click here for a link to Elliot's website, where you can hear our songs.
As a performer, I have worked extensively in the actor-musician mould, most notably on three shows with John Doyle: Sweeney Todd (West End, Tobias), Amadeus (Wilton's Music Hall, Emperor Joseph) and Merrily We Roll Along (Watermill, Frank). Other West End credits include the Young Vic/Sonia Friedman production of As You Like It, and Craig Revel Horwood's production of Sunset Boulevard (Comedy Theatre, Manfred). At the Chocolate Factory, I played Wilbur Wright in the premiere of Maltby & Shire's Take Flight. You can find the cast recording here. I also appear in the final episode of London Spy.
Thank you for visiting.
© 2020 by Sam Kenyon