A former Guilsborough School pupil has landed a role in a new musical which has recently opened in London.
Greg Coulson is not only a singer/songwriter, who has toured internationally with the band The Selector since he was 19, but this multi-talented 24-year-old can also play the piano, guitar, mandolin, drums and ukelele. And he does what he calls his “solo stuff”.
Hardly surprising then that he received a call up to audition for What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined which has revived more than 30 classic Bacharach tracks like Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, Walk On By, I Say A Little Prayer, What’s New Pussycat?, Magic Moments, What The World Needs Now Is Love and Arthur’s Theme for a 21st century audience.
“I was asked to audition for it way back in March but had a 25-date UK tour with The Selector,” says Greg. “I came backwards and forwards for the auditions and was sent over to New York for three weeks for rehearsals before coming back to London for more rehearsals before it opened in July.”
What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined is set to run until September 5 at The Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark, London.
Sunderland-born Greg is part of the ensemble cast which recreates the glorious Bacharach hits and is hoping the show will carry on into the West End afterwards.
“We did a mini performance in Trafalgar Square before the show opened and that went down really well,” he says. “We do everything as an ensemble cast. It is not a show which has a band in the pit. There are seven of us and everyone does everything. We are all multi-instrumental and it is a really talented bunch of people.
“It is great in terms that it is something different and another iron in my fire. It’s quite special to be involved in this show and really unique. It’s a very different process to the solo stuff I have been working on lately, which is r’n’b with a modern edge.”
The musical has been directed by Steven Hoggett, who choreographed the recent Tony award winning production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
“Working with Steven was incredibly full-on and intense,” says Greg. “And really physical. We would start at 8am with an hour’s warm-up and then rehearse until 6pm. It is a really physical performance and really important to stay focussed.
“So the rehearsals included yoga, cardio and stretching work. I knew I would have to be really fit for it with seven performances a week and that it was going to be intense.”
Greg says his solo music is inspired by lots of old blues artists like Steeleye Span along with people like Stevie Wonder and Ian Dury and the Blockheads. He was very familiar with Bacharach’s genius too . . . long before he wowed the crowds at this year’s Glastonbury Festival.
“I am a huge fan of Bacharach and have been since I was a kid,” he says. “You always hear his music in some shape or form from film to radio, quiz shows and he is one of the most profilic songwriters ever.
“I wouldn’t say I have a favourite Bacharach track though; there are so many amazing songs.”
He gets to sing two of them solo in the musical: I’ll Never Fall in Love Again and Windows of the World.
“The theme is through the years of Burt Bacharach; it’s a mish-mish of ages and I get to wear these amazing costumes which make me look like a 70s reject!”
Greg hasn’t moved down to London to pursue his stage musical career but instead is commuting daily from his Northampton town home, where he rents a place with his girlfriend, down to the capital.
“It is only a one-hour commute each way so it’s not too bad. Some of the cast live in London and it takes them that long to get to the theatre on the tube anyway, so it is swings and roundabouts.”
For tickets and bookings to see What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined, call 0207 378 1713 or visit www.menierchocolatefactory.com