If there's one thing a good actor learns it's the value of teamwork. Without FOH staff you have no audience, without the sound department you can't be heard, without lights you look pale and dull and without Musical Directors well, you have no show. All of these departments are intrinsic to a production and are full of wonderful friends.
In my little career, it has the been the Musical Directors who were the figurehead of a company. No disrespect intended to any directors - my career has been predominantly in musicals and as an ensemble much of your rehearsal week is spent sat with the MD.
I just want to add my tuppence worth to the worthy campaign of musical director Mike Dixon's against the omission of a music award in the WhatsOnStage Awards. Mark Shenton pointed that it's not just the online site but KEY members of a production team are still being omitted from The Oliviers and The Tonys.
So my tuppence worth reads like this-
The person who has made me feel most inspired and driven in this profession is Stephen Brooker. Any cast member of Les Miserables hangs upon his every word and baton wave. When he works with you, you're fizzing with energy and love for your craft. I've never felt anything like it and after his work on the film I am sure that Hugh Jackman et al would say the same. I love this man.
Martin Lowe has the same precise energy that gets a cast leaning forward and sweating with exertion. You feel honoured to bask in their skill for an afternoon.
One of the most influential people in my life has been Peter Roberts (any GSA alumni know who I mean) he is talent personified with laid back brilliance. Experiencing his precision, talent and generosity from the age of 8 led me into the real world and he is the first person I still go to for help. He can inspire children to adults, all from a piano stool whilst holding a ciggie and a glass of red!
Mark Shenton summed up why a musical director is so vital to the collaborative team,"they are there every night...." They are at the helm of a musical ship, leading us all every day with unwavering focus.
If people can't see their relevance, importance and brilliant-ness then you don't understand the business that they are commenting on.
Sign the petition here to have musical direction recognised at the WhatsOnStage Awards.