Theatre fans, grab your diaries because the BBC have today announced that BBC Radio 2 and BBC One will be broadcasting a special show later this month to celebrate musical theatre while venues across the country are unable to open.
Musicals: The Greatest Show will be direct from the West End, the US and beyond and will feature a number of your favourite UK and international stars in a celebration of the nation’s favourite songs and performers from the world of musical theatre. And the best bit? It doesn’t stop there! Radio 2 Celebrates Musicals is a three-day event featuring the music of stage and screen for people to enjoy from the comfort of their own homes. The special programme includes songs from musical theatre and film across a whole day to further programming on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer.
Hosted on radio and television by multi-award winning performer Sheridan Smith, Musicals: The Greatest Show puts the songs, the shows, and the stars, back on stage at the world famous London Palladium. It will be broadcast from 7pm – 9pm on Sunday 31 January on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds, and as a 75-minute show in February on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. It will be available on BBC iPlayer for a year after broadcast.
The TV show also wants you, the public, to be part of the action too by making a video of themselves performing Any Dream Will Do from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat! By uploading footage via the website you’ll have the chance to be part of this very special moment on BBC One. Full details and terms and conditions are at bbc.co.uk/musicals
From Friday 29 January to Sunday 31 January, for Radio 2 Celebrates Musicals the station has lined up an incredible array of music, programmes and documentaries. On Friday between 5am to 7pm on Radio 2, each song broadcast will be one of the greatest ever songs from musical theatre and film, plus a national sing-a-long moment will take place in Zoe Ball’s Breakfast Show. There will be musical stars as guest presenters for Sounds Of The 60s, 70s, 80 and 90s, and on the Sunday multi-award winning star of musical theatre Elaine Paige (pictured centre) reveals the results of the listener vote to discover their favourite song from a musical, plus so much more across the three days.
Elaine Paige, Radio 2 presenter, says: “Musicals are such a huge part of my life, as they are for so many of my friends and colleagues, so to be unable to perform or go to the theatre for most of last year was devastating for us all. Radio 2 Celebrates Musicals is a way for us all to come together, to be uplifted and sing out loud to the world’s best show tunes.”
Sheridan Smith says: “I’m thrilled to be hosting this wonderful show from The London Palladium for Radio 2 and BBC One. With so many amazing performers we’re going to hopefully bring some joy to all those at home, with the best songs to help lift the spirits in these very difficult times.”
Helen Thomas, Head of Radio 2, says: “2020 left a gaping hole in the lives of musical theatre lovers with the shows being closed due to the pandemic. So instead, we’ll bring the musicals to listeners and viewers on Radio 2 and across BBC One, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds. I truly hope our programming will help to lift the spirits and capture the joy and elation that only these wonderful songs and performers can bring.”
Kate Phillips, Channel Controller, BBC One, says: “We’re delighted to be collaborating with Radio 2 to bring a fantastic array of talented artists to BBC One. Viewers will get the chance to see and hear many iconic songs from some of the best of musicals at a time when visiting theatres just isn’t possible.”
In Musicals: The Greatest Show, Sheridan will introduce some spectacular performances from West End and Broadway favourites. Check out some of the highlights below – some exclusively for the Radio 2 broadcast – include (and please note, plans are subject to change at short notice):
- Amanda Holden and Sheridan Smith perform I Know Him So Well, from Chess. The song, originally performed by Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson, reached Number 1 in the UK Pop Charts in 1985 remains the best-selling song by a female duo
- Nicole Scherzinger with Never Enough from The Greatest Showman – with her performance recorded in Los Angeles
- Exclusively for Radio 2, Josh Groban sings The Impossible Dream from Man Of La Mancha – with his vocal performance recorded in Los Angeles
- Exclusively for Radio 2, Elaine Paige with Sunset Boulevard’s As If We Never Said Goodbye. Elaine made her Broadway debut in Sunset Boulevard in 1996
- Gavin Spokes, from the West End production of Hamilton, performs You’ll Be Back
- Michael Ball performs You Can’t Stop The Beat from Hairspray
- Sheridan Smith performs Don’t Rain On My Parade from Funny Girl
- An exclusive first performance by Ivano Turco of Only You, Lonely You from Cinderella (which is due to open in London in this year).
- The cast of SIX The Musical performing SIX
- Ramin Karimloo sings The Music Of The Night from The Phantom Of The Opera
- Mazz Murray, Kate Graham and Jo Napthine perform Dancing Queen from MAMMA MIA!
- Aisha Jawando of the West End production of TINA, The Tina Turner Musical performs The Best
- Lea Salonga performs I Dreamed A Dream from Les Misérables – with her performance recorded in Manila
- Layton Williams of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie performs The Wall In My Head
- Sam Tutty sings You Will Be Found from Dear Evan Hansen, alongside members of the West End cast
- Nicole Raquel Dennis of Dreamgirls with And I Am Telling You
- Kerry Ellis sings Defying Gravity from Wicked
- Exclusively for Radio 2, Christine Allado and Alexia Khadime perform the Oscar-winning song When You Believe from The Prince Of Egypt
- Jac Yarrow, with the public, performing Any Dream Will Do from Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat
If you’d like to check out more theatre shows to enjoy online, check out our online calendar here. From live streams and online premieres to podcasts and quizzes, there’s plenty to keep you entertained.