VIDEO: ‘Forgotten’ Broadway musical comes to Sheffield for first performance in 60 years

A musical will receive its European premiere after being rediscovered by Sheffield University staff and students.

Dr Dominic McHugh, musicology lecturer, and Matthew Malone, a master’s student, have reconstructed Hazel Flagg after sorting through boxes of original musical material from the American Library of Congress.

Rehearsals of Hazel Flagg. Photograph by Winterfowl Photography

Rehearsals of Hazel Flagg. Photograph by Winterfowl Photography

The shows at the university’s Firth Hall, on Western Bank, will be the first performances to take place anywhere in the world in years.

They will feature an orchestra of 34 players from the student body, along with a cast of 20.

Howard Middleton, who appeared on the BBC’s Great British Bake Off, will be narrator for the concerts, which feature the complete score with excerpts from the script and a newly-written narration by Dr McHugh.

Dr McHugh, a world-leading expert on the Broadway musical who has produced the show, said: “We have been honoured to present Jule Styne’s wonderful musicals Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Subways are for Sleeping in the past couple of years and are thrilled to get the chance to breathe new life into another overlooked masterpiece.

“Hazel Flagg tells the story of someone who has to choose between fame and love – a moral tale about celebrity that continues to resonate in a time of media frenzy.”

The musical is based on James Street’s comedy film Nothing Sacred.

It had its debut on Broadway in February 1953 and, despite its successful composer and cast, closed that September after 189 performances.

Mr Malone, who will be conductor, said: “It’s such an honour to revisit this wonderful score.

“To work alongside Howard, Dominic and the other students has been a memorable experience, and I’m so grateful the university of Sheffield gives us exciting opportunities such as this.”

A talk by Dr McHugh and Mr Malone takes place before Tuesday’s show at 6.30pm.

Tickets are now on sale, priced £10, £7 for staff and over 65s and £4 for students.

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