Guest Blog by Sally Edmondson
If I could pick one word to describe Nikki Marett-Gregory it would be tenacious. Dogged determination. Call it what you will but when you have a very strong belief in something that you have created, you will never let it go and you will succeed. Writer, producer and director Nikki is one such person who has stayed strong in her belief that one day she would take her show on the road.
Our paths first crossed in Jersey, Channel Islands around 2006, when I was blogging about, as well promoting, upcoming artists and bands @edm4music. Nikki, who can also add singer to her CV, turned up at an impromptu gig I had arranged for some of the artists under my wing. I added her to the line up and she delighted the audience with a few Jazz and Swing numbers before we sat down and had a chat over a glass of wine.
Nikki had come up with the idea and was working on the script for a new musical called Next! So You Want The Part? A savvy story about a group of women, or should I say Divas? Who are auditioning for the part of the leading lady in a new musical called All My Life Here, Now.
She was looking for local composers to work with and at the time, I was also trying to promote my own music that I hadn’t got the balls to go out and perform myself, so it was a no brainer for me. I told her she could have the pick of my back (front and sideways) catalogue, as well as offering to write new material exclusively for the show. I thought it was such a brilliant concept and more than just a little pissed off that I hadn’t come up with the idea myself.
In Act I the audience is treated to the banter between the women who are jostling for the leading lady role, as well as to an insight into their personal lives through the music. The story builds in Act II played out through the audition process. There is humour, poignancy and the twist is that the audience are invited to vote for the actress who plays the part of the leading lady for that particular performance.
In 2008 Nikki pulled it off and the show ran for 5 nights at Jersey’s Opera House, with amateur cast and nominal funding. It was no mean feat.
It was a privilege to be a part of it all.
Not content with that, 5 years later Nikki had written, produced and presented the follow up show What Next? All My Life Here Now which ran for 6 nights in 2013.
Nikki never gave up on the idea of taking Next? So You Want The Part? on the road and, finally, Nikki’s perseverance and dogged determination is about to pay off.
Last year she had the good fortune of meeting Rick Wild, the lead singer of the Overlanders. The Overlanders toured with The Beatles in The Sixties and they recorded and had a hit with the Lennon and McCartney song Michelle in 1966. Rick still pursues a career as a singer-songwriter, but he has also taken up acting and is a Radio DJ – http://www.hd1radio.co.uk – The Hitman, which he manages fit in around his post as CEO @ Stars Unite fundraising for Help for Heroes. Rick was also very taken with the concept of Next! So You Want The Part and is now Nikki’s manager, as well as Musical Director for Next! So You Want The Part?
With Rick on the bandwagon and the support of his many contacts within the entertainment industry, including The Leeds College of Music and the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddesfield and the Ipm Acting Academy in Leeds Next! So You Want The Part? will start a run of three nights at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax 9th, 10th and 11th October 2016, which, hopefully, will be the springboard from where the show will start a national tour.
Auditions will start shortly after Easter and we will update you here in due course. In the meantime, you can contact Nikki @ [email protected]
Nikki and Rick have been giving radio interviews in the Badford area and it is hoped that there may also be some television coverage leading up to the first night of the show in Halifax, Next! Star to assist the audition process and find the 7 actresses who are vying for the part of the leading lady and who sing in 7 different genres and Next! Song to encourage local composers to submit their work for inclusion in the show.
We wish Nikki and Rick all success with the Next! project.
As Nikki would say.
Overall … I want people to love the music, to feel close to the characters with all their faults and I want them to come back to see which actress got the part again and again and again …almost a reality show on stage!
Filed under: Entertainment, Expect the Unexpected, Motivation, Music, Musicals, Remarkable Women, Theatre Tagged: #promoman, Auditions for new musical, Hallifax, Harrogate, Huddesfield, IPM Acting Academy Leeds, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Leeds, Next! Song, Next! Star, Next? So You Want The Part?, Nikki Marret-Gregory, Rick Wild, The Overlanders, Victoria Theatre Halifax, What's Next? All My Life Here Now