© Downfield MusicalSociety 2007
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The 1990s was the decade of DMS “on the move” this time with their productions! It was the start of their relationship with the Waterford International Festival of Light Opera in the Republic of Ireland and culminated with being part of the NODA centenary celebrations in London appearing on arguable one of the most prestigious venues in the world….. The Royal Albert Hall.
The first visit to the Emerald Isle was in 1993. The production was “Godspell”. Before the visit the Society had presented the show in the Bonar Hall (where they first produced it back in 1982) and then prior to leaving for Ireland again for a short run in the Whitehall Theatre. 54 members of the Society made trip by bus and ferry, sailing from Holyhead, and a successful fundraising effort ensured that the £13000 needed was achieved, It was an amazing experience. The visit was very successful and the Society returned with 3 awards for Best Post-war Production, Best Male Vocalist for Graeme Neil Smith in his portrayal as Jesus, and the Festival Runner-up Award. All the trophies and Waterford Glass awards were displayed in local jewellers, Mathew Henderson for the people of Dundee to see and enjoy.
Part of the fundraising was an unexpected £600 which the society won for the best float in the Dundee City 1993 Festival parade with their “Godspell” float.
In 1994 DMS presented world amateur premier of the Musical “Windy City” which they also took to Waterford. This was their second visit to the festival and the lessons learned from the previous helped to make the organisation a good bit easier. This time the company flew instead of taking the ferry which greatly reduced the travel time. The Society was delighted when the writer of the musical Tony Macaulay travelled with his family to be part of the Irish experience. (“Windy City” had its professional world premiere at the Bristol Hippodrome in June 1982 before opening in the West End on July 20 at the Victoria Palace, where it closed on February 26, 1983 after 250 performances. The cast included Dennis Waterman as Hildy Johnson, Anton Rodgers as Walter Burns, Amanda Redman as Esther Stone, Robert Longden as Earl Williams, Diane Langton as Mollie Malloy, and Victor Spinetti as poetic reporter Bensinger. ) It had its Amateur World Premier and UK premier in the Whitehall Theatre on Tuesday 6th September 1994 and its Irish premier in the theatre Royal Waterford on Friday 30th September 1994
Downfield also became the agents for the rights holders of “Windy City” and they still licence out productions of the show within the UK.
On 1995 DMS presented the Tayside premier of the circus spectacular show “Barnum”. The show ran for 10 performances in the Whitehall Theatre, which at that time was the longest run of any production by Downfield apart from Panto. (It has since been overtaken by “Beauty and the Beast” In 2010) It was an amazing success, with cast learning many circus skills and with a 24 feet high wire walk that people still talk about.
1997 saw DMS’s third visit of the 90s to Waterford to present “Me and My Girl”. Apart from the competitive element of the Festival relating to their production, Downfields reputation for cabaret was well known and they were invited to present the “Musical Cavalcade” on the final evening of the festival prior to the presentation of the awards. The show was broadcast on Irish radio and a packed audience greatly enjoyed the show.
This year (2012), 15 years later DMS have once again been invited to present final cabaret at the Theatre Royal, Waterford.
In 1999 as the decade came to a close, Downfield received the ultimate accolade to represent the Scottish Area of the National Operatic and Dramatic Association at their centenary celebrations in London. Downfield were asked to be part of a show in the Royal Albert Hall and give an 8 minute piece. The show called “Celebration” was compered by Bonnie Langford and Christopher Biggins with special guests Howard Keel and Cy Coleman. DMS’s contribution was called “Razzle Dazzle”. It was without doubt t the quickest eight minutes in their history but it was an experience and no- one involved will ever forget.
Another part of the centenary celebrations came to the City of Dundee where the Scottish Festival of Amateur Theatre held in the Whitehall Theatre.. Over 32 society representatives and 800 individuals were involved or appeared on stage over the week. Each evening had its own theme including a “Youth Showcase” “Grand Opera and Drama” “Light Opera” and “Musicals” etc. The DMS Clubrooms were used as the Festival Club after each evening’s performance.
In 1995, the Society were once again asked to present the Midnight Cabaret at Peebles Hotel Hydro. They also presented a cabaret at the Coylumbridge Hotel in Aviemore.
1999 also saw the start of their youth group who presented a sell out production of “Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in the Gardyne Theatre, Dundee
Other productions in the 90’s included “Annie get Your Gun”, and “42nd Street”.
In the 90’s the Society embarked on a group of variety type shows which they entitled “Showtime”, “Showtime - The Second Generation”, “Showtime - The Wedding”, and “Showtime - The Final Frontier”, which were all created and written by the DMS production team. These shows were based on a silly, but highly successful format, of a spaceship that travelled through time and space, and followed the antics of the crew, but specifically of Captain I. Mincharge and his assistant Pru Dential These shows ran for four years in that format and were very popular.
Around the mid nineties It was becoming very difficult to choose suitable and cost effective musicals so DMS revived the Showtime theme in 1998 after presenting a show called “Something Different” in 1996 where professional guests, George Duffus, Ian Lees and Eddie Rose joined them in variety.
It was also the decade where the number of shows each year increased to three when a more regular autumn production was added These included “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” (Which was repeated the following January) “Godspell” and “Windy City” which were transferred to Waterford, “Chess” and “Return to the Forbidden Planet” which was repeated the following February, and of course “Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”.
(Top Left) Roger Buist as Mayor Gruber and John Teppet as Bensinger (Above) Gillian Brown as Mollie Malloy and Ross McGill as Earl Williams. (Right) Gillian Brown as Mollie Malloy and Graeme Neil Smith as Hildy Johnson. ( Left) Duncan Robertson as Oakland, Kevin Kirby as Endicott, Brian Carr as McCue, Graeme Neil Smith as Hildy Johnson, Alastair Ogilvie as Schwartz, and Mike Lynch as Murphy. (Bottom Left) Gillian Brown as Mollie Malloy and Mike Lynch as Murphy in "Windy City" in 1994
(Top ) Laura Ferrie as Cinderella lauching the 1994 Christmas Stamps in Dundee
(Far Left ) Ewan McDyer as Barnum on the high wire (Left) Derdrie MacFarlance as Jenny Lind (Below) Lynn MacFarlane as Cherry Barnum and Ewan McDyer as PT Barnum (Bottom Left) Ewan McDyer as PT Barnum (Bottom Far Left) Ross McGill and Jennifer Storrier as Beafeaters with Steven Watt as Tom Thumb in "Barnum" in 1995
(Top) Lindsey McLean as Tommy the Cat (Bottom) Sinclair Ross as Alderman Fitzwarren (Right) Chorus members Leanne Fenwick, Debbie Htchison and Anne Mooney in "Dick Whittington" in 1995
(Below) The "Something Different" Mens Company in 1996
(Below) The "Something Different" Ladies Company (Left) The "Something Different" Dancers in 1996
(Above Left) Sinclair Ross as Alexander Molokov Lynn MacFarlane as Svetlana Sergievskaya (Left) Graeme Neil Smith as Frederick Trumper and Christine Howie as Florence Vassy (Right) Mike Lynch as Anatoly Sergievsky (Below) Four scenes for "Chess" in 1996
(Below) Roger Buist and Gloria Caird as Priscilla the Goose in "Mother Goose" in 1996
(Below) Ross McGill as The Wizard in "Mother Goose" in 1996
(Above Back Row) Ewan McDyer as Eggie, Ross McGill as The Wizard, Gillian Brown as Jessie, Lynn MacFarlkane as Jamie, Alastair Ogilvie as Poached, Roger Buist as Mother Goose, Gloria Caird as Priscilla the Goose (Above Front Row) Debbie Hutchison , Liusaidh Donnelley as Jenny, Lynn McLusky, Pamela Murray (Left) Alastair Ogilvie as Poached, and Pol Gowans as Fried (Right) Ewan McDyer as Eggie, Gillian Brown as Jessie, and Alastair Ogilvie as Poached in "Mother Goose" in 1996