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Behind the scenes of Love Beyond The Musical – Rehearsals #2

The London cast of Love Beyond in rehearsals at The Backstage Centre, ThurrockWith a matter of weeks until the two live events at The SSE Arena Wembley, and cast rehearsals in full swing, you can already see what an exciting and uplifting experience Love Beyond will deliver for people coming to see the show on 1 & 2 October. We caught-up with some of the creative team and lead actor, Dave Willetts to get the inside-track on what’s been happening over the past few weeks at rehearsals...

Dave Willetts plays the part of ‘Father God’ in Love Beyond The MusicalMany aspects of the production will be familiar to those who saw the successful premiere performance last year, but as with any new musical, there are also lots of changes being made to enhance and improve the show. New songs, arrangements, storylines and scenes have been added, plus there are some exciting additions to the cast and creative team – so how is this affecting preparations now?

Love Beyond co-writer and director, Tabitha Webb at cast rehearsals in London“The show is developing beautifully with the creative team” responds the production’s co-writer and director, Tabitha Webb “there’s a real gelling and synergy between the music, drama and choreography – both the creative team and cast seem to be tuned onto the same wavelength in a really special way.”

Dougie Carter rehearsing the part of ‘Adam’ with Natalie Lipin who plays ‘Eve’ in Love Beyond

Peri Olufunwa who plays the role of ‘Satan’ pictured at cast rehearsals in London

J Marie Cooper plays the part of ‘Mary Magdalene’ in Love Beyond
The London cast of Love Beyond rehearsing for the Wembley shows

The first week was all about defining the key character expression and relationships with a limited number of the lead cast – while the second and third weeks are all about creating the big moments of the show with the entire 29-strong cast involved in every step of the process. Tabitha continues...

“We’ve been building some of the main scenes that hold the narrative in Act 2 in particular, so we’ve had the ensemble join us in addition to only a principal characters in week 1 – these new aspects of the story really help shape the overall arc of the narrative more fully. As we move through week 3, we’re now refining scenes, with the aim of progressing to full run throughs by the end of the week.”

Dougie Carter rehearsing the part of ‘Adam’ with Natalie Lipin who plays ‘Eve’ in Love BeyondChoreographer, Annette Aubrey-Bradshaw adds “Week 1 was all about establishing foundations for Act 1 working closely with the Trinity (Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit) and with Adam and Eve. We’re now expanding from that base... and laying down foundational movements and emotions for the rest of the cast, developing the thread of the story around each of the lead characters.”

The last 2 weeks of rehearsals are being staged at the world class Backstage Centre in Thurrock – recently used by the ‘Royal Opera House’, ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ and ‘Leona Lewis’ for production work. Executive Producer, Steve Kitchen comments “the sheer scale of the space, was a key factor given the unique size and shape of the stage design for Wembley – and when you consider the need to accommodate a 29-strong cast and 18-piece orchestra in one space for the Sitzprobe – it needs to be big!”

The London cast being briefed by the show's co-writer and director, Tabitha WebbWith all these changes, and less than 2 weeks for the entire cast to master a highly complex and challenging musical score, how are they finding the experience of being part of Love Beyond?

“Previous cast knew each other very well and it’s been great to see the new actors integrating very quickly and becoming part of the company.” comments Executive Producer Steve Kitchen

Paul Ayres plays the role of ‘Jesus’ in Love Beyond The Musical

Holly-Anna Lloyd plays ‘Mary Mother’ in Love Beyond The MusicalSteve continues...

“One of my highlights has been seeing members of the original cast hearing the new music and loving it – and seeing the new cast (especially those who have come from the likes of Les Mis and Phantom) experiencing the music for the first time and seeing their response to the quality, depth and emotional connection of the score. I can’t wait until they hear it with the orchestra as well!”

 The quality of the music, lyrics and production as a whole has definitely made a strong impression on lead actor and musical theatre veteran, Dave Willetts, who plays the role of ‘Father God’ in Love Beyond.

“The story is epic. The acting is epic. The music is epic. If I had to describe Love Beyond in one word it would be EPIC.”

Experience Love Beyond The Musical for yourself at The SSE Arena Wembley (Wembley Arena) on 1 & 2 October 2014. Click here for booking information.

Production photography by Matt Davis

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