Since 2009, John Wilson and his hand-picked, high-octane orchestra have brought a formidable line-up of today’s vocal stars to the BBC Proms, bringing glitz and glamour of old-time stage and screen to our stage, and fast-becoming a regular seasonal highlight of the progamme.
2009: A Celebration of Classic MGM Film Musicals
In 2009, the John Wilson Orchestra made their Proms debut with A Celebration of Classic MGM Film Musicals. Including Proms premieres of songs from Cole Porter’s High Society, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Wizard of Oz and Singin’ in the Rain, the concert featured baritone Sir Thomas Allen, Hollywood actor Seth MacFarlane, and Kim Criswell.
2010: Richard Rodgers
One year later John Wilson returned to celebrate Richard Rodgers – the Broadway musicals composer best known for his songwriting partnerships with the lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein. The programme celebrated musicals including Oklahoma!, South Pacific, The King & I and The Sound of Music, with vocalists including Julian Ovenden, Rod Gilfry and Kim Criswell.
2011: Hooray for Hollywood!
Paying homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood film musicals, the John Wilson Orchestra took us from the dawn of the talkies and the birth of the movie musical through to the 1960s, with singers including Annalene Beechey, Matthew Ford and Clare Teal.
2012: My Fair Lady and The Broadway Sound
In 2012, John Wilson and his orchestra returned for two incredible BBC Proms concerts. The first, an all-star recreation of a complete musical – Broadway classic, Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady. The second, a tribute to the composers and arrangers responsible for creating the Broadway Sound – among them such legendary tunesmiths Cole Porter (Kiss Me Kate), George Gershwin (Funny Face, Porgy and Bess), and Frank Loesser (Guys and Dolls).
2013: Hollywood Rhapsody Prom
This year Wilson aimed to celebrate ‘unsung’ Hollywood film scores as well as a medley of theme songs from otherwise non-musical movies.
2014: Kiss Me, Kate
Following the enormous success of the staged performance of My Fair Lady in 2012, John Wilson returned with Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate in its original 1948 arrangements, joined by a cast including Ben Davis, Alexandra Silber, Tony Yazbeck and Louise Dearman.
2015: Frank Sinatra and Bernstein – Stage & Screen
Back for two more concerts in 2015, John Wilson first celebrated the centenary of gifted entertainer, screen actor and ubiquitous personality Frank Sinatra in a Late Night Proms concert featuring Seth MacFarlane, West-End star Jamie Parker and Claire Martin.
Their second concert paid homage to America’s multitalented conductor, pianist and composer Leonard Bernstein with a mixture of Bernstein’s biggest hits as well as a selection of rarities, performed by Julian Ovenden, Louise Dearman, Lucy Schaufer and Scarlett Strallen.