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Another theatre-orientated Garland this time. First a few more names from the 1930s – little known names, really, as that era was dominated by such composers as Vivian Ellis, Waller and Tunbridge, Noel Coward and latterly Ivor Novello and Noel Gay. Harry Archer, lyricist and composer, was doubtless pleased that his Lucky Break had 198 West End performances in 1934-5, a lucky break indeed; his only other show I know of was Paradise Alley, part composed with Carli Carlton. Wainwright Morgan was a "singleton", The Laughing Cavalier, gorgeously staged but otherwise indifferent and achieving a mere 38 performances at the Adelphi in 1937; at least two of its songs, "You are Perfection" and the title number, were published, as were his two settings of Maori songs, See the Vessel Glide and Waita Hinemon.

Coming to post-war days the composing team of Ireland Cutter (also a director and lyricist) and Tommy Conner remained active for over twenty years but none of their shows reached the West End; Jane Rose (1948) was toured, Cowboy Casanova graced the boards at Stratford East for a week in 1950, A Portrait of Dorian Gray was announced in 1967 but not produced, while Mayflower was appropriately, though briefly, produced at Plymouth in 1970. Tommie Connor (sic), credited with a large number of music-hall songs, some with collaborators, is possibly not the same man as Ireland Cutter’s partner. Eve Lynd’s Cage Me A Peacock (1948, 337 performances at the Strand and Cambridge Theatres) is worth a mention as being the first full-scale West End show by a woman since Liza Lehman’s Sergeant Brue forty years before; its numbers included "Time Alone Will Tell", "Hey Ding-a-Ding-Dong", "Hocus Pocus" and the title song. This show appears to be Lynd’s one big moment.

We close with two figures associated with the present-day company Opera della Luna. Its artistic director/musical director Jeff Clark is credited with music for stage productions such as Cider With Rosie, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and, most recently, The History of Tom Jones. Actor/singer/musician Kieran Buckeridge has composed music for Passport to Spanish and for a performance of Cinderella at Deptford in 1999.

Philip L. Scowcroft

October 2000

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Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is currently out of print.

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