Michael has always loved the experience of seeing live theatre, especially musicals. This was much encouraged by his mum, who herself loves a good live show, and started when she took him to see a production of Camelot, which he loved for the first half and enjoyed sleeping through for the second half, but he was only about four years old!
From this start, it was no surprise at all that Michael should find himself playing in the orchestra pit to accompany shows, both professional ones with star names and for some of the local amateur dramatic and operatic societies, when they choose to have the luxury of a professional band to support them. When he was young, he became a great fan of the Black and White Minstrel TV Show, which he used to watch with his Grandmother, and it was the fabulous stage version of this show, at London’s Victoria Palace, which was the first West End show he saw. He was thrilled when in 1990, he was asked to play for The Minstrel Stars Summer Season at Eastbourne’s beautiful Royal Hippodrome Theatre and he relished every moment of working with the people he had so admired on television, including Bass Bob Hunter, Tenor Ted Darling and the King of the Mitchell Minstrels, Dai Francis.
The Minstrels have been a recurring theme for Michael, as he has gone on to work with them from time to time in other show and cabaret formats, even on a boat to Holland and back. More recently, they were the initial motivating force behind his involvement in the foundation of That’s Entertainment Productions, a company which went on tour productions to great acclaim throughout the UK. These have included a show they devised called Liberace – Live from Las Vegas starring the UK’s number one piano entertainer, Bobby Crush in the lead role, and children’s show, The Amazing World of Professor Nutty. In this time also Co-Produced and Michael worked as Musical Director for a major tour with Eurovision legend Dana. Their very first show was Memories of the Black and White Minstrels and this proved so successful that they devised a follow-up show called Music Music Music, both with the original stars and original glittering costumes from the Minstrel Show.
TEP went on to become a major provider of Summer Seasons and Pantomimes, so much so found he no longer had sufficient time available to devote to the good of the company whilst still continuing his own performing career, so after eight very enjoyable years, he has passed the reins on to a new team. In those eight years he and his business partner staged summer productions for the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne, the legendary North Pier Theatre in Blackpool, the Pier Theatre in Bournemouth, the Whitehall Theatre, Dundee and for three consecutive years, the West Cliff Theatre, Clacton. Michael has retained the Production of the Clacton Summer Show and looks forward to many more successful seasons there
Michael has played for dozens of shows. Past titles have included Chess, Carousel, My Fair Lady, Annie, Fiddler on the Roof, Cinderella, It’s A Swing Thing, Guys and Dolls, Glitz, Half a Sixpence, Call Me Madam, Hans Anderson, Annie Get Your Gun, A Christmas Carol, Babes in the Wood, Oklahoma, The Boy Friend, The Minstrel Stars, Kismet, The Wireless Years, As Happy as a Sandbag, Bugsy, Snow White, The Wizard of Oz, Melodytimes, We’ll Meet Again, Hello Dolly, The Will Rogers Follies - A Life In Review, Aladdin, Variety Startime, Variety Bandbox, Oliver and Blitz.
In rehearsal, he has played for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, The Sound of Music, and for an anniversary production of Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Sir Tim Rice’s very first musical, The Likes Of Us.
Over the years, Michael has accompanied opera singers from the Covent Garden Opera House and Germany, 50s Icon Wee Willie Harris, Comedians Jimmy Cricket, Syd Little and Stu Francis, vocal harmony group Original Blend, founder of the legendary Monarch’s Harmonica Group, Eric Yorke and many more.
If you are staging a show, cabaret or concert and require a first class accompanist or Musical Director, contact Michael now. When he works his magic, the audience will think you have a whole orchestra!