The BFI Musicals season is rushing towards its show stopping finale, and with January usually being a little bit grey, now seems the perfect time to delve into this brash and colourful season if you haven’t already. We’ve highlighted five key Midlands locations below, each of them offering completely different takes on the cinematic musical, from Hollywood to Bollywood via Russia and Japan.
An embarrassment of toe-tapping riches for Northampton-ites, including Vincente Minnelli’s groundbreaking Cabin In The Sky (Jan 12) with live singing from the Royal & Derngate community choir, 1935 gender-bending musical First A Girl (Jan 27) - including a live fashion show celebrating the film’s influential garments - and a rare screening of Japanese musical Singing Lovebirds (Jan 30). The cinema’s foyer will also be transformed into the land of Oz in late January for two screenings of The Wizard of Oz (Jan 25 & 28), the latter date a dementia friendly event.
Light House, Wolverhampton
The Black Country’s only independent cinema is bringing out the big hitters for January, including Singin’ In The Rain (Jan 13), Little Shop Of Horrors (Jan 17), Moulin Rouge (Jan 18) and West Side Story (Jan 21). They’re also raising funds for the cinema with a singalong screening of Grease on Jan 10.
Fred Astaire classic Top Hat gets a dementia friendly screening on Jan 14, Ken Russell’s pinball rock musical Tommy bursts out on Jan 30, and you can sing ‘whip crack away’ to your heart’s content on Jan 29 thanks to a singalong showing of Calamity Jane, complete with a pre-film barn dance. The main event takes place on Jan 24 though, as the Courtyard team relocate to Hereford Cathedral for a singalong screening of The Sound Of Music, including prizes for the finest fancy dress.
As befits their year round commitment to screening foreign language titles, Nottingham Broadway’s selections for the season all come from Russia - Soviet satire Carnival Nights (Jan 5), Shostakovich adaptation Cheryomushki (Jan 12), Valery Todorovsky’s rock-infused Hipsters (Jan 19) and this year’s critical hit Leto (Jan 26).
Leicester’s Phoenix presents A Season of Bollywood Musicals this month, giving audiences the chance to sample recent hit Dil Dhadakne Do (Jan 5), grunge rock drama Rock On!! (Jan 12), 2006 action thriller Don (Jan 19) and very loose King Lear adaptation Life Goes On (Jan 29), with director Sangeeta Datta in attendance. The season culminates on Jan 31 with a visit from Bollywood legend Javed Akhtar on his 75th birthday, who’ll be chatting all things musical before a screening of his late 80s effort Mr. India. A Season of Bollywood Musicals also screening at The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.