Tom Boyd's musical
TOM SAWYER
Tom Boyd's Tom Sawyer will next be performed at the New London Barn Playhouse, New Hampshire, USA in June, 2013.
NB: Not to be confused with a "Broadway" musical called 'The adventures of Tom Sawyer' by Don Schlitz which made a brief appearance at the Minskoff Theatre in 2001. After a fairly unfavourable review in The New York Times which was critical of the score and pronounced the show 'tame, muddled and torn' it closed after 21 performances.
History and Pedigree

1956

The book, music and lyrics were written by Tom Boyd, an American student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. The musical was first produced at the college under the title We're from Missouri

The British press 1956

"He [Tom Boyd] has followed the original closely, his instinct for theatrical situation is strong...his lyrics grow naturally from their context...his melodies are well defined, even when chromatic." (The Times)

"The book is well adapted...the music is gay, light-hearted...his grasp of his subject is assured". (The Stage)

"a considerable achievement... the music throughout was pleasing and should attract interest in places where musicals are dealt in and one hopes Mr Boyd's work will become known". (Theatre World)

1960

Retitled TOM SAWYER, Tom Boyd's musical was produced with a professional cast as the Christmas show at Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop, Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London in 1960, and toured southern England 1961

The British press 1960

"An excellent musical" (The Financial Times)

"A loyal and lively version of Tom Sawyer..." (Kenneth Tynan in The Observer)

"Tom Sawyer is a driving colourful show full of sturdy vitality and sharp satire." (The Stage)

1962

A major West End production of Tom Boyd's Tom Sawyer was planned, to star the young pop idol Adam Faith as Tom Sawyer and chirpy cockney singer Joe Brown as Huckleberry Finn, when both boys were at the peak of their popularity and fame. Adam Faith's biography reports he was: "in line for the title role in a forth-coming West-End musical, Tom Sawyer, written & scored by Tom Boyd... however, shortly after he returned [from the USA], the production of Tom Sawyer was postponed indefinitely due to the lack of a suitable theatre in London".

Adam Faith and Joe Brown, in line for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, 1962

Disappointed and disheartened, Tom Boyd put his musical away in a drawer, where it lay dormant for the next 48 years until Maria Jagusz, director of the youth theatre group MJ-UK, staged a revival with performances in Gloucestershire, England in 2010, the centenary of Mark Twain's death.

It is now available for further productions by schools, community theatres and musical societies.

Licensing agents: belcanto.opera@btinternet.com

2010

PERFORMANCES 23rd AND 24th APRIL, 2010 in the POULTON VILLAGE HALL

and 13th JUNE in the BARN THEATRE, CIRENCESTER

"Any musical show which has the name Tom Boyd or Maria Jagusz in the programme is always destined to be a treat. To have both Tom and Maria collaborating in one production is a heady mix indeed. It was a cracking success with great music and lyrics.... this marvellous show". Di Alexander - The Wilts and Gloucestershire STANDARD (June 2010)
"There is surely no better way of celebrating Mark Twain's centenary than with a revival of Tom Boyd's musical "xxRoger Jones - the Gloucestershire ECHO (July 2010)

click here for full review

A SAMPLER OF THE SONGS

To see complete versions of the musical numbers on Youtube clips, click here

Act onexxxxxxxxxxxxAct two

Copies of book & lyrics available - UK £4.90 /USA. $7.90 + p & p

belcanto.opera@btinternet.com

The principal characters

Dan

TOM SAWYER - Dan Holley

 

BECKY THATCHER - Jenny Webster

HUCKLEBERRY FINN - Nic Sims

AUNT POLLY - Maria Jagusz

 

MUFF POTTER -Paul Bradley

WIDDER DOUGLAS - Aileen Anderson

 

JOE HARPER - Alex Fobbester

 

JEFF THATCHER - Josh Thomas

GRACIE MILLER - Lauren Humphries

SID SAWYER - Ollie Humphries

INJUN JOE - Rupert Irving

Scenes from the 2010 production

 

v

 

below THE FULL CAST WITH MUSICIANS AND COMPOSER, TOM BOYD (centre) Injun Joe

 

all photos by Nik Sheppard

Review of Tom Sawyer in the Wilts and Gloucestershire STANDARD, 10 June 2010

Review of Tom Sawyer in the Gloucestershire ECHO, 15 June 2010

Twain's death marked by musical

THE characters of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn have enchanted children for generations, and there is surely no better way of celebrating Mark Twain's centenary than with a revival of Tom Boyd's musical based on his most popular book.

Tom Sawyer, the musical, received its first professional performance at Joan Littlewood's Theatre Royal in Stratford 50 years ago, yet it has the same ageless quality as that classic coming-of-age novel and has worn well.

The production, while not exactly lavish, is strong on atmosphere, thanks to projected scenes of old Missouri and some plausible American accents from the predominantly young cast. A Midwesterner himself, Tom Boyd paints life in small town America with affection and ring of authenticity.

Dan Holley acquits himself superbly in title role confronting dilemmas and gaining in maturity along the way. He is equalled by Nic Sims as Huck Finn, whose free spirit is eventally harnessed by the Widder Douglas, nicely played by Aileen Anderson. Love interest is provided by Jenny Webster as Tom's girl friend Becky. The chemistry between the pair of them works wonderfully well. However, danger lurks below the surface in the guise of Injun Joe, played by a sinister-looking Rupert Irving.

The supporting cast are excellent. Paul Bradley effects the transformation of MuffPotter from drunkard to pillar of society with great panache, LaurenHumphries is hilarious as Gracie desperate to find a boyfriend and olderpeople will empathise with Tom's long- suffering Aunt Polly played by MariaJagusz, who also directs this delightfully natural and well-paced production.

Roger Jones

 

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