MY FATHER'S SON 1
(Made in Sheffield)
Music by Stephen Keeling
Book and lyrics by Stephen Clark
Directed and ideas developed by Steven Dexter Commissioned and produced by Eileen Fawcett
Acclaimed musical set in the steel mills of nineteenth century Sheffield for a large cast
Watch the superb 1994 performance at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadler's Wells on YouTube. Click below
Set in the steel mills of nineteenth century Sheffield (a city built on seven hills like Rome), the story centres on the Eltham family particularly Sam, the eldest son and his mother Lizabeth. They are coming to terms with the tragic death of Lizabeth's husband Bill who was killed in his brother John’s mill. Despite the recent death of her husband Lizabeth is now about to marry John.
Sam hates his wealthy uncle, deploring the working conditions in the mill just as his father had done and he sees the marriage as a betrayal.
Then one night, while he is asleep, Sam dreams that John murdered Bill. Eventually forced to leave his home, family and his love Jenny, Sam must find a way to return. The tragic consequences are inevitable.
Alongside the main plot there is a humorous sub-plot involving Molly who wonders if Tom Blackwell will ever pluck up the courage to ask her out and if she will ever get married. The show also provides real insight into the history of the period with numbers such as ‘The Day That Goes Too Fast’ when the mill workers were granted a day out in the fresh air of the Derbyshire Hills.
Humour, history, love and tragedy are all combined in this powerful and critically acclaimed musical ideal for large theatre casts with adults and children. For a complete cast breakdown see page 3.
BACKGROUND TO THE SHOW
Loosely based on Hamlet “MY FATHER’S SON” (or “Made in Sheffield” as it was originally called) started out as an hour long musical written for Eileen Fawcett's Made In Sheffield Theatre Company in 1993, directed by Steven Dexter with book and lyrics by the late, great award-winning writer Stephen Clark (Martin Guerre, Zorro). By the time the show returned to the Sheffield Crucible Theatre in 1999, it had grown into a full-length, two act musical re-titled “MY FATHER'S SON". Along the way the show was performed at the Lilian Baylis Theatre Sadler's Wells, Sheffield City Hall, the Crucible Theatre and various other venues to acclaim. Each re-visit to the show always ensured new songs and scenes were added and a full-length demo was recorded in 1995 with leading West End performers. Several members of the original cast have gone on to highly successful careers in theatre and film including Rachael Wooding, Edward Hogg and Melissa Jacques. Rachael performed 'Run Where You Choose' (Jenny's Song) from the show at Stephen's memorial service. Recently Benjamin Froehlich recorded 'The Touch of Sunlight' (listen below).
Singers on the 1995 demo which you can hear via the link to SoundCloud: James Gillan, Hal Fowler, Joanna Riding, Lottie Mayor, Josie Walker, Jacqui Cryer, Anthony Drewe, Melissa Jacques,
Martin Posnit, Bernadette Keenan, Gregory Cross, Adam LeClaire.
Sam - James Gillan
Lizabeth - Joanna Riding
John - Hal Fowler
Jenny - Lottie Mayor
Flo - Josie Walker
Molly - Jacqui Cryer
"What Bernstein and Sondheim did for 'Romeo and Juliet' Clark and Keeling have done for 'Hamlet' - and, unlikely as it sounds, the result is electrifying."
(John Highfield, The Star)
"It is full of moving, intelligent songs that give you goose-bumps as an enthralling story unfolds."
(Louise Wilcoxon, Sheffield Telegraph)
“My Father’s Son” is a very strong piece with Stephen Clark’s excellent lyrics and Stephen Keeling’s beautiful music making a memorable evening” (Lynda Trapnell, Musical Stages)
"There are fervent songs about love, hate and revenge. With its surprises and jolting climaxes, there is no wonder this show continues to receive such a positive response."
(Dawn Jessop, Yorkshire Post)