Deeside delight for West End director
DEESIDE has been harbouring a long-kept theatrical secret ... a West End director has been living at Dinnet.
Now Tommy Baxter is all set to break on to the stage in Aboyne with his first production for Deeside Musical Society, the musical Honk! Tommy’s passion for theatre began when he worked as head guide at Glamis Castle and after three years there he left for London with his partner Neil. Tommy said he “wormed his way into Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group”, becoming general manager of the Adelphi Theatre. He spent the next 20 years working among some of the most famous West End producers, directors, casting directors and stars such as Elaine Paige, Chita Rivera, Jerry Lewis and Alex Hanson Tommy said: “I loved being at the casting meetings, learning to look for different qualities in an actor or actress. “One of my most enjoyable times was working with the American producers of the musical Chicago, which is now in its 12th year in London. They were so open and accommodating, and I learned a lot from them.” Tommy also had his own production company called Sing Out Louise Productions Ltd, named from one of Tommy’s favourite musicals Gypsy, and produced the show London Rocks which ended up at the Adelphi. He also staged the play Misery, which went on a national tour starring Leslie Grantham (Dirty Den in EastEnders), and ran workshops with all-star West End casts. Tommy and Neil finally made the decision to leave London after 20 years, and move nearer their parents. But the theatre found him again – in the form of the Dinnet pantomime. Tommy said: “Having said those famous words ‘Never again’, we were approached by the Dinnet Hall committee to produce and direct a pantomime to raise funds for the hall. Now, after two successful pantos, we are currently writing the next one.” Tommy was then approached by the Deeside Musical Society to take over as director for the musical Honk! – a modern retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling and described as a “quintessentially British musical”. Tommy said: “Honk! is a marvellous show with a wonderful score.” Honk! runs at Aboyne Theatre from May 25 to May 28.