• Scottish Chamber Orchestra on board for new concert version of Julian
Wagstaff’s musical John Paul Jones
• The musical tells the tale of the Scots-born revolutionary hero and
“father of the American Navy”
• Concerts to serve as a launch pad for a planned UK tour of the fully
Scottish composer Julian Wagstaff has announced two performances of a brand new concert version of his stage musical John Paul Jones, featuring musicians from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The concerts will take place in Edinburgh’s
Queen’s Hall on 24 and 25 September 2010.
The musical tells the incredible true story of the son of a Scottish gardener who became a hero of the American Revolution as the “father of the American navy”. In it, Jones defeats the British against incredible odds at the Battle of Flamborough Head, is knighted by the King of France, fights for Catherine the Great in a war against the Turkish Empire and dies amid the tumult of the French Revolution. It is a tale of love and loss, triumph and tragedy, full of melodic, memorable songs and engaging lyrics.
In the midst of battle, when all seemed lost, Jones uttered his famous cry “I have not yet begun to fight!”, a phrase which echoes down the ages and is quoted to this day.
Julian Wagstaff said: “I am delighted to be working with an ensemble of such quality and renown as the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Their musicians will be joined for the concerts by the vocal ensemble Consort of Voices and guest soloists in what promises to be a wonderful night out for music and theatre fans alike.” Roy McEwan, managing director of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) added, “We are fully behind Julian. This is a wonderful opportunity for the SCO to get involved in a new production and for individual musicians to have the opportunity to play music quite different from their regular repertoire”.
The aim of the concerts is to raise the profile of the musical, and to showcase the work to the public and to potential investors in a planned UK tour of the fully staged show. Julian is collaborating with executive producer David Williams (former executive director of Scottish Ballet) and the aim is to establish a production company based in Scotland with the capacity to take John Paul Jones forward to success on the wider UK and international stage. David said “As far as I know, no Scottish musical has ever established itself in the international repertoire. I believe that John Paul Jones has the potential to do just that”.
John Paul Jones enjoyed a highly successful amateur premiere in Edinburgh in 2001. The newly re-written show is the product of a year-long collaboration with London-based film and television writer Joel Jenkins, who is also a former script editor for the UK Film Council. Composer Julian Wagstaff said: “The result of the collaboration is a tighter, more coherent, more dramatic story fit for the professional stage, with new songs and new dialogue, but one which retains the pioneering spirit of the original.”
Notes to Editors:
Show: John Paul Jones – a musical by Julian Wagstaff & Joel Jenkins (concert version)
Venue: The Queen’s Hall, Clerk St, Edinburgh
Dates: 24 & 25 September 2010 at 7.30pm
Tickets: 0131 668 2019 and via www.johnpauljonesmusical.com
Prices: £16 & £15 (concessions available)
Julian is a composer, writer and guitarist based in Edinburgh. He enjoys close connections with many of the country's leading musicians, and his works are widely performed throughout Scotland and beyond. His Piano Quintet appears on the album Frontiers and Bridges recorded by the Edinburgh Quartet and produced by Calum Malcolm, available on the Circular Records label. His opera The Turing Test was a sell-out success on the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, gaining excellent reviews in the UK press and cited by the novelist Alexander McCall Smith as a cultural highlight in the Daily Telegraph’s Review of the Year. Julian holds a PhD in musical composition from Edinburgh University. He was recently appointed Composer in Residence at Kings Buildings, University of Edinburgh.
More details can be found on Julian’s website: www.julianwagstaff.com
David is a producer and consultant with many years experience in theatres and production companies including Chief Executive at the King’s Theatre and Theatre Royal Glasgow, and Executive Director at Scottish Ballet. More details can be found on David’s website: www.theatricalsolutions.co.uk
Who are the lead singers?
The part of Captain John Paul Jones will be played by Scots singer and actor Paul Allison. A graduate of Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh and the Royal Academy of Music, Paul’s credits include appearances in the choir for the final of Britain’s Got Talent 2010, Ant and Dec’s Christmas Show 2009 and Elton John at the Royal Albert Hall.
The female lead (Countess Nicolson) will be played by Helen Wilding. A graduate of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), Helen has recently appeared with Opera Ireland, Charles Court Opera and in a UK tour of “Don’t Stop Believin’”, featuring songs from the hit TV series Glee.
All enquiries: Julian Wagstaff can be contacted on 07932 596533 or by email at
Royalty-free photographs of Julian and still images from the 2001 production can be found in the electronic press kit, together with MP3 sound files and text in PDF format.
There will be a photo call, in costume, on Wednesday 22 September at 12.00 midday in the Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh. For details please telephone 07932 596533.