Ten years after leaving Oxford University, Alexander S. Bermange has one show running in the West End, two more opening in Germany, and a new CD at Dress Circle featuring his songs performed by 26 of the West End's brightest performers. Life is pretty good, writes Knight Hooson.
In terms of the songs, they are as important as the spoken text.
Bermange has penned original songs and music for Plague over England, the hit play by Nicholas de Jongh playing at the Duchess Theatre. Like the songs he wrote for last year's Murder on Air (Agatha Christie) the songs play a crucial part in the play. “Although it is not a musical, the music is very much in the foreground. Of course there is background music, but in terms of the songs, they are as important as the spoken text.”
Bermange began playing the piano at five but from the beginning he showed a desire to create his own music. “In addition to wanting to play the music set before me by my teachers, I had this urge to not just recreate the work of the great masters, but to try and come up with my own compositions, which at that point were not that impressive, but showed this urgency to try and write my own music.”
His first musical was written at 16 and performed at his school. To his surprise, his friends liked it, “they said ‘actually its not half bad, well done mate' and I thought, ‘okay then, maybe this is something worth pursuing.'”
He says he was bit with the musical theatre bug when he saw Chess, and he took the bold step of writing to its lyricist Tim Rice (“I think a lot of this business is about initiative,” he advises). To his surprise, Rice wrote back and a friendship developed.
Read the full published article in issue 2 of The Drama Student Magazine.