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Welcome to Scarborough Musicals

Hello and welcome to the Scarborough Musicals website. We are a  friendly and active musical theatre group with a history dating back to 1927. Last year we performed 'Legally Blonde' to near sell-out audiences and we have just presented this year's show 'Oklahoma' to rave reviews, continuing the very high standard that audiences have come to expect from us. To view photographs from previous  shows please click the 'About' tab above. When we aren't putting on a musical we have an active programme of social events  (quizzes, karaoke, parties, theatre trips etc), which are a great way to meet and welcome new members. Between shows we sometimes hold singing workshops. 

If you think you might like to join us then why not come along to a rehearsal? Further details can be obtained from the 'contact' section. Click here to be taken to the details of how to contact us. 
Cost of annual membership is £20 adults and £10 for children.  

Brief History

Scarborough Musicals was formed in late 2012 by the merger of Scarborough Musical Theatre Company (SMTC) and Scarborough and District Light Operatic Society (SADLOS) with the hope of increasing activity, membership, audiences, resources, and maybe staging two musical shows a year. 

Our show for 2018



One of the greatest, blockbusting hits of all time, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s first collaboration Oklahoma! opened on Broadway in 1943, running 2,212 performances and setting a record not surpassed until My Fair Lady in the next decade. It went on to become an Oscar-winning 1955 film and to enjoy constant revivals, tours and amateur productions all over the world. Its score is packed with ‘standards’.

Building on the innovations of Hammerstein & Kern’s 1927 Show Boat, Oklahoma! established a new style of ‘book musical’ (replacing operetta or musical comedy), in which the songs and dances are fully integrated into and serve a drama with credible characters, heralding the Golden Age of Broadway musicals 1943-1964.

The show is set in 1906 Oklahoma territory, on the verge of achieving statehood, and concerns the romantic doings of various lovers and the rivalry between the territory’s farmers and cowboys. It’s a generally folksy, upbeat celebration, with some darker moments, including the ‘dream ballet’ that ends the first half and became something of a trademark in the post-war Broadway book musical.

A popular standby of amateurs, Oklahoma! has had 6 Scarborough stagings since 1964, most recently by SADLOS in 2003, so it’s due a revival and a fresh look.

The Cast
Curly McLain – Connor Canvess
Laurey Williams – Tilly Jackson
Will Parker – Nathan Mundey
Ado Annie – Georgia Mason
Aunt Eller – Helen Dent
Ali Hakim – Chris Taylor
Jud Fry – Dave Blaker
Andrew Carnes – Bob Holmes
Gertie Cummings – Casey Canvess

We are still looking for someone to play Ali Hakim:
Ali Hakim, Male, (25-45ish) Over-the-top Persian travelling peddler with an eye for the ladies, especially Ado Annie. Comic accent, huge personality. Hand-smooching lady-killer; sweeps Annie off her feet with his marathon kisses. One solo number, but, honestly, singing takes a back seat to laughs in this role. Song: It’s a Scandal! It’s an Outrage

If you think you have what it takes to play this wonderful role then please get in touch for more information or message us via facebook.
Apart from some flashy set dance numbers (Kansas City, The Farmer And The Cowman), Oklahoma! is famous for its ‘Dream Ballet’, in which Laurey’s romantic hopes and fears resolve in dream-turned-nightmare. Traditionally this features a dancing ‘Dream Curly’ and ‘Dream Laurey’, but amateur productions often do the ‘dream sequence’ as a fairly basic mime, to escape the need for skilled dancers.

Ensemble & Smaller Roles:
Like Fiddler On The Roof or Carousel, Oklahoma! is very much about a community and the tensions within it, in this case between farmers and cowboys; and it ends with the foundation of the state of Oklahoma out of former Indian territory. So this is very much an ensemble piece, with great flexibility for involvement by a large cast of all ages, genders and skills. Plenty of company scenes and numbers. Various smaller roles have individual characters, lines or opportunities to feature briefly.


Act 1
Overture – Orchestra
Oh, What A Beautiful Morning – Curly
The Surrey With The Fringe On Top – Curly, Laurey & Aunt Eller
Kansas City – Will, Aunt Eller & Men (Entire Company?)
I Cain’t Say No – Ado Annie
Many A New Day – Laurey & Women
It’s A Scandal, It’s A Outrage! – Ali Hakim & Men
People Will Say We’re In Love – Curly & Laurey
Pore Jud Is Daid – Curley & Jud
Lonely Room – Jud
Out Of My Dreams – Laurey & Women
Dream Ballet – Orchestra

Act 2
Entr’Acte – Orchestra
The Farmer And The Cowman – Andrew Carnes, Curly, Aunt Eller & Company
All ‘Er Nuthin’ – Will & Ado Annie
People Will Say We’re In Love (reprise) – Curly & Laurey
Oklahoma! – Curly, Laurey, Aunt Eller, Ike Skidmore, Andrew Carnes & Company
Finale – Company


Act 1
1906, Indian Territory, Oklahoma. The curtain rises on a rural farmyard, where Aunt Eller is churning butter, as a cowboy is heard offstage singing (Oh, What A Beautiful Morning). This is Curly McLain, who has arrived to invite her niece, Laurey Williams, an independently-minded young woman, to that evening’s box social - a party to raise funds for a schoolhouse, via an auction of packed lunch baskets, the successful bidder sharing the lunch with the girl who prepared it. Despite Curly’s persuasive description of the fancy carriage he has hired to take her there (The Surrey With The Fringe On Top), Laurey turns him down. Curly teases her by saying the hired rig is a fiction and she flounces off. But he has hired the rig.

The lonely, disturbed farm hand Jud Fry has become obsessed with Laurey, asks her to the box social, and she accepts to spite Curly, although she is afraid of Jud and swiftly regrets her impulse. Meanwhile, cowboy Will Parker returns from a trip to the big city (Kansas City), where he has won $50 at a fair, and can now marry his flighty sweetheart, Ado Annie – only he has spent the $50 on presents for her. He has also bought a ‘Little Wonder’ (a metal tube for viewing saucy pictures, with a hidden cut-throat blade inside) for Ado Annie's father, Andrew Carnes.

Ado Annie tells her pal Laurey that in Will’s absence she’s been seeing a lot of Ali Hakim, a ‘Persian’ peddler. Laurey says she’ll have to choose between them, but Annie says commitment is not in her nature (I Cain’t Say No). As the girls prepare for the box social, Laurey is riled at Curly flirting with a local farmgirl ‘giggling’ Gertie Cummings, but insists she doesn’t care (Many A New Day). Andrew Carnes discovers Annie with Ali Hakim and forces an agreement of marriage at gunpoint. Ali Hakim and the men lament the situation (It’s A Scandal! It’s A Outrage!).

Curly begs Laurey to go to the box social with him, not Jud, but she’s scared to reject Jud, trying to convince Curly (and herself) that she does not love Curly (People Will Say We’re In Love). Hurt by her refusal, Curly goes to the dingy smokehouse where Jud lives, and suggests to Jud that so unvalued a loner might usefully hang himself, so everyone would realise his worth (Pore Jud Is Daid). Their talk turns confrontational over Laurey, and after Curly leaves, Jud sings of his determination to make Laurey his bride (Lonely Room).

Confused by her feelings for Curly and her fear of Jud, Laurey buys a "magic potion" of smelling salts from Ali Hakim, who promises a few sniffs will resolve her dilemma. Since it’s actually laudanum, she passes out and has a dream of marriage with Curly that turns into a horrible nightmare of Jud (Out of My Dreams/Dream Ballet) from which she is awoken, terrified, to leave with Jud for the box social.

Act 2
At the box social, an energetic square dance (The Farmer And The Cowman) degenerates into open rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys over fences and water rights, and a fight breaks out, which Aunt Eller stops with a gunshot and some firm words. Community harmony is uneasily restored.

Laurey is upset to see Curly at the dance with Gertie. To rid himself of Ado Annie, Ali Hakim buys Will's rubbishy souvenirs from Kansas City for $50, while Jud buys Will's ‘Little Wonder’, knowing of the blade concealed within it. The auction starts and Will bids $50 for Ado Annie's basket, not realising that without the $50, he would no longer have the money her father has insisted upon to permit the marriage. Desperate to be rid of Annie, Ali Hakim has to stump up $51 to get the basket so that Will can approach Andrew Carnes with the cash to claim her as his bride.

When Laurey's basket comes up for auction, things turn nasty. Jud bids his entire savings to secure it, while various men try to protect her from him by bidding over the odds, and it ends in a ferocious bidding war between Jud and Curly, who sells the saddle, horse and gun by which he lives, in order to win. Jud discreetly tries to kill Curly with the Little Wonder, but Aunt Eller foils his plan by demanding a dance with Curly. Meanwhile, Will and Annie reach an understanding, as she reluctantly agrees to make a firm commitment to him (All ‘Er Nuthin’).

Jud confronts Laurey about his feelings for her. When she admits that she does not return them, he threatens her, and she furiously fires him, ordering him off her farm. Jud storms out, leaving her in Curly’s arms. They become engaged (People Will Say We’re In Love reprise) and Curly realises he must give up his cowboy life to become a farmer. Ali Hakim leaves, telling Ado Annie that Will is the right man for her.

Three weeks later, the entire community are gathered to celebrate Laurey and Curly’s wedding and the territory’s impending statehood (Oklahoma!). During the festivities, Ali Hakim returns with his new wife, Gertie (another shotgun wedding) before a drunken, embittered Jud arrives, harasses Laurey and attacks Curly with a knife. In the ensuing tussle, Jud accidentally falls on his knife and dies.

At Aunt Eller’s insistence, the wedding guests hold a makeshift trial of Curly, where the judge (Andrew Carnes) acquits him, and the wedding couple depart on their honeymoon in the surrey with the fringe on top, amid general rejoicings (Finale).

The cast for Oklahoma is announced
Curly McLain – Connor Canvess
Laurey Williams – Tilly Jackson
Will Parker – Nathan Mundey
Ado Annie – Georgia Mason
Aunt Eller – Helen Dent
Ali Hakim – Chris Taylor
Jud Fry – Dave Blaker
Andrew Carnes – Bob Holmes
Gertie Cummings – Casey Canvess


The rehearsal schedule is now finalised and can be downloaded here


A longer History of Musical Theatre in Scarborough

For over eight decades, Scarborough Musicals has been at the heart of Scarborough’s cultural and community life.

It started in 1927, when Scarborough Philharmonic Society disbanded, leaving a gap in the townʼs entertainment provision, which Sidney Carter (the Philharmonic’s secretary) filled by persuading the town’s leading businessmen to back a newly formed Scarborough Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (the ‘Dramatic’ was dropped in the 1930s). People flocked to support the new society, and within a month, 200 local people had joined.

The society’s first production was Edward German’s Merrie England which opened to enthusiastic reviews and audiences at the Royal Opera House in 1927, to be followed by further annual productions, including The Gondoliers, The Geisha, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado. Obviously, these shows reflect the popular singing style and audience taste of the period: light opera or operetta. Tin Pan Alley and jazz-based popular music had still to make its mark in those acoustic, pre-microphone years.

So successful were the societyʼs early productions, that when the 5,000-seat Open Air Theatre first opened in 1932, the society’s annual Summer musical became a major seasonal fixture, drawing huge attendances, of up to 70,000 a year. In the 1930s, the society was actively supported by the town’s “great and good”. Sir Paul Latham MP was President and Vice Presidents included Cllr E H Robinson (Mayor of Scarborough), Claude Rounder and A J Tonks.

In those pre-TV days, with foreign travel a luxury, and seaside holiday resorts like Scarborough at the peak of their popularity, spectacle was all, to fill the 5,000-seat Open Air Theatre twice weekly. A huge local amateur cast of singers and dancers was supported by a large orchestra, with professional principals and production team. West End singers would angle for invitations to guest, and production values were high. Old-timers still recall the vast sets and extravagant effects: live horses on stage, fleets of canoes paddled across the lake and so on, for Rose Marie, The Yeomen of the Guard, The Desert Song, Hiawatha or The Arcadians.

The great Scarborough Summer shows must have rivaled Ivor Novello’s lavish Drury Lane spectaculars, which wowed the West End in the 1930s, and were the equivalent of today’s Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables or the big Arena shows. One gets an idea from a splendid 1938 LNER poster advertising Scarborough, dramatically depicting a night-time performance of Tannhauser at the Open Air Theatre.

World War Two interrupted the society’s activities, but the large-scale Summer musicals at the Open Air Theatre resumed from 1948 until 1968, when West Side Story saw a significant drop in attendances and the Borough Council decided to end the expensive annual Summer musicals at the Open Air Theatre. Times were changing. Cheap foreign package holidays and TV had arrived, and perhaps by 1968 (the year of student protests, Vietnam, flower power, hippies and ‘Hair’) tastes had moved away from the society’s repertoire of grand old operettas like The Quaker Girl or The Gypsy Baron.

A glance at the society’s list of shows 1948-1968 reveals a continuing loyalty to these operettas, with occasional dips into 1920s musical comedy (No No Nanette and The Girlfriend in 1957-8), and the post-war musical theatre style established by Rodgers & Hammerstein (Oklahoma! in 1964).

One also notices that after 1954, Gilbert & Sullivan was not presented, and it was in order to perform G&S that in 1967 a group broke away from the original society to form Scarborough & District Light Opera Society (SADLOS), which flourished until 1967, presenting two shows annually for many years, initially at the Graham School’s theatre, alternating Gilbert & Sullivan with such popular standards as The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly! and Fiddler On the Roof.

The G&S issue is ironic. A third of the pre-war Summer shows were G&S, but no G&S was presented between 1954 and 1996. Five of SADLOS’ first six shows were G&S, but the breakaway company produced no G&S after 1989, while SMTC produced four G&S operettas, after 1997!

So, after the society’s Open Air Theatre days ended in 1968, its annual shows were presented at the Floral Hall, Royal Opera House or Futurist Theatre; and there were now two rival amateur societies producing annual musicals in Scarborough. Recent years have seen greatly increased amateur performing opportunities, especially for young people, with the busy YMCA Theatre (four productions annually), showcases by the many dance and performing arts schools and colleges, Stephen Joseph Theatre’s outreach programme (including ‘Rounders’) and musicals staged by Scalby School and other independent amateur or school groups locally.

After 1968, both societies shifted away from the vocally demanding, large cast operettas with their costly staging needs, in favour of post-war musical theatre standards: Carousel, South Pacific, The King & I, Annie Get Your Gun, My Fair Lady, Calamity Jane etc (although G&S and operettas like White Horse Inn, The Desert Song, The Merry Widow and The Count of Luxembourg were occasionally presented).

It is significant, reflecting changing lifestyle and leisure patterns, as well as Scarborough’s altered character as a visitor centre, that the three theatres used since 1968 are now gone forever: Floral Hall (1,600 seats), Royal Opera House (1,200 seats), and Futurist Theatre (2,150 seats).

Since the 1990s, both former societies (with much reduced but enthusiastic and loyal memberships) staged their annual Easter or Whitsun musical at the 300-seat YMCA Theatre. In 2004 the old operatic society renamed itself Scarborough Musical Theatre Company.

In November 2012, the two societies united in order to combine their resources in a new single society, Scarborough Musicals, with the hope of increasing activity, membership, audiences, resources, and maybe staging two musical shows a year.

Committee Members

Chairman Helen Dent
Secretary Treasurer June Wademan
Cast audition Secretary Sheryl Buttner
Assistant to membership Tilly Jackson
Costumes Tilly Jackson
Marketing Connor Canvas
Publicity Rebecca Boag
Social secretary Pamela Hill

Contact us

For any further information please contact:

June Wademan - 07595 477225

Sheryl Buttner (Auditions Secretary) - 07890 823860

or use the contact form below


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