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Meet Tony and Lola at the Copacabana

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: January 17, 2013

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MUSIC and passion will be the fashion at the next production by the University of Exeter's leading musical theatre society Footlights.

The young actors and crew will be taking the audience back to 1940s New York for their version of Barry Manilow's popular musical Copacabana.

The show, based on one of the American singer's most famous hits, is being staged at the Exeter Northcott Theatre from January 23 to 26.

The musical follows the story of aspiring song writer Tony Forte and small town girl Lola La Mar in a tale of romance, showgirls, and passion.

As well as the iconic title number, the show produced by Anita Copley and Kath Darke features tunes such as Dancin' Fool and Ay Carramba.

In all there are 22 songs for a cast honed by choreographer Chloe Young and vocal coach Stephanie Lyse, with the orchestra being led by musical director Joshua Clarke.

Assistant producer Kath said the show should appeal to students and the Exeter community.

"We are making sure to stay true to the era which people remember so fondly but also aim to make it accessible to a different generation."

And director Ed Johnson added that they aim to keep Copacabana up there in the stream of recent university successes, which landed Exeter the title of the Sunday Times University of the Year.

"We will remain true to the show's glamorous origins," he said, "but will be looking to give it an exciting new vibrancy."

Local support for the Manilow show is already growing, with local bar 44 Below selling an exclusive Copacabana cocktail ahead of the run.

As rehearsals are in full swing, Jess Phillips and Cam Jones are looking forward to making their Footlights debut in the lead roles of Lola and Tony.

"I've auditioned for Footlights since first year and so to get a lead part in the show was unexpected to say the least," said Jess, who recently displayed her star quality in performing a number from the show to a mesmerised crowd at the university's Children in Need event.

The show itself already has South West roots, having made its UK premiere at The Theatre Royal, Plymouth in 1994, and was attended by Barry Manilow himself.

Manilow has been invited to attend the production as well as previous Footlights star, Will Young who starred in Oklahoma, before his big break in Pop Idol.

So to find out just who shot who at the Copacabana get your tickets for the show. Box office 01392493493 or go online to www.exeternorthcott.co.uk/copacabana

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