When in 1974 the American Academy of Arts & Sciences awarded Alan Hawkshaw the Best Arrangement Award for ‘I Honestly Love You’ performed by Olivia Newton John, it was clear that here was a young arranger and composer with a bright future. His skills as a keyboard player are now well known and he has worked with, written and played for many international stars, musicals and television scores. Song-writing also gave Alan, a member of the St Albans Ward, the opportunity to collaborate with some of world’s best lyricists. Some of his other awards include the Ivor Novello Award, the prestigious Gold Badge Award for services to the industry, from BASCA (British Academy for Songwriters, Composers and Artists). He was also nominated for a BAFTA (British Academy for Film and Television Awards) for a well-known TV series and you will hear his theme music everyday on several popular TV programmes.
When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 Alan was determined to part of it in some small way and with his wife Christine, who was born in Germany, they boarded a flight with the intention of experiencing this global event. They were not to be disappointed. Alan managed to procure a hammer and chisel and on arrival in Berlin went straight to the wall and began chipping away at it with many other westerners.
It may have been the inspiration of witnessing this event that inspired him to create this new west end musical 'Berlin, the musical' or it may be the influence of his German born wife Christine. Since that day he has often considered writing about this and the obvious way it would be a musical and was fortunate to be introduced to the right people at the right time so the seed began to flourish alongside others who supported the production.
This joint production of 'Berlin, the musical' was performed as a concert, with a performance of the vocal score, on September 21st 2013 at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London. With the London Youth Symphony Orchestra and a cast of around 20 singers, including 5 principal singers, this work was assisted by narration and projection with images of that period. It is a heart wrenching story of the dangerous liaisons between family members who are caught up in the conflicts that surrounded the division of loved ones caught up in political conflicts.
A member of the audience commented,
“It was a fantastic night in the theatre - a quality and engrossing piece of work set in of one of the most iconic periods of 20th century western history. Sally and I - along with the rest of the audience - were blown away. The story and characters were immediately engaging and the themes of aspiration, love, beliefs and family loyalties were woven beautifully. I could go on forever about the wonder of last night but shall just say that it was one of the most joyous evenings I have ever spent in a theatre.” (Tony Osoba, actor)
The Italian lyrics were written by Jeanne Madsen, a very talented LDS member living in Utah, who sadly passed away four years ago. The show is dedicated to her memory.