SOUTH YORKSHIRE’S own Danielle Grace Williams has triumphed in a national search for the lead role in a new musical commissioned by Rotherham Music Service.
The hunt for Valentina in 13 Days drew applications from some of the finest musical theatre performers in the UK.
But Danielle impressed the production team so much that she was handed the role.
13 Days tells the story of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis through the eyes of three young lovers: a Russian soldier (Andrei) and an American spy (Jim) who are vying for the love of Cuban beauty (Valentina).
It is a classic story of love, politics and what it means to be human and has been set to music by the emerging international composer Alexander Bermange, whom lyricist Tim Rice recently tipped as “one of only two up and coming composers of musical theatre of note working in the UK today.”
The piece is orchestrated by Paul Bateman, who has arranged music for the likes of Jose Carreras, Sarah Brightman and Yorkshire’s very own Lesley Garrett.
13 Days is having its world premiere airing in a concert version at Wales High School, at 7pm next Friday and Saturday.
It has been commissioned by Rotherham Music Service and will be performed by the 60-strong Rotherham Youth Orchestra and the 50-strong Wales High School Choir in conjunction with professional principal singers—one of whom is the highly talented Danielle.
Danielle, from Barnsley, said: “I can't believe it. To win this role over so many others from around the UK really is a dream come true.
“I've been performing from a young age and I am lucky enough to be making a living from my singing, but this opportunity is in a different league entirely.
“My regular cabaret work is going well, but the chance to create a new role in a new musical, written and orchestrated by such well-respected people, is a huge deal for me.
"Even better that it is getting to be performed first in Rotherham. I know my family will be coming along, but I really hope that the people of Rotherham, Barnsley and Sheffield will take the opportunity to see this as well.
“The music is a singer’s dream and the tunes are every bit as good as anything from Les Miserables or Phantom of the Opera.”
David Lever, head of Rotherham Music Service who commissioned this new work, said: “Many people in the Rotherham area will know of Alexander’s music because he was the composer who was chosen to write the musical of Rotherham’s history, Walking On The Sun, which was performed in both Clifton Park and the Millennium Dome as part of Rotherham’s millennium celebrations.
“This kind of commission is very exciting and is at the heart of the music service’s agenda to ensure that local students and audiences are exposed to, and inspired by, new music and by working with professional musicians of worth.
“All the cast are top notch. Danielle in particular is a real gem of a find and is a great example of how local people can develop their career and get the acclaim they deserve if they are prepared to give things a go.”
Tickets for the show, priced at £3.50 and £2.50, are available by calling 01709 545235 between 10am and 2pm.