BB: Hello Alexander, I could not help but introduce you as a music genius because I have listened to much of your work and it is astounding. We are honoured to have you on the show.
AB: You’re far too kind. I’ll try to live up to such an introduction but I think I shall certainly fail.
BB: You have made a big impact on musical theatre in particular as a writer, a musical director and, of course, you have your own much-acclaimed cabaret act. Does it run in the family?
AB: Not really although I was encouraged to play the piano from quite a young age and go through all the exams and stages. I enjoyed it and all the more so as I had fallen in love with the theatre and musicals from the very time I had been taken to see a show. I thought it was sheer magic.
BB: When did you start to write music and, of course, lyrics?
AB: I was still at school and I mostly did it for fun, I don’t think I saw it as a career move or a stepping stone to getting involved with the entertainment business. I just did it because I enjoyed it and there was something inside me which needed to express itself.
BB: You actually started to perform as well, was that out of necessity or desire?
AB: I think it was another natural step, I have never sought stardom but when you create something I think it is nice to be able to be a part of it when it is performed. My cabaret performance came about more by accident. A gentleman who knew me asked if I would do a half-hour spot of my songs at a ‘do’. I did, chatted a little bit and the whole thing went surprisingly well so it became another string to my bow.
BB: We could talk forever about your phenomenal list of creative work but tell us please about your latest triumph – I Wish My Life Were Like A Musical. The opening number alone is fantastic.
AB: Thank you. It was fun to write and I think it reflects on the side of showbusiness that people don’t always recognise. In Hollywood the musicals were always big and lavish with stars falling in love – or out of love- with each other. We have tried to produce a more realistic view of things. The dancer might look a million dollars on stage but after the show she just puts her coat on and walks home, just another face in the crowd. During the show a loving couple may kiss and look deeply into each other’s eyes while off-stage they hate each other. We taker a fun look at all those things, not to be destructive but just for laughs.
BB: I mentioned the opening number which is called Opening Number and it is so clever the way it weaves in and out of a few notes at a time of some of our best known hit musicals. How did that happen?
AB: Probably from being in the right mood at the right time. It is a tribute to all those great musicals but it is also a way of playing with the whole concept of musicals, taking a fun look at how it all works. I’m glad it has worked.
BB: Well, it is there for all to see of course. It was a huge hit at the 2019 Fringe but right now it can be seen on screen I believe.
AB: Yes, it has been streaming from the Kings Head Theatre in Islington and it is still available until May 12. Just go to King’s Head Theatre. I am delighted to say that we have had some really nice feedback.
BB: What are you working on next?
AB: I rarely have just one thing going on – I usually have several projects taking me on different journeys, I think I would get bored if it wasn’t like that.
BB: Well, we wish you every success of course and would ask if you will keep us in touch and come and have another chat with us before long.
AB: Thank you Bernard, always a pleasure and I would be delighted to come back again, many thanks.