Scottish stars of stage and screen,
including John Barrowman, Elaine C Smith and Alex Norton
and nearly thirty Scottish West End performers,
release Beautiful City – their moving tribute to NHS and key workers
Scottish stars of stage and screen, including John Barrowman, Elaine C Smith and Alex Nortonwith nearly thirty West End performers, have together recorded a spirit-lifting rendition of Beautiful City from Stephen Schwartz’s musical Godspell, interspersed with tribute messages to the NHS and key workers working across the UK. The video is produced by Scots in the City, and shared on their YouTube channel.
The video was the idea of Kieran Brown, a West End performer and co-founder of Scots in the City. When the pandemic hit, there were many stunning tributes from theatrical groups, shows and individuals, all keen to pay tribute to the hard-working NHS, including the Irish theatre community and the Welsh of the West End. As a way for Scottish West End performers to voice their appreciation too, Kieran called up many of his former cast mates to unite in singing Beautiful City from Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz’s 70’s musical, Godspell. The song talks of the hope for a new fairer society, emerging from the ruins and rubble, that we strive to build together – lyrics and a sentiment which seem more prophetic and pertinent than they were when work began on the project a few weeks ago. They recorded the song, or in some cases a tribute message, from home whilst in isolation – which was from as far afield as Broadway for Book of Mormon’s Stephen Ashfield.
Alex Norton (Taggart/Two Doors Down) said: “As Joni Mitchell says in her song, Big Yellow Taxi, ‘Don’t it always seems to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.’ It’s more important than ever that we protect our NHS. Stand up for the greatest monument to civilisation and humanity the world has ever known.”
Steven Cree (Outlander) said: “It was a privilege to be invited to take part in this tribute and thank you to the NHS. Their value and importance have never been more apparent in my lifetime than now, and I sincerely hope that people continue to show gratitude, support and respect to our fantastic health service. It must never be privatised.”
Kieran Brown, from Scots in the City said: “Whilst the NHS charity is highlighted, we would like to dedicate the video to every one of our key workers who have kept the country going – from delivery drivers, shop workers and postal staff, to bin men, lorry drivers and teachers … the list is endless. We owe all of you a huge debt and this is a thank you to each and every one of you. Alongside our stars who have given their time and talent, I’d also like to thank James Doughty for creating the original track, Ben Dovey for his gorgeous orchestrations, Tom Crofton Green for violin skills, Chris Matanle for artwork, and Ben Hewis for stitching it all together and making it look and sound so moving.”
The full list of Scots taking part is Stephen Ashfield, John Barrowman, Kieran Brown, Ronan Burns, Sabrina Carter, Elaine C. Smith, Steven Cree, Gillian Ford, Lyndsey Gardiner, James Gillan, Celia Graham, Alasdair Harvey, Jacqueline Hughes, Keith Jack, Adam Lake,Maggie Lynne, Mary Mac, Jai McDowell, Lisa Mathieson, Matt McKenna, John Mclarnon, Gavin Mitchell, Alex Norton, George Rae, Emma Ralston, Jennifer Tierney, George Ure, Shona White, Natalie Williams, Lisa Anne Wood and Jordan Young.
Kieran Brown, who hails from Falkirk, set up Scots in the City with actress Shona White to promote the very best of Scottish culture outside the motherland, with a focus on Musical Theatre. Kieran studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, graduating with an honours degree in Acting. As a seasoned West End professional, he has understudied and played the role of The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera and recently performed in the UK and World tours of Titanic. Kieran is an original member of one of the UK’s most successful vocal groups, The Barricade Boys. His many screen credits include a role in the forthcoming TV drama, Traces.