Twenty years ago this week the young stage talent of BYTe (Boston Youth Theatre) was preparing to stage Mugsy Balone in Boston.
Not to be confused with the slightly better known Bugsy Malone, Mugsy was the hero of an original musical show involving film stars, gangsters, and mistaken identity.
Mugsy was a good-hearted (if slow-witted) Yorkshire lad who, in the golden age of Hollywood, moved to America.
He had visions of stardom and landed himself a job as best boy at Paramount Pictures – but the plotting of two rival crime bosses, both with interests in the film, as well as clashing stage egos soon complicated things.
It was not too long before Musgy was on the run from cops, who thought he was a gangster, and the gangsters, who thought he was Charlie Chaplin.
Also, a pair of sweet old ladies who happened to be the deadliest assassins in the business were lurking in the wings.
Mugsy Balone was the first BYTe show since Sue Brown took over as youth theatre director, through several cast members were involved in Blackfriars’ hit production The Return of Captain Hook.
It was written by the arts centre’s director Sam Mason, with music by Richard Allen.
“The cast are aged from 11 to their early 20s, and for some of them it’s their first time on stage,” said Sue Brown. “It’s been a frenetic, fun-filled few months of rehearsing but everyone’s worked really hard and the end result should be well worth it.”
The show was to be staged at Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre across three nights, with a Saturday matinee.
Pictured above are members of the cast, while to the right (top) are members of the musical’s underworld and (below) Phil Little as Mugsy.