A raucous celebration of music and dance, The Choir of Man is more than a concert but not exactly a musical. In fact, it is ultimately its own category of entertainment, one which combines some of the greatest songs in musical history, an eclectic variety that ranges from “The Impossible Dream” to “Escape (The Pina Colada Song).”
Set in a fully operational pub that travels from city to city with the large cast and crew, the energetic show brings to life the best pub gig you can imagine set in a atmosphere that brings the audience into the show in an interactive theatrical experience.
Traveling with a pub
With the show since its development, Mark Loveday was fresh from drama school when he first answered a casting call. That was in 2016 when the show was still in its infancy.
“I had just graduated from drama school, and there really was no show yet,” Loveday recalled in an interview with Whatzup. “It was just nine guys getting together.”
From that early dabbling in music and context for the songs, a YouTube video was born, a perfect 21st century means of building interest for a show still in development.
Six months later, Loveday got the call that the show was a go.
“Being in a pub, going to work everyday in a pub, and singing with this group of guys was a lot of fun,” Loveday said. “All the guys are very supportive. This was my first job in the industry, and getting paid for doing something this creative has been great. The creative team is so good, from the musical director, the director, and the crew. We spent 15 months working on it and talking about doing it, then from the time we knew we were doing the show to the first performance was three weeks. Our first show was in Edinburgh, and it was a very enjoyable three weeks getting the show ready.”
Their success there launched the show, and they found themselves booked in some very high-profile venues.
“The shows in Edinburgh were so successful, which was wonderful,” Loveday said. “While we were there, we were seen by some people from Australia and were asked to perform in Adelaide in 2018. We played there for a month and from there got offers from Norwegian Cruise Lines and the Sydney Opera House. We actually played on two different cruise ships, and it’s the highest-rated show on their cruise line. Playing on Norwegian Cruise Lines really gave us some great exposure because so many Americans were on those cruises.
“Once Americans know who you are, you start getting lots of people coming to the shows. We’d go perform in some city and think no one would be there, but instead there were audiences who already loved what we were doing.”
Loveday credits the arrangements of the songs which allow for nine men to carry the tunes in a new and vibrant way. Bringing the power of that many voices to pop songs, many of which are known to the audience in a more quiet presentation, has been gratifying for Loveday and his castmates.
“The cast is amazingly talented, and it’s fun to work together vocally on this wide variation of music,” he said. “We do everything from operatic singing to ‘The Pina Colada Song’ and ‘Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover.’ It’s really like a vocal Olympics.”
The gig has proven very busy for Loveday who did manage a break to do a film in London, Rise of the Footsoldier 3: The Pat Tate Story. The film is one of a popular British series, and a fourth installment was recently filmed, but Loveday was unavailable.
“Since the start of 2018, we’ve been on the road for all but three or four months,” Loveday said. “So I’ve been consistently working which is great. It’s been great to take a full pub around the world because who doesn’t love a pub? We just park it in the truck, then bring it out every night for the show.”
Loveday credits the success of the show with what goes on the stage as well as what goes on behind the scenes.
“For Choir of Man to go on the stage, there’s a whole company involved,” Loveday said. “It’s not just the nine of us. The producers have a knack for hiring good people. We’re a team, a community, and there’s a lot of male bonding which has to happen for people to buy into what is happening on the stage. We get along really well and have from the beginning.”
The show has not been a mere launching point for Loveday’s career but a vehicle for his talents and his love of the cast and crew around him.
Although he may have had to turn down an opportunity here and there, it has been worth it for the experience he’s had with The Choir of Man.
“These people have become my family and mates in the last few years,” Loveday said. “The future is always a bit up in the air, but I’m not ready to leave yet. I was lucky enough to be able to do the film a few years ago, and the Foot Soldier films are a lot of fun. But I wasn’t available for the fourth because of Choir of Man, and I’m happy to be doing what I am with the show.”
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