The Norfolk businessman playing a role in bringing the musical 42nd Street to the West End
- Credit: Brinkhoff/Moegenburg
Audiences are loving the toe-tapping and glamorous revival of 42nd Street in London's West End, and among the musical's backers is a former Norwich School pupil turned international businessman. Arts correspondent Emma Knights talks to Brooke Greville, chief executive officer of investment company G Entertainment.
42nd Street is one of the hottest show's in London's West End at the moment, opening to rave reviews, having a glamorous premiere attended by the Duchess of Cambridge, and raising vital funds for East Anglia's Children's Hospices along the way.
The all-singing all-dancing spectacle has a high-kicking cast of more than 50 with Grammy Award-winning star Sheena Easton taking on the lead role of Dorothy Brock in the show which treats its audiences to a dazzling and romantic homage to the world of musical theatre.
Those who take their seats at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, are whisked from London's Theatreland across the Atlantic to New York's Broadway via songs such as We're In The Money, Lullaby Of Broadway and, of course, 42nd Street.
And the kaleidoscope of cleverly choreographed dance numbers, beautiful costumes and stunning scenery creates a magical revival of the musical classic which is truly epic in scale.
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While the talented cast wow audiences night after night on stage, there is also an army of people behind the scenes that are helping to make the show possible.
Among those is 35-year-old Brooke Greville, who grew up in St Nicholas near Halesworth on the Norfolk and Suffolk border, won a bursary from the Worshipful Company of Dyers to study at Norwich School, and went on to carve himself a career in business that has taken him all over the world and now into the West End.
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Mr Greville is now chief executive officer of G Entertainment, a global investment company which, among other things, has invested £1.3m into the new 42nd Street production.
About the show, he said: 'It's a spectacle, you have got to see it to understand it, the reviews have been amazing. We are delighted obviously, everybody is absolutely delighted - the investors, the cast, the producers - with the reviews that have come through. We have just extended [the run] until October. We are hopeful that it will become a cornerstone of the West End.'
Mr Greville's own journey to 42nd Street comes from a career in investment consultancy and building business contacts around the globe which a couple of years ago led to him becoming involved in the company Gate Ventures which invested in the West End production of Sunset Boulevard, starring Glenn Close. The show was produced by Lord Michael Grade and Michael Linnet in collaboration with Dr Johnny Hon.
'It was sensational...It's what dreams are made off, being involved in the opening of a big show, and with Glenn Close on stage too,' Mr Greville said.
He decided to step away from the board of Gate Ventures to establish G Entertainment, and when the opportunity arose to invest in 42nd Street - also produced by the same team as Sunset Boulevard - he was delighted to get his company involved as a part investor.
'The pedigree in most of these investments is what we are looking at. The productions that they have put on are absolutely top rate. We were very keen to invest from the beginning,' he said.
'It really is an amazing show...It's a huge production, it's a very big budget. It's been described in a number of reviews as as a very ambitious show. Who doesn't want to be a part of that!'
There was much fanfare when the show opened, with a grand premiere attended by the Duchess of Cambridge in her role as patron of East Anglia's Children's Hospices. The show has pledged its support to EACH's the nook appeal which is currently trying to raise £10m to create a new, purpose-built hospice in Framingham Earl to replace its centre in Quidenham.
Mr Greville was among those invited to meet the Duchess in the interval of the premiere and described it as 'a huge honour.'
He said: 'I met her very briefly. She is stunningly beautiful and charm personified. Mostly we spoke about EACH and the nook appeal, that was the focus of her visit.'
Mr Greville, whose late mother Miriam was a dedicated volunteer at Ditchingham Hospital, said he was really pleased such a vital charity as EACH was being supported by 42nd Street.
'Everyone at 42nd Street is thrilled to be supporting EACH. It's a fantastic charity and it's a huge privilege for me, coming from Norfolk, that it is an East Anglian-focussed charity that we are supporting.'
Mr Greville, whose father René lives in Wymondham, added he was really proud of his East Anglian roots and also a huge fan of the Canaries.
'I had a very happy, fun childhood in Norfolk and Suffolk and I was made in Norwich between the ages of 12 and 18 at the Norwich School. I travel all over the world with my job now but I love coming back to Norfolk because it's so peaceful.'
For more about 42nd Street, visit www.42ndStreetMusical.co.uk
To support East Anglia's Children's Hospices' the nook appeal, visit www.each.org.uk/the-nook