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Inspired by real stories, ‘Is He Musical?’ is an intimate and joyous exploration of the experiences of a small group of queer people who lived, loved and partied across 1930s London.

It’s Autumn 1933, and the Trocadero on Shaftesbury Avenue continues to be one of the most popular night spots in London. Upstairs in the Long Bar, a favourite meeting place for local queer men, Laurence, an aspiring professional cellist new to the city, meets Wilfred, a charismatic, no nonsense footman keen to escape to the country. The pair quickly become good friends and find fun, drama and romance in a whirlwind of fabulously indulgent nights across the West End with their fellow ‘sisters’. But although their hidden world seems surprisingly free and easy each evening, change is coming, and Wilfred can sense it.

Production Journey

The musical was commissioned by MPTheatricals in February 2021 after Taylor’s contribution to QUEERME: a new writing night. Since then, the musical has received ongoing development with director Matt Powell on a weekly basis. In April, the musical had a virtual reading staring Josh Barnett and Jonathan O'Neill.

In June, the musical was workshopped at Curve Theatre for two days with Josh Barnett, Jonathan O'Neill & Francesca Fenech (Musical Director). The musical was also showcased at The Lowry, Salford Quays as part of REWRITES, featuring Teddy Hinde and Josh Barnett.

The musical was programmed as part of VAULT Festival 2022. The project has received a project grant to produce a live or streamed production. Sadly, VAULT Festival has been cancelled and we are now looking for collaborators and venues to partner with for an innovative digital production this February.

Technical & Production Information

Duration: 65 Minutes + Pre/Post Show Historical Expansion

Cast Size: Two Actors Musicians + One Musical Director & Two Musicians

Genre: Musical Comedy

Our contingency is to create a digital production with a digital ‘bar space’ showcasing a variety of histories surrounding the musical. Whilst we’re devastated to not be bringing it to a live audience, we’re excited about premiering this musical in an exciting, innovative form in LGBTQ+ History Month.

Why 'Is He Musical?'

  • This is an excellent opportunity to share a moment of queer history that all kinds of audiences may be unfamiliar with. Over the past year, the popularity of shows such as It's a Sin and Cruise have proven an audience demand for LGBTQ+ historical stories. Is He Musical explores an untapped era, inspired by real life stories to create a memorable and entertaining evening of musical theatre. Furthermore, the show is a great addition for programming around LGBTQ+ History Month.

  • The musical has a different spin on sexuality in musical theatre: it’s not a love story, it’s not a time frequently spoken about. It's a joyful & uplifting story on living your authentic self and finding comfort in friendship & community.

  • This production marks debut of both an emerging writer/director partnership & a team of emerging talent identifying as LGBTQ+.

Curve Workshop (June 2021)
Curve Workshop (June 2021)

Featuring Josh Barnett and Jonathan O'Neill

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Curve Workshop (June 2021)
Curve Workshop (June 2021)

Featuring Josh Barnett and Jonathan O'Neill

press to zoom
Curve Workshop (June 2021)
Curve Workshop (June 2021)

Featuring Josh Barnett and Jonathan O'Neill

press to zoom
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Creatives

Jude Taylor - Writer

Jude Taylor (he/him) is a composer, lyricist and writer from Leicestershire. His first full length musical Steep Themselves in Night premiered at The Other Palace in London during October 2018. His most recent work, Make Me Infamous, a musical theatre audio production (produced by MP Theatricals) was released online in November 2020.  As of 2021 he is a Resident Creative at Curve in Leicester. Jude is interested in creating quirky new musical comedies and fairytales which explore and challenge the usual representation of LGBTQ+ people in musical theatre.

Matt Powell - Director

Matt Powell (they/she/he) is a Derby born practitioner working predominantly in Musical & Queer Theatre. Matt has created & produced an array of film & theatrical experiences through digital performances, community projects and youth productions. Over the past year, they have produced and directed a broad array of new musicals in innovative digital mediums through their production company MPTheatricals. As a queer identifying practitioner, Matt has a passionate interest and commitment to developing LGBTQ work. They have directed and produced a majority queer portfolio of productions and projects & frequently support queer writers and artists. 

Additional Creatives

Production Artwork: Ashley Goh (she/they)

Reading & Workshop Cast:

Laurence - Jonathan O'Neill (he/him)

Wilfred - Josh Barnett (he/him)

Musical Director - Francesca Fenech (she/her)

Filming - Fletcher Smith (he/him)

QUEERME Performance:

Upstairs at the Trocadero 

performed by Josh Barnett (he/him)

Further Recruitment:

We are committed to working with emerging creatives who identify within the LGBTQ+ community.

for all production enquiries, contact

matt powell  & jude taylor at

mgmpowell21@gmail.com+44 7930 229641