A Night on the Piazza
On Thursday 12 June 2008 Iris Theatre and St Paul’s Covent Garden presented the first of an on going tradition of cabaret evenings.
An audience of over 100 enjoyed the creativity and talent of Chris Hamilton joined by guests Katie Rowley Jones (Wicked, Grease) Holly Penfield ( New York and London Cabaret star) and Shimi Goodman (Chicago, Dirty Dancing, Salt and Honey).
Chris Hamilton was born in Wales and began playing the piano at the age of four. After winningseveral national competitions, he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, London. Whilst studying Law at Oxford University, Chris developed a passion for singing and theatre which he continued to pursue in his spare time while working as a lawyer in the City. When he was seconded to New York and found himself moonlighting in the piano bars of Manhattan, he decided to concentrate fully on performing and studied musical theatre at Guildford School of Acting. Since graduating seven years ago, he has appeared in several shows including “The Yeoman of the Guard” at the Royal Opera House, a play about Noel Coward which was specially written for him and has appeared in the comedy sketch show, News Revue.
During his studies he won the Musical Theatre Award 2001 and was a prize winner at the Surrey Male Singer Competition. Shimi’s West End debut was under-studying and playing Akaash, the lead role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of Bombay Dreams (Apollo Victoria). He then moved on to understudy and play Mary Sunshine opposite Brooke Shields in Chicago (Adelphi) and most recently Robbie Gould in Dirty Dancing (Aldwych).
Original cast recordings include Dirty Dancing and Over the Threshold by Chris Hamilton where he sang with Tony award winner Frances Ruffelle. Shimi is currently rehearsing the lead part for the world premiere of the English version of Salt and Honey the Musical -in Concert which opens in Jerusalem prior to a world tour.
Holly began her career singing Burt Bacharach songs at a topless nightclub in San Francisco’s North beach district, and even then her act had a high camp content girls wearing nothing but veils, a laSalome, danced around Penfield as she sang The Look of Love. Moving to Los Angeles, she secured two major record contracts, recording three albums of her own songs, with a song reaching the Top 100 American charts. Her first producer was record producer Mike Chapman “Love Is a Battlefield”.
In addition to performing across Europe, Holly made her New York debut last winter at the cabaret epicenter Don’t Tell Mama, where cabaret doyenne Julie Wilson liked Holly’s show so much she saw it twice. After winning new fans in New York, Holly returned to London to headline a benefit at The Savoy where 250 fans attended a dinner and a two hour concert.Holly’s UK debut was at the 1992 Edinburgh Fringe with her original and critically acclaimed show “Fragile Human Monster”, which was recorded as a CD. Penfield also promoted her Canadian-released album, “Parts of My Privacy”.
Katie Rowley Jones
Katie Rowley Jones has most recently been seen playing the role of Nessarose in the original London cast of Wicked. Having gained a degree in Law from the University of Nottingham, Katie trained in Musical Theatre at the Guildford School of Acting.
Shortly after graduating she made her professional debut playing the role of Swallow in Whistle Down the Wind (UK tour). Other credits include Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (UK tour), Janet in the 30th Anniversary production of the Rocky Horror Show (Queen’s Theatre and UK tour) and Sandy in Grease for EC1 International (Larnaca open air Theatre, Cyprus).