Stephanie McKeon and Samantha Barks are starring as Ana and Elsa in the West End production of Frozen the Musical at Theatre Royal Drury Lane and both of them have released new music!
Dublin born Stephanie McKeon’s debut EP ‘Here I Go’ features a selection of songs that she feels a “deeply personal connection to.” Perhaps further intensifying her personal connection to the music is the fact that it was produced by Stephanie’s husband — critically acclaimed musician and multi-instrumentalist — Kyle Riabko.
“The focus of this EP is Steph’s beautiful voice,” says Riabko. “The calmness, the ease, the intimacy of it. To hear Steph sing is to fall in love with her — literally, in my case! This EP was an opportunity to encapsulate that sensation and share it with the rest of the world.”
The couple met when they both starred in the West End production of ‘Close To You: Bacharach Reimagined’ — a musical celebration of Burt Bacharach’s songbook with fresh arrangements by Kyle Riabko. The Original West End cast recording, which features McKeon, was also produced by Riabko.
Describing the sound of her new EP, Stephanie says, “I really wanted to play with a sort of timeless vibe throughout the record — recording songs from various time periods and wrapping them in an homage to some of my favourite artists of the 70s, including Fleetwood Mac/ Stevie Nicks, The Carpenters and Carole King.”
The title for the EP is a lyric from the first track — Dolly Parton’s 1977 hit ‘Here You Come Again’ (which was co-written by Cynthia Weil, the real-life inspired character who Stephanie portrayed in the West End production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, back in 2017).
Another significant track is McKeon’s fresh and contemporary take on ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye,’ from Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Sunset Boulevard.
While the original was a haunting ballad about a star of the screen making her comeback, McKeon sang the song with a different kind of comeback in mind: “This song resonates with all performers making a return to the stage, and it’s arguably more meaningful than ever as we come together for theatre’s long awaited return following the Coronavirus pandemic,” McKeon says. “The song contains the entire spectrum of emotions we’re all feeling as we re-enter the theatre — excitement, anxiety, self-doubt, and a little bit of pining for the way the world once was.”
Other tracks on her EP are ‘Something Good’ (The Sound Of Music), ‘Stay’ (featuring Kyle Riabko), and ‘God Only Knows’ (The Beach Boys).
Samantha Barks releases her new studio album on Westway Music, a new music and film platform dedicated to the music of theatre, from London’s West End through to New York’s Broadway and beyond. Samantha’s award-winning performance in the film adaptation of Les Misérables earned her international acclaim and lead to her performing at the Academy Awards.
She recently made her Broadway debut playing the role of Vivian (made famous by Julia Roberts) in the musical Pretty Woman, opening to rave reviews for her performance.
Into the Unknown focuses on modern musicals, and Samantha has chosen 12 of her favourite tracks from shows and films that she has seen in recent years. The album showcases why Samantha is one of the most sought-after performers on both sides of the pond. Stand out tracks include Heart of Stone (SIX), Let Me Be Your Star (SMASH), a duet with her Frozen co-star Stephanie McKeon, and the title track Into the Unknown (FROZEN 2).
‘I wanted to really celebrate musical theatre with some of my favourite songs from shows and musical films I have seen and loved recently. I wanted to focus on more modern musicals as we really are in a fantastic new ‘Golden Era’ of musical theatre with composers such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Pasek & Paul, Glen Ballard and not forgetting of course the writers of ‘Frozen’ Robert Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez who have been taking Broadway by storm these past 10 years!’
Other tracks on the album include Never Enough (The Greatest Showman), Waving Through a Window and Only Us (Feat. Ramin Karimloo) from Dear Evan Hansen, I’d Rather be Me (Mean Girls), With You (Ghost), Falling Slowly (Once) and Mary Jane (Jagged Little Pill).