Joe Stilgoe celebrates the music of film

Singer, pianist and entertainer Joe Stilgoe brings his love of film to the stage in the Minerva Theatre, Chichester, on December 4 at 7.45pm.


Songs On Film pays tribute to much-loved movies as film buff Joe raids his collection and adds his own original and stylish orchestrations to some of the most memorable moments in cinematic history.

“It’s the first tour of the show which started in the London Jazz Festival a couple of years ago,” says Joe. “I did it in the St James Theatre. They just asked me to do something a bit different, and that’s a great brief. The stuff I had done before had been Joe Stilgoe concerts and jazz clubs mainly, but the jazz festival wanted something a little bit unusual for them, and I came up with this idea. Obviously it is nothing ground-breaking, but the way I put it together was quite personal. Rather than selecting just the older choices, I have gone for things as well like Pixar and the Muppets. My main love is the films of the 40s and 50s, the Gene Kelly films, Rodgers & Hammerstein, even the earlier films with Charlie Chaplin, but to do just that would alienate a lot of people. I would be really stuck in that bracket, but I grew up in the 80s and I wanted to include that as well. We will have a big 80s medley. There was some great music, things like Ghostbusters and Top Gun.”

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The key then became the ordering of the material and its presentation: “I am always thinking about my approach to performing. I want the audience to be entertained. That’s the main thing. I begin with a solo overture, and that gets the audience aware of what I am doing, and then the band comes in. We go through things like Tarantino and Bacharach, and I have done these little films, playing various characters being pianists. We are really pulling out all the stops on this tour. We have been really thinking about the audience.”

It comes as Joe’s career continues to flourish.

“There is a bit more riding on this, with maybe slightly more expensive tickets and with the reputation and trying to get people to come to see it. I just feel that this needs to be a great, great show. You just never know. I am still just the organ-grinder. There is no way I would ever let a bit of success go to my head... partly because I have got a young family. That always brings me back down to earth. My daughter is a year and a half. She is right in thick of being a toddler! So there is equal pressure and relief about performing. I have got to provide for a family growing up.”

The family lives in Hove: “I was shooting around London for ages. My wife and I moved to Chiswick and then we moved down to Hove, and we love it.

“I just love being by the sea and that sense of being in a community. Hove is a bit more space than Brighton. Brighton is a bit more like living outside of London. We are really happy here. And I feel that the family does take away some of it being just like me working for myself. It gives me an incentive to really do good work that has to be meaningful if it takes you away from the family.”

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