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CULTURE: All aboard for a summertime special.

Back in the days of black and white, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland made their early careers in films where they played precociously talented youngsters with mellifluous singing voices who were determined to put on a production.

Confounded at every turn, eventually a barn or some other cavernous and acoustically appropriate space was found and the cry went up "let's do the show right here".

The spirit of those old black and white musicals, as well as the learn-a-new-skill-against-the-clock enthusiasm of shows like Strictly Come Dancing and Musicality, is alive and well at the Alexandra Theatre.

This week a group of precociously talented youngsters with mellifluous singing voices have been practising hard to put on a production of the old Cliff Richard vehicle, Summer Holiday.

The show, which starts on Thursday and runs for three nights only, is the culmination of a project which began back in May when hundreds of young people auditioned for the Clear Channel Stage Experience (formerly the Summer Youth Project).

They were whittled down to 100of the most talented singers, dancers, actors and musicians in the West Midlands.

The Experience is a national scheme, run up and down the country, which is supported by stage celebrities including Ruthie Henshall, Michael Ball, Bonnie Langford, and Honor Blackman.

It gives youngsters the opportunity to see what it is like to appear in a show that is directed, choreographed, designed and marketed by professionals from the world of theatre.

Aspiring actors, directors and stage crew are offered a glimpse of the kind of hard work and commitment it takes to have a career in entertainment.

After surviving the cut back in May, the cast and crew of Summer Holiday have been given only ten days to rehearse ready for opening night tomorrow.

To give the production an extra polish they will be using a proper West End set with the big red London bus made specially for it. The show is on Thursday and Friday at 7.30pm and Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

For details ring the Alex ticket hotline on 0870 607 7544


Summer stars, Holly Turton (18) from Stirchley, Colin Green (19) from Rednal, and Janine Mason (16) from Blackheath
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 24, 2005
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