Sam Kenyon studied English Literature at Cambridge University before training in Musical Theatre at the Royal Academy of Music.
Sam is the Writer, Lyricist and Composer for MISS LITTLEWOOD, a major new musical exploring the life story of Joan Littlewood, which opened at the RSC in 2018.
Composing credits include: VICE VERSA (Composer: RSC); A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM: A PLAY FOR THE NATION (Composer: RSC); THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE (Composer/Arranger/Additional Lyrics: RSC); THE GLASS SLIPPER (Composer/Additional Lyrics: Northern Stage); THE BORROWERS (Composer/Lyrics: Northern Stage, Winner of Best Show for Children & Young People, UK Theatre Awards 2013); BEST FRIENDS & BUTTERFLIES (Lyricist: Winner of Best Show for Young People at the 2000 Vivian Ellis Awards). Sam was commissioned by the BBC to write a verse-narration book for Kurt Weill & Ira Gershwin’s THE FIREBRAND OF FLORENCE (Barbican Theatre/Capriccio Records).
Directing credits include: HOW THE VOTE WAS WON (Union Theatre); OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR (Co-director: Northern Stage & National Tour, nominated for Best Musical Production and Best Performances in a Musical TMA Awards 2011).
As Musical Supervisor: PLAYING FOR TIME (Composer/Lyricist/Musical Supervisor: Sheffield Crucible); CLOSE THE COALHOUSE DOOR (Northern Stage & National Tour); SWALLOWS & AMAZONS (Bristol Old Vic, West End & National Tour); OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR (Northern Stage & National Tour).
Performing credits include MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG (Watermill Theatre); AMADEUS (Wilton’s Music Hall); SWEENEY TODD (Watermill & West End); SUNSET BOULEVARD (Comedy Theatre, West End); AS YOU LIKE IT (Young Vic & Wyndham’s); LES JUSTES & ION (The Gate); MACBETH & THE OTHELLO MUSIC (BAC).
MISS LITTLEWOOD lands on her feet at (the other) Stratford
With book, music & lyrics by Sam Kenyon and Design by Tom Piper, MISS LITTLEWOOD has been storming the stage in Stratford in its premiere with the RSC.
“I felt the hairs stand on end at the back of my neck – as when I watched Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly's Matilda for the first time… this is an anarchic delight in the style of Miss Littlewood herself.”
The Reviews Hub ★★★★1/2
“Clare Burt is a delight as Joan Littlewood, engaging with the audience and bringing them into the production. On the way through she enlists the help of six other ‘Joans’, each representing a different stage in her life – or maybe different aspects of her multi-faceted personality“
Evening Standard ★★★★
“The Royal Shakespeare Company’s own remarkable woman, deputy artistic director Erica Whyman, is here the most confident of ringmasters, marshalling a jaunty and fluid production, in which the songs, often music hall-inflected, arrive in tantalising snippets."
The Times ★★★★
“The masterstroke of the writer and composer Sam Kenyon is to tell this great theatrical figure’s story in the muscularly informal and informative manner of such Littlewood shows as Oh! What a Lovely War.”
“Different sets keep emerging from under the replica of the proscenium arch of the other Stratford theatre (great work from the designer Tom Piper).”
“Kenyon’s songs are ingenious”
The Stage ★★★★
“The sight of all the Joans together is a delight – a stage dominated by women of all ages still feels like a radical act.”
The Guardian ★★★★
“His songs also remind us that she regarded music as a vital component of theatre. In Stratford East, at the start of the second half, is a delightful hymn to the rat-ridden palace of varieties that she and Raffles turned into a theatrical mecca. A later song, A Little Bit of Business, is full of the pluck and cheek that shows why Barbara Windsor immediately became one of the discerning Littlewood’s great discoveries.”
Broadway World UK ★★★★
“Kenyon is at his best in capturing the joie de vivre of a troupe of actors, creatives and technicians coming together to re-invent theatre as an art form either side of the War. Joan is very much the alpha female, calling the shots and providing the radical political underpinning for the collective.”
Tom Piper and Sam Kenyon open A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM in Stratford
The RSC have embarked on an ambitious and unique touring production of Shakespeare’s much-loved comedy, working with local amateur groups across the UK to create a “Play for the Nation”. Directed by Erica Whyman, with Design by Tom Piper and Music by Sam Kenyon, A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM plays in Stratford until 16th July 2016 before touring.
The Guardian ★★★★
“dusted with magic, glee and a sense that we can dream a better world”
“other meanings are delivered via Tom Piper’s design that offers a bombed-out theatre and 1940s costumes”
“replaced by the vivid colours of the Hindu festival Holi, the sound of destruction by the jazzy beat of a new era as spring arrives in a shower of rose petals.”
The Times ★★★★
“a roaring success”
The Evening Standard ★★★★
“clear, striking and, crucially, witty
“something that will appeal both to newcomers to the transformative powers of this magic-filled forest and to those who have long been accustomed to its beguiling beauty.”
“A jovial band at each side of the stage adds to the levity of the Forties setting — oh, those lovely frocks! — which unfolds under a bombed-out proscenium arch.”
“The nation is in for a treat.”
The Reviews Hub ★★★★
“Tom Piper’s war-torn brick background is pushed to the back to make room for rose petals, red drapes and twinkling lights for the final scene which are very effective with school children dressed as evacuees with smatterings of multi-coloured dust on their clothes intended to signify hope and new beginnings.”
“the jazz interludes performed live by musicians at the side of the stage add some sizzle.”
“out of the ordinary, that little bit special”
“truly is a play for the nation”