Some shows are very clever with their marketing and the ones with a cult following are able to produce and sell some truly magnificent and somewhat bizarre nuggets of memorabilia. Here is a list of top five must have items of mad musical theatre apparel.
1. The Poster
I have a huge collection of these dating back about 20 years. I don't actually have them on the walls of course. They are carefully hoarded in protective tubes and never looked at. My favourites are the old ones that had the cast named on them, so are much more rare. I still covet theatre posters although now buy very few. I would love to get my hands on one of the new giant Les Miserables posters that have started popping up around London.
2. The T-Shirt
With so many West End revivals this year, like fashions that come around again, I have been able to don some of my vintage Dewynters classic threads. My favourite has to be my eighties Cats t-shirt. Way too big so it would go over my tights and leg warmers and look like a dress, the wonderful logo is so iconic on the front with the classic cats eyes on the back. I also love my Les Miserables t-shirt which simply has the numbers 24601 on the chest. It's an instant conversation starter and really sorts the men from the boys when it comes to knowing your musicals. I would love to buy a Book Of Mormon t-shirt baring a particular phase from one of the songs but I'm just too much of a coward.
3. The Programme
How many of us buy programmes and then pack them away never to be looked at again? I have literally hundreds, some of which are even signed by big stars like Kerry Ellis, Dianne Pilkington and Ruthie Henshall. I occasionally get them out and have a trawl through the cast lists from the really old ones. It's interesting to see how some of the biggest stars started out. For example, I saw James Cordon in Martin Guerre when he was a child. I also saw Craig Revel Horward many years ago in the original production of Miss Saigon.
4. The Stage Prop
I have to admit that this is where my theatre geek goes into over load. Getting your hands on replicas of items used for your favourite shows is the height of cool. I have some Wizamania glasses from Wicked and some coconut shells from Spamalot. I would love to get hold of a Phantom of the Opera mask, or a Glinda wand but the item at the top of my wish list would have to be Elphaba's broom.
5. Random Logo Items
These are the things you 'need' just because they have the logo. Wicked used to do a brilliant umbrella exhibiting Madame Morrible's line 'Careful dear you mustn't get wet' on the canopy and the Broadway production do socks with Glinda on one and Elphaba on the other. Mary Poppins did a fantastic umbrella too, with the famous parrot handle. Cats at the London Palladium are offering face painting before the show and you can buy a special Cats face painting kit from the stand.
So, what's it all about? Why do these collectables appeal to us so much? I believe it's about supporting your team like a football fan, wearing your colours to show you belong. Cats have been selling lanyards baring the words 'Cats Jellicle Tribe member' and I think this really helps to sum it up.
What have you got? As you can tell, I'm fanatical about all things musical theatre and would love to hear about your bizarre items of memorabilia.