Born in 1942, Brian later attended Archbishop Tennyson's School in Croydon and his first (and only) job was with Chappell’s the music publishers, leaving when The Hi-
In 1980 Bryan wrote the music and collaborated with Jeremy Browne, who was a professional script writer. This was to produce a musical based on the legend of Sinbad the Sailor which they called “Splash”. A band was formed for the production called the Bagdad Big Band (Bryan Bennett MD/keyboards-
This was then performed June 30th to July 4th 1980. He was very enthusiastic about this work at CYTO and felt it was important that professionals should always be prepared to give their time and talent, to promote the cause of the musical theatre amongst the young.
He joined The Hi-
After The Hi-
He went on to work with various singers including;-
John Rowles -
Dusty Springfield as a member of her regular backing group The Echoes 1969-
Gladys Knight & The Pips;-
Ami Macdonald (the original one, not Scottish singer Amy Macdonald.);-
He was also closely associated with Patti Boulaye after she won the talent show
New faces and toured extensively with her as her Musical Director we think for 18
months. Also around this period he was at
The Lakeside with Tommy Cooper.
These included the original Godspell production with David Essex and Jeremy Irons, lasting a year. Follow the Star for Jim Parker at The Festival Theatre, Chichester, with Keith Michelle. (Just for interest, he once played in Westminster Cathedral on the massive organ there, which he found very scary, it was when he was associated with Jim Parker and Keith Michelle ). He did several shows written by Jim Parker and there was also a couple of LP's involved which Brian played on I think it was Captain Beaky which was written by legendary script writer Jeremy Lloyd.(he has a website which sells this CD)
Jesus Christ Superstar.
Piaf, with the original girl singer Raquel Bitton.
My Fair Lady.
A number of Hair revivals.
Three productions of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. That was for the Ashcroft Theatre
at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls. (Including the first all-
When he was offered the job as Musical Director on the road for the touring production of “Hair” possibly 1970 (which lasted more than a year), That touring company was amazing, it turned out a lot of stars like Joan Armatrading, Paul Nicholas, Paul Barber, Trevor Byfield, Patricia Hodge and Richard O'Brien (who later wrote and starred in The Rocky Horror Show and the TV series The Crystal Maze). Brian took his first steps into Musical Theatre; later in 1974 a further spell with Hair was at Her Majesty’s Theatre, possibly for the 25th anniversary of “Hair” Subsequently Brian became M.D for many shows both in the West End, touring and abroad.
Most years in common with working musicians there were the inevitable pantomimes maybe 12 or more where Brian worked with many famous stars of the day. He was also a regular at the Theatre Royal, Norwich, where he enjoyed a very happy working relationship with the late Dick Condon, involved in pantomime and summer shows. During the years in Croydon, Bryan worked with CYTO (Croydon Youth Theatre Org) Mr R.Willis-
The Shoestring Theatre in Boston Road, Thornton Heath, now residential.
Eventually he and his wife Paula, together with his sons Simon and Matthew moved to Bournemouth, where Brian continued doing pantomimes and summer shows both in Bournemouth, The Pavilion and Southampton at The Mayflower. Eventually he formed a band called Manhattan around 1995. They made some CD's and performed in local hotels and ballrooms and as a resident band with numerous members at Pontins in Weymouth. He devoted his life to music and continued doing the job he loved, at which he excelled right up until his death in 1999.
NB. Thanks to Paula Bennett for providing the details for this profile, but cannot confirm the order or dates when events happened. If anyone can provide further details, pictures and in particular the shows then please make contact through the website.
A rare picture of Brian not sitting at the piano but harmonising with Vern Rogers probably the Everly Brothers No1 hit Cathy’s Clown.
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