The Sunday Session at Hong Kong’s leading live music venue, The Wanch, was spiced up last Sunday July 24, 2016 with appearances by Aussie film and musical theatre writer and director, the impresario Frank Howson.
The Sunday Session acts as a scoop for the cream of Filipino musical talent in Hong Kong where they proliferate throughout the entire live music scene in Hong Kong’s 5 star hotels, restaurants, pubs and clubs. They come to create a warm and convivial party atmosphere for the one day a week off for foreign domestic workers who for the other six days of the week, slave away to earn a paltry income most of which is repatriated back home to support their families. This is their day to let their hair down and have some fun relaxing from the rigors of their daily toil. Fortunately they have a chance to do with a some of the best musicians in town.
Frank Howson certainly quickened the pace and added greatly to the sense of excitement all were experiencing when the spotlight fell upon him as he fronted Armando Cada’s band, Armie and Friends. Having appeared at the Wanch four or five times over the past few years during his visits to Hong Kong, the dance floor was flooded with those familiar with his musical style as they danced and jived to his impressive singing.
Later he returned to the stage to front a group of very tight professional musicians, Benji Del Santos’ The FRC Band (Folk Country Rock). Benji’s group specialise with some of the classic sounds of the 70s and 80s ranging from Eagles, James Brown, Lynyrd Sknyrd, Beatles, Clapton, Bee Gees, Dire Straits etc. Once again, Frank had the joint arockin’, especially with a reggae version of the Bob Dylan classic, ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’. The audience was eating out of his hand as a supplicating communion of souls danced in tune with the musical message of seeking forgiveness and understanding for their sins. He had tapped into a strong theme not lost on a predominantly waxed, wavering and those still firmly entrenched, Catholic Filipino audience, and he hit gold!
Frank Howson is currently in Hong Kong to tie up some loose ends before the premier of his new musical extravaganza which is soon to hit Sydney like a tsunami, along with exploring some new creative endeavours he has on the go. In fact Frank Howson is entering into a new golden age where many of his past pursuits that have been relegated to a back room, have been brought out into the sunshine, dusted off, and are suddenly starting to pay off big time.
These include Frank Howson being sought out by an international film distributor who is taking his latest film, “Remembering Nigel” to Cannes Film Festival this year and distributing internationally his backlist of films along with actively promoting ‘Nigel’. He has just had a new book published. His musical, “From Genesis to Broadway” is doing just that. Negotiations are underway to have it finally staged on Broadway. Plus lots of other creative new veins have been taking place in his life especially with a range of new musical projects he has been working on, and music videos he has produced for other performers. And lots more, far too extensive to cover here.
Of course the cream of the crop has to be the new musical stage play, Dream Lover, he has co-written with his cousin, the internationally famous writer, director, broadcaster and actor John Michael Howson. Due for release in Sydney in September this year, this musical with a sensational cast of over 40 top performers, covers the life of the extraordinary story of legendary singer, songwriter and actor Bobby Darin. Starring David Campbell, Caroline O’Connor, Hannah Fredericksen, Bert LaBonte, Martin Crewes and Marney McQueen and directed by Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert – The Musical), the show presents great hits from the 50s and 60s including Mack The Knife, Beyond the Sea and the multi-million-seller Dream Lover. This musical captures the glamour and passion of the big band era, the Rat Pack in Vegas and the Golden Age of Hollywood – a time of trail-blazing stars, knock-out fashions and life-changing events. As well a sensational cast, with over 40 on stage including an 18-piece big band, Dream Lover – The Bobby Darin Musical is a big show with a big score and a big heart. http://dreamlover.com.au/