Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

London Stage Musicals - 24 February 2011

London’s West End has established itself as the centre for millions of visitors – and for many it’s the quality of our stage musicals that attracts them.

Royal Mail has chosen to mark the London Musicals by an issue of 6 stamps which use a combination of posters and performance photographs.  This is the issue which was postponed from 2010.

Oliver London Musicals stamp.Blood Brothers London Musicals stamp.  We will rock you London Musicals stamp.Spamalot London Musicals stamp. 
Rocky Horror Show London Musicals stamp.Me and My Girl, London Musicals stamp. Return to the Forbidden Planet London Musicals stamp.Billy Elliot, London Musicals stamp.

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1st class:
Blood Brothers
We Will Rock You
Monty Python's Spamalot

The Rocky Horror Show
Me and My Girl
Return to the Forbidden Planet
Billy Elliot

How did Britain become the place to see a good musical? Music in the theatre has a long and rich history, but it was second half of the twentieth century that the British musical really came into its own.  For many the turning point came in 1960 with Lionel Bart’s Oliver! which fought back against the relentless onslaught of American cinematic musicals and paved the way for other home-grown musicals to follow.

Royal Mail looked back at more than seven decades of popular stage musicals to establish which shows were the most suitable for the set. Criteria included the shows’ origin, writers and composers, longevity and success. A conscious effort was taken to represent the evolving nature of musical theatre, and to include shows based upon successful films and songs from popular artists’ back catalogues.

The stamps in detail

1st Class – Oliver!
With music and lyrics by Lionel Bart, Oliver! first appeared in the West End in 1960, and enjoyed a long run that launched the careers of several child actors. The original London production of Oliver! opened in the New Theatre (now the Noel Coward Theatre) on 30 June, 1960 and ran for 2,618 performances.

1st Class – Blood Brothers
This 1983 musical by Willy Russell is one of the longest-running plays of all time, with the 1988 West End production still running after over 20 years.

1st Class – We Will Rock You
A jukebox musical is based on the songs of Queen and named after their hit single of the same name. The show was written by Ben Elton in collaboration with Brian May and Roger Taylor. Opening in the West End in 2002 it has been extended indefinitely making it the longest running show ever at London’s Dominion theatre.

1st Class – Monty Python’s Spamalot
Music and lyrics by Eric Idle and John Du Prez based on the screenplay of the Pythons’ film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and includes three songs from the 1975 film. The musical tells the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and their quest for the Holy Grail and features a chorus line of dancing divas (and serfs), flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and a legless knight.

97p – The Rocky Horror Show
Written by Richard O’Brien The Rocky Horror Show premiered at the Theatre Upstairs in June 1973, before establishing itself at the Comedy Theatre in the West End until September 1980, closing the play’s initial run of 2,960 performances.

97p – Me and My Girl
Me and My Girl is a musical with book and lyrics by Douglas Furber and L. Arthur Rose and music by Noel Gay. It takes place in the late 1930s in Hampshire, Mayfair, and Lambeth. The musical had a successful original run on the West End in 1937 and very successful revivals in both London and New York in the 1980s. The show stopper, “The Lambeth Walk”, was the subject of a news story in The Times of October 1938: “While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances - to The Lambeth Walk.”

97p – Return to the Forbidden Planet
A jukebox musical by director Bob Carlton based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and the 1950s sci-fi film Forbidden Planet (which itself drew its plot loosely from The Tempest). Return to the Forbidden Planet started life with the Bubble Theatre Company as a production for open-air performance in a tent. A revised version of the musical opened, indoors, at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool in the mid-1980s. It later moved to the Tricycle Theatre in London. After some rework a final version opened the Cambridge Theatre in London’s West End in September 1989.

97p – Billy Elliot
Music by Elton John and lyrics by Lee Hall based on the smash hit film, Billy Elliot. Set in the North East of England against the background of the historic 1984/85 miners’ strike, Billy pursues his passion for dance in secret to avoid disapproval of his struggling family. The show opened in London in May 2005.
Technical details:
The 27 x 37mm stamps are designed by Webb and Webb and printed in lithography by Cartor Security Printing, perf 14, with phosphor bands in sheets of 25/50.
Acknowledgements:  Oliver! – foreground © Catherine Ashmore for OPL, background photograph by Michael Le Poer Trench © Cameron Mackintosh Ltd, logo – TM © OPL 2005; Blood Brothers – Copyright © Bill Kenwright Ltd;
We Will Rock You © Queen Theatrical Productions Ltd; Monty Python’s Spamalot © Ocean Music Ltd & Rutsongs Music – SPAM® is a registered trademark of Hormel Foods Corporation; The Rocky Horror Show – Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show 2006: illustration by, design and artwork by; Me and My Girl © Noel Gay, artwork by Dewynters; Return to the Forbidden Planet – illustration by Garen Ewing © Josef Weinberger Ltd/Bob Carlton; Billy Elliot © Billy London Ltd/David Scheinmann

Products issued

Set of 8 stamps mint
Presentation Pack 
Set of 8 stamp cards
First Day Cover

Special first day of issue postmarks are shown here (not to scale - caannot be obtained after date of use).

official first day postmark showing theatre tickets. official first day postmark illustrated with dancing legs. official non-pictorial Dabcers End postmark. Postmark showing theatre masks. Postmark showing theatre mask .
Ref FD1017
Philatelic Bureau Official First Day postmark.
Ref FD1018
Official Dancers End, Tring, First Day postmark. 
Ref FD1018N
Dancers End non-pictorial FD postmark
Ref L12050
Drury Lane London WC2
Ref L12045 The Heritage Foundation, Maida Vale, London W9, A Tribute to Sir Norman Wisdom
postmark showing theatre stage. Postmark showing Stage Door light. Postmark showing logo ofTheatre Royal St Helens. Postmark showing actress. Postmark showing actress.
Ref L12046 London WC2 Ref L12047 Stage Door, London W1 Ref N12057 St Helens Theatre Royal Ref L12048 Sandy Wilson's The Boy Friend, London W1. Ref L12049 London WC1

Postmark showing actors. Stampex Postmark for Stage Musicals stamps. Postmark showing performer from We Will Rock You. Postmark showing singer and mike. Postmark showing Rocky Horror Show advert as on stamp.
Ref M12053
Oliver Road, Birmingham
Ref L12062  Spring Stampex Musicals First Day of Issue Ref L12063
We Will Rock You, London W1
Ref L12073 - London Ref L12074 - The World's Favourite Rock 'n' Roll Musical Richard O'Brien's Rocky Horror Show, London SW1

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This page updated 23 February 2011

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