Show Notes

#37: When the Booth Goes Bright – Interview with Michael Fentiman

As Amélie the musical’s creative team prepared for a UK premiere at the Watermill Theatre, they knew the quirky show needed a transformation from the Broadway version. Enter director Michael Fentiman. Today, Mike sits down with host Sally Fuller to share how he collaborated with the writers to refocus the musical, leading to an Olivier Award-nominated run with a Grammy Award-nominated cast recording to boot. 

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About our guest…

Michael trained as an actor at Bretton Hall and as a director at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. 

In 2020 Michael was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album for the Amélie the Musical Original London Cast Recording and the production was nominated for three Olivier Awards including Best New Musical.

Theatre includes The Windsors: Endgame (Prince of Wales Theatre); Amélie the Musical (Criterion Theatre/The Other Palace/Watermill Theatre/UK Tour); The Importance of Being Earnest (Vaudeville Theatre); The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, Ahasverus (Royal Shakespeare Company); CinderELLA: A New Musical (Nuffield Southampton Theatres, also writer of Book and co-writer of Lyrics);  Valued Friends (Rose Theatre Kingston); The Taming of the Shrew (Sherman Theatre/Tron Theatre);  The Last Days of Anne Boleyn (Historic Royal Palaces/Tower of London); Loot (Park Theatre/Watermill Theatre);  Babe, the Sheep-Pig (Polka Theatre/UK Tour); The War Has Not Yet Started (Drum Theatre, Plymouth); Minotaur (Clwyd Theatr Cymru/Polka Theatre); Raising Martha (Park Theatre);  Crackers (Belgrade Coventry); Spoonface Steinberg (Clwyd Theatr Cymru/Glasgow Citizens/UK Tour); East (UK Tour); Ajax (Cyprus Ampitheatre Tour); The Comedy of Errors, Robin Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk (Cambridge Arts Theatre); Clybourne Park, In Arabia We’d All Be Kings (RADA); Road, Punk Rock, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Motortown (RWCMD); Sweeney Todd (RAM/Theatre Royal Stratford East).

Short Film includes Watching Rosie, starring Miriam Margolyes.  

Events: A Feast with the Gods, By Royal Command (Almeida Theatre); Shakespeare Shaken (RADA); Opening Ceremony of the RST (Royal Shakespeare Company).


  • The UK version of Amélie rocks our socks off. Take a listen to the original cast recording here!
  • Remember when I was obsessed with Amélie last year and wrote a review of the album? Read that here!
  • Our favs: Watermill Theatre, Criterion Theatre, West End, Six the musical, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Les Miserables, The Other Palace Theatre, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sean Patrick Flahaven, Olivier Awards, Concord Theatricals, Audrey Brisson, Grammy Awards, Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Samantha Barks, Phillipa Soo, Craig Lucas, Daniel Messé, Nathan Tysen, Sioned Saunders, Anton Chekhov, Caolan McCarthy, A Chorus Line, Wicked, 42nd Street, The Phantom of the Opera, John Doyle, Patti LuPone, Sweeney Todd, Once, Queen’s Theatre, Matthew James Hinchliffe, Barnaby Race, Johnson Willis, The Lion King, Once, Come from Away, Girl From the North Country, Hamilton, Piaf, Zaz, Yann Tiersen
  • Special thanks to Peachy Corners Cafe and Roam for being the best editing offices.
  • BGP would not be possible without behind-the-scenes team members Thomas Fuller and Elise Friderich.

Bonus Gallery

Photo credit: Pamela Raith photography

Bonus Videos

For the budding theatre fans

Watch my favorite song from the show, “When the Booth Goes Bright”!

Watch a bigger version of this video on Facebook here:

For the fangirls

As Mike mentioned, here’s the video of Matt Hinchliffe flexing his actor muso talents to the nth degree!

For the die-hards

And here’s a taste of all of the best songs, performed by the original UK cast!


When he mentioned the cast members having babies, he alluded to some of them coupling up, but the moment passed before I could get to the bottom of what he meant. Co-stars Audrey Brisson and Chris Jared, who play Amélie and Nino, respectively, are a couple and have a baby whose middle name is Amelia. Please enjoy this video of the couple playing and singing to their sweet little girl!

I had to look up the term “actor-muso” when I reviewed Amelie back in November, but it means that the actors are the orchestra and play instruments on stage.

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