WEST End star Margaret Preece says she owes an awful lot to Solihull.
Born and bred in the borough, the soprano got her start in local operatic societies, and has gone on from there to best-selling shows.
Now she’s getting ready to return to her home-town, in a tribute to one of her musical heroes – Richard Rodgers.
“Why has his music lasted? Because good music does, and he is one of the greatest composers of them all,” she tells the Solihull News.
“He was lucky, of course, to work with two of the finest lyricists of the time – Lorenz Hart, and Oscar Hammerstein II.
“And the songs tell good stories. If you take a show like Oklahoma, it was absolutely ground-breaking at the time.”
And Margaret’s certainly no stranger to his work, having appeared in The Sound of Music – arguably his most famous production.
“I had a fantastic time playing the Mother Abbess, in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version, that was tremendous fun.
“But my first experience was when I was very young. I played a snow child in Carousel!”
Now she’s bringing her show, featuring some of Rodgers’ greatest numbers, to Solihull Arts Complex.
“It’s always nice to come back to Solihull, it’s very much where my roots are,” said the former Tudor Grange pupil.
“Though I had to move away for work, it’s still the place where it all started, and I have many friends
in the area.”
It will be a mini-break for Margaret, who’s currently touring in the stage-version of Victoria Wood’s sitcom, Dinnerladies.
“They’ve very kindly given me a night-off so I can perform in Solihull, I’m dashing up after a show in Ipswich.”
* Isn’t it Romantic? visits Solihull on May 18, starting at 7.30pm. For tickets call 0121 704 6962.