“Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! - Heathcliff
About the Show
Cathy: A Retelling of Wuthering Heights is a musical reimagining of Emily Bronte’s classic. Focusing mainly on Heathcliff and Cathy’s romance, this retelling follows the Shakespearean model of tragedy, emphasising the devastation of Cathy’s death and Heathcliff’s obsession for revenge. The musical takes place over a 24 hour timeline, including a series of flashbacks in the first act, speeding up through the second act, and culminating in a dramatic ending reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet. The production is split almost 50/50 between spoken word and song, with an entirely original score while retaining as much of Bronte’s own words as possible through the script. The cast is limited to five characters (Cathy, Heathcliff, Nelly, Hindley, and Edgar) with each being represented in the band, being a piano quintet (piano, 2 violins, viola, and cello). This limited casting decision helps retain the intimacy of the story – which involves incredibly personal dramas – whilst the production simultaneously attempts to capture the epic nature of the themes involved through the poetry of the script and the musical aesthetic. The set and the costumes are deliberately stark and simple in order to complement the complexity of the script and music.
The show had its first run at the Corpus Playroom (managed by the ADC theatre) at the University of Cambridge, selling out on most nights; it also received glowing reviews, including a 5 star review from The Cambridge Student, stating ‘this musical is a highly moving production, brilliantly depicting the tragedy and passion of Brontë’s novel’ , and another review from Varsity writing that ‘the show is a triumph of dramatic and musical talent’.
Bascom's goal in writing this musical was to fill the void in musical theatre between music that is considered ‘high art’ and that which is ‘commercial’, and he hopes to take the vision far beyond Cambridge to Edinburgh, London, and beyond.
About the Composer
Michael Bascom is a final year music student at St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge. Being his college’s first ever resident undergraduate in music, he created the St Edmund’s College Music Society, through which he produced the debut run of his musical, Cathy: A Retelling of Wuthering Heights. Prior to coming Cambridge Bascom was educated at Tonbridge School in Kent, before moving to the USA where he was involved with various theatres and had two pieces commissioned for the state classical radio station.
Upon returning to the UK, he joined the London-based chamber choir, Canticum, performing at various venues, including The Barbican and St. Martin-in-the-Fields; he also received a commission for the London Concert Choir which was performed at Cadogan Hall in 2015. In 2016 he began his undergraduate degree at the University of Cambridge, and in November 2018 premiered Cathy to phenomenal success, receiving rave reviews and selling out on most nights.
Michael is also a keen performer, having played piano since he was eight, and singing with one of the university’s big bands, Fitz Swing. Outside of music, Michael’s interests include painting, food, and travelling whenever he can.