A father and son duo are bringing a galaxy of showbiz stars to Brentwood to make it the premier entertainment destination in Essex.
Former comedian Michael Lee Taylor and his actor-turned-promoter son James have joined forces to entice top performers and the very best renowned tribute shows to Brentwood Live, the new music hub in Essex.
Household names like comics Al Murray, Russell Kane and Jimmy Carr will rub shoulders with some of the world’s best-known tribute acts like ‘Fastlove’, which features Joseph Sansome as George Michael and was the biggest selling tribute show in Europe last year.
Entertainers, Michael and James’s company, is now becoming a household name with shows in every major theatre in the land, with shows such as The Magic of Motown, You Win Again and Islands in the Stream.
And James said: “It’s amazing because I’ve come full circle – my father brought the Four Tops and the Temptations to the Brentwood Centre when I was just 4 years old and he took me along. Now 30 years on I’m the person putting on the shows.”
The dynamic duo have pumped over half a million pounds into renovating the former Brentwood Centre with state of the art display screens, lighting, tech, updates to the venue and advertisement boards showcasing the upcoming shows and now partnering up with Eventim, Europe’s biggest ticket agency.
Michael said: “The skies the limit! We are really excited for the future of Brentwood Live and bringing the venue back to its former glory.”
Harold Hill, born Michael, now 69, said: “The transformation of our business is truly amazing. Since James got on board we have shot up from doing 200 shows a year to 1000 and we are now sending shows all over Europe and to America and Canada. Fastlove for instance has sold over 150,000 tickets in 15 different countries.
“I’ve always known that James was a talented actor with a love for music but seeing his creative side in creating the ‘Fastlove’ show and his promotional skills to match has been a revelation.
“Thanks to his hard work the company I set up singlehandedly back in 1994 is now the biggest in the country in the tribute show space and now with our first venue, Brentwood Live, bringing entertainment back to Essex is really exciting for us, creating jobs and giving people somewhere to go and see shows and performers in their local area”.
In recent years the formerly known Brentwood Centre had become better known as a boxing venue as the entertainment side of the business dwindled to almost nothing.
Now the 2000 seater venue on Doddinghurst road has been revamped with brand new seats, updated toilets, a new fitted floor plans to expand further and the Entertainers have taken on 27 extra staff to cope with the massive demand.
As a teenager James was the resident DJ for West Ham Football Club, later spun discs at the exclusive Shoreditch House before embarking on an acting career in New York and Los Angeles, starring alongside Gabrielle Union in hit BET show Being Mary Jane,
James, who has moved back to Brentwood to help revamp the new company added: “The last three years have been like a whirlwind and I’m working 24/7 but loving every minute of it!
“I’ve have just launched my latest production called ‘Lost in Music’ we had the opening night in Glasgow and it was crazy, I’ve never seen a crowd go as wild as they did at any show, they were singing from the first beat.
“It features a fantastic cast singing the hits of Chic, Diana Ross, Gloria Gaynor, Sister Sledge, Chaka Khan and Earth Wind & Fire.
It’s going all over the UK and coming to us here in Brentwood in March – my plan is to develop it into a West End show.”
“Our company ethos is to bring high quality, affordable shows to local venues across the country.
“Dad and I work non-stop to create the shows we do and keep all the plates spinning. We have taken tribute shows to the mainstream and they are classy, stylish and full-on productions.
“In our first autumn season at Brentwood Live we have some amazing talent coming to us including Jimmy Carr who has already sold out two nights of 2000 people, Russell Kane, Al Murray, hit show – What’s Love got to do with it, An Audiences with West Ham Legends, Thank you for the Music, The Drifters and Luther.”