In the second act of the musical "42nd St", the decisive turning-point is reached when producer Julian Marsh convinces Peggy Sawyer to cancel her train back to hometown Allentown and return to star in his show by reminding her of "the two most glorious words in the English language - musical comedy!"
Mr. Marsh may have overstated his case, but not by much...and during "42nd St", it's very hard not to believe that he's actually right. Lawton conducted a major touring production of this glorious musical in Vienna in 1991, assisting music director Stephen Bates.
Vienna has been an important center for musical theater in Europe since the late-80s, and it was here that he also conducted long-run "first-class" German language productions of "Les Misérables", "Phantom of the Opera", "Dance of the Vampires" and "Chicago". After "Chicago" left Vienna, he served as its music director in Berlin, Munich, Basel and Düsseldorf.
Following a half-year in 1994 as music director and conductor of the Dutch-language "Cyrano" in Amsterdam's Royal Carre Theater, Lawton conducted and helped prepare the first German-language production of "Miss Saigon" in Stuttgart. Five years after having left Amsterdam the chance came about to present the first German-language production of "Cyrano" at the summer festival in Schwäbisch Hall. A cd featuring the most important music from this musical was released.
Productions he conducted at Berlin's Theater des Westens were "Pirates of Penzance", "A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum" and "Chicago"; in Saarbrücken "West Side Story", "Jesus Christ Superstar", "Blood Brothers" and, in December 2002, "Les Miserables"; in Aachen "West Side Story" and in Trier "My Fair Lady" and "Show Boat".
At the summer festival in Bad Gandersheim, a small historic city on the western edge of the Harz Mountains, I led "La cage aux folles" in 2005. Parallel to this, director Olaf Strieb worked together (as author) on a new music theatre "whodunnit" about Lorenzo DaPonte entitled "Mozart in Manhattan" In 2006 we worked together on "The Rocky Horror Show".
Musicals conducted in performance: