Molly & Monroe deluxe CD with a 16-page booklet (£12.99)
Spearheaded by Katja Rosenberg, London’s curatorial service Art Catcher Ltd is very proud to present the new musical project “Molly & Monroe”, telling the life story of the German 1920s dance artists Walther and Hedwig Flechtheim aka Monroe & Molly. The couple was active and celebrated on many stages, but particularly in the North Rhine - Westphalian spa town of Bad Oeynhausen.
Walther was the son of a Jewish merchants’ family and Hedwig the daughter of an instrument maker. Together they had been living the bohemian lifestyle of travelling artists before getting employment in Bad Oeynhausen in 1919. The following 15 years proved to be as successful as they were interspersed with constant challenges. During the early thirties Walther fought to keep his right to work which was challenged due to his Jewish family background, and finally in 1933 he lost that battle. The pair emigrated to Britain and settled in London where they opened a bed & breakfast place for performance artists at 194 Brixton Road.
A lost piece of European history comes to life in a dramatic musical spectacle: the tale of Molly & Monroe - a couple whose lives capture both the glamour of the roaring twenties, and stoic bravery in the face of the Nazi regime. A pan-European collaboration between musicians, writers and historians, A Dance Across Time sings the twentieth century through one couple’s love, commitment - and tragedy.
Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. The aspiring young dancer Hedwig Joram and stage artist Walther Flechtheim meet in Berlin. Together, they start a career as the dance act Molly & Monroe. Following an advertisement, the couple move to the spa town of Bad Oeynhausen, where they find success, fame and a place to call home. But during the 1930s the Nazi regime rises and Walther, who is from a Jewish family, loses all work and engagements: he is eventually forced to leave the country. Having sworn lifelong loyalty to one another, Molly follows him to Britain. In a London ravaged by war, the pair manage to build a new existence.
Their remarkable story was brought to light by the historian Rico Quaschny, fellow native of Bad Oeynhausen. When working as the town’s archivist, he was tasked with solving the mystery of an unknown dancer. Doing so led to the discovery of these forgotten dancers - once legends in their own right - and their journey from rural Germany, to Berlin, to London, as Europe was consumed by war.
Lyrics: Rosi Saaksmeier
Music and Arrangements: Catherine Kontz
With Manuela Schuette (voice), Angharad Davies (violin), Tom Jackson (clarinets), Milos Milivojevic (accordion), Rick Leigh (flugelhorn, trumpet) Anssi Växby (double bass) and Catherine Kontz (piano). Recorded by Mikko Gordon at Goldsmiths Music Studios. Mixed by Henri Växby.
1 Hommage an den Tanz (Hommage to Dancing)
2 Seelenverwandt (Soul Mates)
3 Kriegsjahre (The War Years)
4 Bad Oeynhausen
5 Dunkle Wolken (Dark Clouds)
6 Verloren (Lost)
7 Zusammen (Together)
8 Das Haus an der Brixton Road (The House on Brixton Road)
9 Abschied (Farewell)
10 Näherei des Lebens (The Sewing of Life)