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The local press was ecstatic, the Norfolk Journal going so far as to declare the show “the theatrical event of the summer.

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He was soon winning medals, and in 1953 went for his first audition with a Soho theatrical agent.In 2001, the year before Marlowe retired, extra performances were added, including three matinees a week, and the show played to 91 per cent capacity — a figure, as one journalist observed, “for which the Royal Shakespeare Company would kill”.Robert Marlowe was born on April 19 1929 and was, by his own account, “besotted” with the glamour of the theatre from the age of three, when he would whirl around with his arms over his head and shout “Look Mummy, I’m dancing!Marlowe recalled that at his first performance the nine-strong cast (including a troupe of three dancers and Syd Wright — “always dependable on the xylophone”) outnumbered the audience by one.A breakthrough came in 1984, when the BBC Two 40 Minutes documentary series featured the show in its report “The Last End-Of-The-Pier Show”, turning the Cromer Seaside Special, almost overnight, into something of a cult attraction: “In spite of a budget that extends to only three dancers and making do with last year’s costumes,” one reviewer observed, “[Marlowe is] undaunted.Although on occasions the roar of waves had a habit of reminding theatregoers that the only thing between them and the North Sea were a few rusting girders (in November 1993 the show survived a disaster when a 100-ton rig broke loose from its moorings and cut the pier in half), the Seaside Special continued to pack them in.

When The Daily Telegraph’s critic Charles Spencer attended the show in 1994, he was charmed by “a host of full company numbers including a fully-choreographed Fiddler on the Roof medley and a delirious Tamla Motown finale featuring a butch male comedian as Diana Ross”.

TRAVERSE CITY — NMC alumnus Ross and Brenda Biederman have been named the 2017 recipients of the NMC Fellow award, the highest honor bestowed by Northwestern Michigan College.

The couple has been a philanthropic and business force in northern Michigan for decades, winning the 2013 Distinguished Service Award from the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce. Ross Biederman also developed the Radio Centre complex, which includes downtown Traverse City’s first parking structure.

When Marlowe began his career as a dancer in the 1950s, End-of-the-Pier Shows were in their heyday.

At a time when most families took their annual fortnight’s holiday at the British seaside, companies such as Hedley Claxton’s Gaytime, the Fol de Rols, Out of the Blue and Brenda Ross’s Dazzle sang, danced and told ancient jokes on piers in almost every English resort.

The shows were “family entertainment” and therefore largely smut-free.