Pamela Oland gets a royal reception for her work
Grammy-nominated songwriter Pamela Oland is used to big hits, with hundreds of credits to her name. She was even commissioned by Frank Sinatra to write a song for his wife. But it is her latest project, Soldier of Orange, which is earning royal acclaim.
The World War II musical is based on the Oscar-nominated film of the same name about resistance hero Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, who won the Netherlands' highest military honour in the War.
Currently showing in Holland, the production has sold more than 130,000 tickets. What's more, British-born Ms Oland, who lives in Los Angeles, was invited to meet Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, based on the success of the show. She tells People: "The Queen was very delightful and friendly, and wanted to know if I had met Erik, who died two years ago. Erik was incredibly close to the royal family. He, after all, helped save Holland from total annihilation and takeover by the Nazis. I was happy to tell her I was the only one of us who had gone to Hawaii where he lived, to meet him for lunch, and that he had given me his blessing to write for the show. We were also introduced to Princess Irene and Prince Pieter-Christiaan. Both were extremely charming and I felt that I could enjoy their company very much if I ever had a chance to simply sit and chat over a cup of tea."
Ms Oland says she would love to bring the production, which took four-and-a-half-years to complete, to the UK. "London would be ideal for this show, as it is partly set there, and the story very much concerns England. I've had a British sensibility for language all my life, and have never stopped enjoying British wit and attitude. There's nothing like it anywhere in the world."
Ms Oland wrote all the songs together with fellow American Tom Harriman. The entire musical score was written in English and translated into Dutch.
She is currently working on a show for the multi-Tony winning producer Robin Delevita.