Featured photo – Blake Erickson and Nic Starte in Between Worlds.
Sydney theatre lovers will have the chance in July to see the first public staged workshop presentation of an exciting new Australian musical, BETWEEN WORLDS.
BETWEEN WORLDS is the creation of award winning Sydney theatre-makers Jason Langley and Michael Tyack, composer Gareth Hudson and writer Nick Higginbotham.
The musical tells a fascinating, little known story, the last journey of the founder of our country, Captain James Cook. The time is 1779 and Cook has sailed to Hawaii where he was received as a returning God named Lono.
This was an unremittingly dark as well as entertaining musical with Emma Taviani delivering a nuanced and compelling performance as Veronica Sawyer. As many will know this musical is based on the cult 1988 Hollywood movie Heathers starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater.
Director Meg Day has wisely cast three perfect, bright voiced women as the Three Heathers. This was a moving and thought-provoking revenge musical containing confronting adult themes and blends enthralling drama with sharp humour.
We meet HEATHER I and II and III. Veronica Sawyer is not part of the “in crowd”, and is trying to survive as hunted prey in the school jungle. She suddenly becomes part of the most popular mean girls clique at Westerberg High School, made up of these three bitches: Heather Duke, Heather McNamara and led by Heather Chandler.
Veronica Sawyer decides to get out of the snobby clique that is completely destroying her good-girl reputation and teams up with the new guy Jason Dean (J.D.), and he becomes her sociopathic lover who plots to murder the cliquey students.
The staging and set design were both exceptional, and the huge ensemble cast went to town with Laurence O’Keefe’s and Kevin Murphy’s lyrics, making for an awe-inspiring and extraordinary evening.
Miranda Musical Society’s production of HEATHERS THE MUSICAL opened at the Sutherland Memorial School Of The Arts 21-23 East Parade, Sutherland on Friday 16th June and is playing until 25th June. The venue is located near the railway station car park.
Featured photo – Maggie McKenna. Pic by James Green.
“Muriel, you are terrible!”
The long awaited announcement of the cast for the Sydney Theatre Company’s big production for the year, MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL, took place at a function held earlier this week at the Bar at the end of the Wharf at the STC.
Executive Director Patrick McIntyre started things off and said that the STC was very excited to put on ‘Muriel’ in partnership with Global Creatures and Destination NSW. “The production has generated plenty of interest internationally and is expected to attract a lot of tourists to Sydney.’
Director Simon Phillips was at his sprightly, witty best as he addressed the audience and introduced the cast who were hidden by a promotional display barrier.
Phillips reflected that he thought that now was a great time to bring back Muriel. He envisaged that Muriel would now take to Youtube and the various social network ‘channels’ available in her bid to achieve fame and fortune.
He was confident that the landmark Aussie film would transition well from screen to stage musical and made the interesting remark, “the ballad is like music theatre’s close-up.”
Phillips introduced a delighted Maggie McKenna, just twenty years old, who has won the much prized lead role. McKenna reflected everyone can ‘get’ Muriel. She is a true outsider and dork.’
Writer PJ Hogan, whose career took off brilliantly after Muriel, going on to make a number of Hollywood films including My Best Friend’s Wedding, was on hand to say a few words. “I grew up in the Queensland town of Coolangatta. Long before the movie I nicknamed it ‘Porpoise Spit’. Like Muriel, I was dying to get out of there.’
Joint composers, the ebullient Kate Miller- Heidke and the droll Keir Nuttall also said a few words. The very talented Miller-Heidke said that it had always been one of her dreams to put on a full length musical.
The presentation ended with members of the newly announced cast performing a rousing rendition of one of the show’s big numbers, Nobody’s Perfect with the catch-cry, “Everything goes in Sydney Town/ When you get to Sydney/ You will finally get to be you.”
This production looks like it will be something very special with the Heslop family being as hysterical as ever. Justine Clarke will play Muriel’s long suffering mother, Betty. Cast playing other members of the Heslop family include Briallen Clarke playing Joanie, Michael Whalley playing Perry and Connor Sweeney will play Malcolm.
MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL will open on Saturday 18th November and will play for over two months at the Ros Packer Theatre, closing on Saturday 27th January.
Frank Butler (Clive Hobson) is a tall dashing and suave sharpshooter working in Buffalo Bill’s wild-west show. Annie Oakley (Suzanne Chin) is a backwoods woman, and this feisty country tomboy, is an incredible talent as a markswoman, who immediately falls completely head over heels in love for Frank.
All the songs in this version of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN are winners, indeed a complete pleasure hearing some of my Irving Berlin favourites, delivered by the magnificent voices of the huge ensemble cast, but most especially by both mezzo-soprano Suzanne Chin and baritone Clive Hobson.
This is a classic Broadway musical comedy romance, about mistreatment of North American Indians. For this huge fan of this genre, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN is the quintessential “bigger is better” Broadway Musical of the 1950s, especially with a woman taking a strong and dominant role.
Based on real life people and actual events. The real William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody was born on 26th February 1846. The real Annie Oakley was born Phoebe Ann Mosey on 13th August 1860. The real Francis E. “Frank” Butler was born on 30th of January 1847.
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN was supposed to be the Peter Stone 1999 revival, a politically corrected re-working of the 1946 musical written by Irving Berlin, a 1800s western-era period piece of historical Americana with North American Indians, and set around the American midwest and in New York City.
This was a hugely entertaining musical that enthrals the audience with its depravity, its fabulous lyrics together and the brilliant performances by all the leads and the large ensemble.
This dark story of hatred, is a unique musical and a revenge thriller, with multiple murders delivering so much blood and gore from each throat slitting. The musicals’ dark themes include a young woman being raped, and a mother and daughter being wrongfully committed to an institution. Just what you expect from the City Of London in that era?!
Benjamin Barker was a barber in 19th-century London, an expert with the cut-throat razor, and was transported to an Australian penal colony by Judge Turpin. Fifteen years later, and now named Sweeney Todd (Paul Nicholson), Barker moves into his old shop above the pie shop owned by Mrs. Lovett (Miriam Rihani).
The Regals Musical Society’s revival of 42nd Street opened with a wonderful brass heavy Overture played by a solid 14 piece Orchestra led by Peter Sampson as Musical director.
A strong opening to the revival of this quintessential musical comedy directed by Christie Koppe who was drawn to this project due to it’s large-scale, its classic tunes and effervescent storytelling.
It’s the kind of Broadway feel good musical loaded with knockout song and dance numbers (“We’re In the Money’, The Lullaby of Broadway, “Dames”, ‘42nd Street) requiring high energy from the cast and creativity from the production team.
This performance, like so that of so many by student bodies, is full of verve, gusto and raw excitement.
Sondheim’s story revolves around Robert or Bobby, as he is affectionately known, played convincingly by Nic Savage. Bobby is in his thirties, successful yet bored, a focus in the lives of many of his friends, but ultimately alone. Good looking and charismatic, he is strangely detached and isolated. He has it all…or perhaps he has nothing.
Bobby knows that he does not know much, but it does not occur to him that out there is someone one who just might know what he does not know. As the play progresses we see that behind an assured worldly exterior lies a dark, hopelessly gloomy interior.
Bobby’s friends too echo his conundrum. Behind their facade of apparently happy partnerships and lives, they too lead fragile, fragmented existences. With Peter (Tavis Cunningham) and Jenny (Tash Atkins) we have the ultimate dichotomy. Once married, they are now divorced and have never been happier in each other’s company. Continue reading STEPHEN SONDHEIM’S ‘COMPANY’ @ STUDIO ONE, UNI OF NSW→
THE BODYGUARD musical is having its Australian premiere at the Sydney Lyric Theatre from 21st April.
The production will star Australian idol pop singer Paulini who will take on the role of Rachel Marron, made famous by the legendary Whitney Houston. The show will also star star Prinnie Stevens who will play Rachel’s sister and Neighbours star Kip Gamblin who will play the Bodyguard.
WICKED presented by MIRANDA MUSICAL SOCIETY @ SUTHERLAND ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE
WICKED is a musical prequel to The Wizard Of Oz. The clever storyline covers the years before Dorothy’s arrival in the wonderful Land Of Oz. We experience the unlikely but profound friendship, and the extraordinary adventures of a quite misunderstood green girl named Elphaba (Emma Taviani), and the blonde and very popular Galinda/Glinda (Misha Williamson).
We follow their fateful journey, that leads them to both fulfill their destinies, one to become the “Wicked Witch of the West” and the other will become “Glinda The Good Witch”.
The citizens of The Land Of Oz are celebrating the death of the Wicked Witch, when Glinda appears. The musical continues as an extended flashback of the lives of these two women, from the moment they first meet as sorcery students at Shiz University.
This Rogers and Hammerstein play is one of the great works in the canon of musical theatre.
There is so much heart in this tale, based on a true story, about a widowed English schoolteacher who travels to Siam, now Thailand, to take on the job of the King of Siam’s flock of children.
Rockdale Musical Society, in a production directed by Cathy Boyle, has just completed a very fine revival of this masterpiece, replete with melting moments. It is a production which the Society should be immensely proud of.
Stephen Halstead was suitably regal and arrogant as the King of Siam, a fictional version of the King Mongkut. Halstead showed good dramatic range but also displayed some good light touches, etc, etc, etc….
Charmaine Gibbs gave a faultless performance as the anything but demure British widow, Anne Leonowens.
Tisha Kelemens was a stand-out as the King’s proud chief wife Lady Thiang and she thrilled the audience with her rich, strong voice.
Natalie Rose Cassanti gave a heartfelt, luminous performance as Tuptim, one of the King’s junior wives, formerly a slave in Burma, who rebels and falls in love with Lun Tha, a Burmese scholar, well played by Jeremy Boulton. The romantic scene played out between Natalie and Jeremy was one of the show’s highlights.
Max Fernandez was very fetching as Anne’s sweet, adorable son, Louis.
Ellis Pinkerton, playing the King’s oldest son and heir Prince Chulalongkorn made the most of his big scene when the dying King hands over the reins of power to him.
The large supporting cast playing the King’s wives, the Amazons who protect them, his many children and an array of Ballet dancers each made important contributions to the show.
As indeed did Boyle’s impressive creative team – Bob Peet’s very functional set, Keely Soulsby’s choreographer, and Musical Director Ian Buchanan and his very fine, lush sounding orchestra.
Rockdale Musical Society’s impressive production of THE KING AND I played the Rockdale Town Hall between the 3rd and the 13th March.
BARE THE MUSICAL (Bare: A Pop Opera) debuted at the Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles, California, running from October 2000 to 25 February 2001.
The year is 2000, this thought-provoking rock musical is set within a private Catholic co-ed high school, St Cecilia’s Boarding School. We see the auditions and the rehearsals of the high school’s musical version of Shakespeare’s ROMEO AND JULIET.
FACES THE MUSICAL tells the story of five young people, searching for ways to improve their world, interlinked with a second storyline related to the history of one of their grandfathers.
Four friends, Mia (Bethany Taylor), Yin (Soohan Jennifer Yoo), Farid (Eamon Moses), and Rya (Ethan Taylor) come to help their friend Ethan (Adam Bowes) sort through Ethan’s dead grandfather’s things in the attic of the family home. Ethan is searching in particular for his grandfather Arthur’s (Nicholas Gledhill) penny whistle, which he remembers from his childhood, but in the search the friends find far much more than just the penny whistle.
Their lives will change forever because on this stormy Saturday night they will all be embarking on journeys of self-discovery, aided and abetted by the ghostly spirit of Arthur.
As they search for the penny whistle scenes from different times and places allow the characters to explore their beliefs and desires for a better world. In the end a secret which has been kept for forty years is revealed, and melds the themes of injustice in the grandfather’s past with the injustices faced in the present day by the group.
FACES is part mystery, part comedy and part exploration of themes of justice and hope. The tunes are bright, the lyrics of the songs inspired. The play’s world is brought to life by a talented cast, well supported by a strong ensemble. Perhaps there was a little too much of the “soap box” in a couple of scenes, but this new and youthful Australian musical, delivered an upbeat entertaining experience.
FACES THE MUSICAL has clever choreography that rises above, to become more than just the music, and often caused laughter with uncontrollable goosebumps, making for a genuinely fun theatrical experience.
FACES is a new and youthful Australian musical, and delivered an upbeat entertaining experience, with a cast of fresh voices many with an impressive voice range and excellent voice control.
Duration 120 minutes, including one interval.
Directed by Kyle Stephens
Music Directed by Kailesh Reitmans
Choreographed by Natasha Window
Set Design Riley Cope
Fill in Musical Director Andrew Freeborn
Book by Carmelita Lees
Songs by: Carmelita Lees, Jim Shipstone, John Roy & Stewart Peters
Script Consultant: Isaac Owen
Nicholas Gledhill ………….Arther Fielding
Adam Bowes ………………..Ethan Fielding
Bethany Taylor …………….Mia
Soohan Jennifer Yoo ………..Yin
Eamon Moses ……………….Farid
Ethan Taylor ………………Ryan
Sammy Jayne ……………….Leah Feilding
Jessie Baker ………………Miriam/ Ensemble
Sasha Cole ………………..Refugee boy/Ensemble
Bea Low …………………..PA/Ensemble
Kyle Stephens ……………..Toms Boss/Ensemble
Mitch Thornton …………….Ensemble
Maselina Metcalf …………..Lilly
Kailesh Reitmans ……………..Keys/Musical Director
Noa Kidd …………………….Guitar
Edward Hampton ……………….Bass
Amy Graham …………………..Flute/Sax/Tin whistle
Trish Daviszz ………………..Reed
Jason Murray …………………Drums
FACES THE MUSICAL played the Fuse Box at the Factory Theatre between the 11th and the 23rd October 2016.
Featured image – Dame Julie surrounded by the principal cast. All images by Ben Apfelbaum taken at the recent media call.
MY FAIR LADY, produced by Opera Australia and John Frost, held its Australian premiere production on Tuesday September 6 at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Opening night is a culmination of several years of research to help recreate and present the original Broadway production of My Fair Lady which opened in 1956 starring Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews who was just 20 years old.
Trips to Wisconsin, London, New York City and Los Angeles were made and hours were spent trawling over drawings, costume and set designs in the Victoria Albert Museum and the Arts Centre Melbourne Performing Arts Collection, just to name a few. Along the way, the team were fortunate enough to meet with the assistance of Cecil Beaton (the original costume designer) and Oliver Smith who uncovered important materials that made recreating the magic of the 1956 production a step closer to reality.
Featured photo- Director Ryan Fogwell with Natasha Atkins (Anna Egerman) and Emma Gillespie (Desiree Armfeldt). All photos by Ben Apfelbaum.
I left NIDA last night on a high after seeing this show opening night.
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC is a lovely work. The storyline, inspired by the Bard’s Midsummer’s Night Dream along with Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles Of A Summer Night, appeals with its expansive, multi-angled take on love and relationships, engages from start to finish. The main players are all in love but sometimes their hearts are set on someone who loves another. Stephen Sondheim’s score is a delight.
There was a vibrant energy coming from a large, focused cast, more than ably directed by Ryan Fogwell, which carried the show.
Fogwell’s creative team vividly create the play’s world. Matt McEwen and Stuart MacLaine create a functional set and staging. Kate Bobis’ period costumes are apt and impressive.
The scenario sees ex-lovers Frederick Egerman and Desiree Armfeldt have a chance meeting, Frederick and his wife are invited to Desiree’s ex-courtesan mother’s country house where Desiree intends to win him back. The weekend in the country plays out very differently than expected.
Rockdale Opera Company presents 4 performances of Jacques Offenbach’s satirical operetta ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD at Rockdale Town Hall, corner Bryant Street and Princess Street, on 30 and 31 July and 6 and 7 August. The Saturday night performances begin at 7.30pm and the Sunday matinees at 2pm.
Enjoy a delightful and irreverent romp through Greek mythology as Offenbach turns the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice on its head! From Thebes to Mt Olympus and down into Hades, Offenbach takes the audience on a sublime musical journey, including the origins of the Can-Can!
Tickets are available at the door and through Tickets4me- 02 4730 6932.
30 July @ 7.30pm, 31 July @ 2pm, 6 August @ 7.30pm, 7 August @ 2pm.
Leading Australian musical theatre performer Ben Lewis will return from London to join Australia’s very own Witches of Wicked and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for the world premiere of WITCHES in July.
Ben Lewis is best known as playing The Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies, for which he received stellar reviews and Helpmann and Sydney Theatre Award nominations – the Sydney Morning Herald described him as “towering physically and vocally over the show”.
In Australia Lewis has starred in such musicals as A Little Night Music for Opera Australia, Spamalot and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and most recently Ben has been working in London on Candide and Forbidden Broadway and the UK tour of Love Me Tender.
In a show that is guaranteed to defy gravity, Australia’s favourite leading ladies Lucy Durack, Amanda Harrison, Helen Dallimore and Jemma Rix (pictured L to R) will come together for the very first time to perform songs from magical favourites including Wicked, Frozen, The Witches of Eastwick, Dance of the Vampires, The Wizard of Oz, Into the Woods, Willy Wonka& the Chocolate Factory and Love Never Dies.
Durack, Harrison, Dallimore and Rix are four of Australia’s most successful performers, each having performed the roles of Wicked’s Elphaba and Glinda to critical acclaim in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the West End.
Prepare to be bewitched as five of Australia’s favourite musical stars join the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for an evening of magic and mystery at the Sydney Opera House in July.
Venue: Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House Dates: Fri 15 July 8pm, Sat 16 July 2pm Bookings: www.sydneysymphony.com or phone (02) 8215 4600
This is one of the best shows on in Sydney at the moment. The show is brought to us by the sensational team that brought us the wondrous Songs For Nobodies- writer Joanna Murray-Smith, director Simon Phillips and fine musical direction by Ian McDonald leading an impressive band.
The amazing Bernadette Robinson plays Harper Clemence, a White House worker who is retiring after forty years. George W. Bush is now President but is “dumber than a bucket of rocks.”
GHOST THE MUSICAL has come to Sydney for a two month season following on from successful seasons in the top theatre centres of the world, Broadway and the West End.
It is very easy to give a recommendation in regards to this musical. The show, a fairly faithful adaptation by Bruce Joel Rubin of the hit movie with Demi Moore and the late Patrick Swayze is aimed right at the heart, telling the story of a beautiful young woman who loses her lover to a violent city mugging and then finds him coming back into her life as a ghost.
This is a show for all the punters who enjoy big performances, the latest and finest production values, and a breezy pop soundtrack. The show will especially appeal to women who will love intensely emotional experience that the show offers. Continue reading GHOST THE MUSICAL @ THEATRE ROYAL→
Sydney music theatre lovers are in for a treat when one of the world’s great musicals comes to town.
The much loved musical FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is coming to the Capitol Theatre from Thursday 24th March. With music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and book by Joseph Stein, the action takes place in the Pale of Settlement of Imperial Russia in 1905. The story is based on Shalom Aleichem’s story Tevye and his daughters.
The original off-Broadway production of THE FANTASTICKS premiered in 1960, and ran a total of 42 years and 17,162 performances, making it the world’s longest-running musical theatre production, and has music by Harvey Schmidt with book and lyrics by Tom Jones.
Wooden Horse Productions Theatre Company has brought this mercurial musical to the Hayes Theatre in a production directed by Helen Dallimore, with co-musical direction by Hayden Barltrop and Glenn Moorhouse.
This evergreen musical, inspired by the lives of the actual von Trapp family as retold by Maria Augusta Trapp in her book The Trapp Family Singers, came together through the book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse and the music by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein 11.
The uplifting story of Maria, a fun-loving governess who changes the lives of the widowed Captain von Trapp and his seven children by re-introducing them to music, culminating in the family’s escape from the Nazis across the mountains from Austria, has enthralled and captivated audiences around the world since it was first produced on Broadway in 1959. Continue reading THE SOUND OF MUSIC @ THE CAPITOL THEATRE→
Sydney Youth Musical Theatre presented an impressive and magical restaging of J.M.Barrie’s classic tale featuring a large ensemble cast and a vibrant live orchestra.
For over 110 years, the legendary story of Peter Pan, a boy who can fly, but never wants to grow up. has been delighting children and their parents.
A quick sprinkle of fairy dust from Tinker Bell, and we see Peter take Wendy Darling and her brothers John Darling and Michael Darling to the magic world of Neverland. There they meet Lost Boys, Mermaids, Tiger Lily’s Indians and of course all the pirates and their malevolent leader Captain Hook.
Director Elizabeth Hogan provided her inspired direction that provided stunning rapport between all ages in the high energy cast featuring mostly teenagers. The show featured show stopping performances from all the leads and the well choreographed sword fighting scenes were exciting to watch.
The very functional set easily provided each of the many locations around Neverland, the choreography was delightful and effective, whilst the traditional costumes were just as one would have imagined.
The production delivered consistent, well-timed audience participation, with plenty of raucous laughter. One’s dreams take full flight during this 150 minute musical journey to Neverland.
Sydney Youth Musical Theatre’s production of PETER PAN played a brief season at the Hornsby RSL Club theatre between the 26th and the 28th November.