Music Theatre

THE MUSIC MAN : HORNSBY MUSICAL SOCIETY REVISITS A BROADWAY CLASSIC

Featured image – Logan McArthur as Tommy Djilas and Emily Haldane as Zaneeta Shinn in Hornsny Musical Society’s revival of ‘The Music Man’.

A Broadway hit in 1957, The Music Man made the transition from stage to the silver screen in 1962 with a blockbuster movie starring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones. The original movie and subsequent Saturday night re-runs in the 1970’s of popular Hollywood musicals, helped cement classics such as The Music Man into our hearts and minds.

The Music Man follows fast-talking travelling salesman, Harold Hill, as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band, despite the fact that he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef. ‘Professor’ Hill is full of enthusiasm and promises. He encourages the young band members to use a revolutionary mind over matter technique called the ‘Think Method’ to play their musical instruments, while he plans to skip town with the cash. Will he succeed or will love foil his plans and make him respectable?

The opening song Rock Island, in Hornsby Musical Society’s production of The Music Man, heralds an evening of lively, fast-paced and colourful entertainment. Continue reading THE MUSIC MAN : HORNSBY MUSICAL SOCIETY REVISITS A BROADWAY CLASSIC

GILBERT AND SULLIVAN OPERA SYDNEY : THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE

 

On a rocky beach in Cornwall … ahoy – there be Pirates!

Originally premiered 1879 it is one of the ‘Big Three ‘ of the Gilbert & Sullivan works – the others being HMS Pinafore and The Mikado.

Readers will probably be familiar with the Opera Australia version (Anthony Warlow as the Pirate King) or the Essgee version starring Jon English as the Pirate King. There also has been the all male version directed by Sasha Regan that toured here in 2012 from the UK.

Overall, this was a strong, traditional performance.  Musically and vocally, under the excellent direction of Rod Mounjed, this production was splendid. The Orchestra was in fine form and gave a beautifully multi layered finely nuanced performance. Mounjed conducted precisely and energetically.

Under Victoria Watson’s direction the pacing and timing was great. The choreography was tight and stylised, albeit that it, at times, came across a little stiff.

The set design by Bradley Hawkins was very effective. One half of the stage was the pirate ship, the other a  flight of stairs, a plinth, and a gargoyle like sculpture for the tomb in Act 2. There was a trapdoor for the Pirate King and for Ruth’s first appearance for ‘When You Had Left Our Pirate Fold ( the ‘Paradox ‘ trio Costumes were mid to late Victorian with bustles etc, for the ladies.

Our leading lady Mabel was excitingly sung by Sarah Arnold. I am not sure why she sat in a throne like chair to one side aloofly reading before her big first entrance?

Our darkly Byronic hero Frederic, ‘a slave to duty’, was terrifically performed by Daniel Verschuer, who was in fine voice.

As the dashing, charismatic Pirate King Chris Lewis had much fun swaggering and strutting around. His Oh Better Far To Live And Die  was joyous and exhilarating.

Ruth the Piratical Maid of All Work was given a strong performance by Zoe Arthur.

As vibrant and ebullient Major General Stanley, Mitch Bryson was magnificent. His breathless, tongue twisting, patter song I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General, where he was gloriously resplendent in his imposing uniform brought the house down. In Act2 he is troubled and lamenting when ‘he thought he heard a noise. ‘ His bevy of daughters and chaperoning relations gave a terrific performance. Tall, hulking ,brooding Samuel was finely played by Joshua Knight.

Our Sergeant of Police was terrifically played by Toby Page, who was in fine, gravelly voice, lamenting, “A Policeman’s Lot Is Not A Happy One’ with his chorus of policemen.

Tarantara , tarantara…Gilbert and Sullivan’s PIRATES OF PENZANCE is playing the Shore Auditorium, Shore School, Blue Street, North Sydney until 8th October.

Running time 2 hours 20 including one interval .

PRODUCTION TEAM
Stage Director& Choreographer – Victoria Watson
Musical Director – Rod Mounjed
Choreographer – Sarah Pearce

CAST
Mabel Sarah Arnold
Frederic Daniel Verschuer
Ruth Zoe Arthur
Pirate King Chris Lewis
Samuel Joshua Knight
Edith Laura Griffin
Kate Angelique Tot
Isobel Holly Champion
Major-General Mitch Bryson
Sergeant of Police Toby Page
Chaperones & Daughters Fiona Ashton, Joann Balasuriya,
Kyran David, Marie Deverill, Alice
Dunne, Georgina Hughes, Jane Makin,
Ellie Singer, Judy Singer, Anna Skocz,
Sara Wakeling, Sonia White
Pirates & Policemen Nick Adams, Peter Chappell, Scott
Crichton, Michael Darmody, Terence
Hogan, Terry Matthews, Mary
O’Bryne, Dawn Pugh, Gary Selby,
Rory Struthers, John Wollaston

http://www.gsosydney.com.au

 

MIRANDA MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS ‘HELLO, DOLLY!’

Production photos by Grant Leslie Photography

From the moment when Dolly Levi, played with joyous charm and wonderful exuberance by Michele Lansdown, walks onto the stage to the very last note the audience is enthralled by this classic feel good, romantic musical. HELLO, DOLLY! was first performed in 1964 with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder’s 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers.

The musical rides on the shoulders of Dolly, a feisty Jewish widow in 19th-century New York who has an amazing talent for romantic meddling. Dolly is a rare independent woman, and she’s aware of that rarity, with comments such as “Marriage is a bribe to make the housekeeper think she’s a householder”. Though tough is some respects she too is looking for a husband and has her sights set on Horace Vandergelder, a well-known half millionaire of Yonkers. Christopher Hamilton is excellent in the role of Horace with just the right mixture of haughtiness, dignity and finally capitulation to the wiles of Dolly. Continue reading MIRANDA MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS ‘HELLO, DOLLY!’

CHATSWOOD MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS ‘HOT MIKADO’ @ INDEPENDENT THEATRE

East meets West head-on in what will be a hilarious  1940’s-style update of this Gilbert and Sullivan favourite.

The show will feature an intoxicating mix of styles and influences including the classic Three Little Maids but transformed into show-stopping blues, swing, hot gospel numbers and scorching torch songs.

See what happens when the clean lines and colour of Japanese design combine with the big band sights and sounds of popular American song and dance!

SEASON
22 September to 1 October at the Independent Theatre, Miller Street, North Sydney.

For bookings, performance times and more about Hot Mikado, visit http://www.chatswoodmusicalsociety.org
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MY FAIR LADY @ THE CAPITOL THEATRE

I didn’t get to see last year’s Diamond Jubilee Anniversary production of MY FAIR LADY, directed by Dame Julie Andrews, put on jointly by Opera Australia and the Gordon Frost Organisation, which played the Sydney Opera House.The production was widely acclaimed and the entire season was  a sell out.

A return season of the production has just opened at the Capitol Theatre. Expectations were high and they were more than met with this wonderful production which will no doubt acquire a whole set of new fans as well as a legion of theatregoers who saw the show last year and have returned to experience the magic one more time.

We enter the theatre to see the stage curtain depicting a sweeping, panoramic view of London town – a glorious chocolate box view with a  ribbon in the middle. The ribbon is untied with the opening of the curtain and for the next three hours these entertainers put on a great show. Continue reading MY FAIR LADY @ THE CAPITOL THEATRE

TINA ARENA TO PLAY EVITA FOR OPERA AUSTRALIA NEXT YEAR

Photography by Ben Apfelbaum.

Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, Australian theatre producer John Frost and leading UK theatre producer David Ian yesterday announced that Australian icon, singer, songwriter and musical theatre star Tina Arena will play the role of Eva Peron in Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s EVITA.

This follows the announcement last week that EVITA, one of the most celebrated classical musicals of all time, will return to Australia next year, playing at the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House, with tickets on sale from 31 August. This production will continue Opera Australia’s 5 year tradition of mounting popular Broadway and West End musicals. Continue reading TINA ARENA TO PLAY EVITA FOR OPERA AUSTRALIA NEXT YEAR

CARLY FISHER AND DIRECTING ‘THE ADDAMS FAMILY THE MUSICAL’

Featured image – Director Carly Fisher. Pic by Ben Apfelbaum.

For its main production for 2017 New South Wales Theatrical Society (NUTS), now a proud 33 years old, is presenting THE ADDAMS FAMILY THE MUSICAL, a stage adaptation of the much loved television series which itself was a derivative of the original comic series.

I  had a chat with Carly Fisher who is very excited to be directing this production, her second production for NUTS after  directing their Arts Revue in 2015.

Carly describes herself as a theatre fanatic/tragic. She has been involved with theatre and performance from a very tender/young age – she started going to the Brent Street Studio when she was seven years old. Interestingly, she is the only one in her family who has chosen a career in the performing arts. Continue reading CARLY FISHER AND DIRECTING ‘THE ADDAMS FAMILY THE MUSICAL’

AN OFFER TOO GOOD TO REFUSE – HERE IS YOUR CHANCE TO MEET THE ADDAMS FAMILY

With music and lyrics by renowned musical composer Andrew Lippa, this Tony nominated musical follows the iconic spooky family – The Addams Family.

Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have never met.

If that weren’t upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY, THE MUSICAL   promises to be a fun, kooky night at the theatre for all ages. For those who grew up with the wonderful characters created by Charles Addams, this is a great new take on the beloved family whilst offering plenty of nostalgia.

DATES FOR THE DIARY

NUTS will put on performances on Thursday 17th and Friday 18th August at 7pm and Saturday 19th at 5pm at the Science Theatre, UNSW Campus.

For more about The Addams Family, The Musical, visit http://www.nuts.org.au/addams-family.html
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A RAVE REVIEW FOR ‘REEFER MADNESS’ @ THE FACTORY THEATRE Marrickville

This was an astonishing juggernaut of great musical entertainment. It was full of catchy tunes with a young cast of pretty girls and handsome boys, always expounding the addictive dangers of the banned narcotic drug, known as the evil weed called Marijuana.

This was a delightful musical parody of the 1936 cult fake-news movie documentary. Concerned parents are lectured on the dangers of the new evil drug, Marijuana, that will turn all their virtuous teenagers into drug-addicted, sex-crazed, jazz music lovers, suffering from the munchies. Today on the cusp of global marijuana legalization and medical marijuana breakthroughs, and with the benefit of hindsight, this satirical musical provides hilarious hazy insights into our current political climate of  conservatism combined with bigotry. Continue reading A RAVE REVIEW FOR ‘REEFER MADNESS’ @ THE FACTORY THEATRE Marrickville

CHATSWOOD MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS 13 THE MUSICAL @ THE INDEPENDENT THEATRE

Theatre foyers these days are too often the province of the middle aged and older.  How refreshing it was to see such a young crowd mingling pre show. 

We had all come to see 13 THE MUSICA book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn, music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown,  which premiered on Broadway back in 2009.

The musical follows Evan Goldman’s journey. Evan is 12 and coming up to that landmark day in his thirteenth year when he has his Bar Mitzvah – when a Jewish boy becomes a man and receives heaps of presents and cash from his family and friends.

It’s all looks like smooth sailing for Evan but then a wild storm comes up to take him off course. His father has an affair with a stewardess, his mother announces that she will get a divorce, and on top of it all announces that they are leaving New York and going to move to Appleton in Illinois.

We watch Evan as he strives to cope with settling into a new town as a teenager with everything that this entails. His goal, to make it to his special day and to be able to celebrate it in style! 

13 THE MUSICAL proved to be a good yarn and with its score featuring nineteen catchy songs was a sound choice for Chatswood Musical Society’s innovative annual child/teenage focused production.

Heather Campbell’s production, with choreography by Justin Jarrett and musical direction by Jessica Manning, was vibrant and appealingly playful. Campbell accomplished quite a feat in managing to bring together some twenty four teenage performers on stage and get them to work together to come up with a cohesive and satisfying show.

The staging was streamlined and effective. The main stage area was left unimpeded except for cube like furniture pieces for the performers to sit down or stand up on. There was a well staged scene at the commencement of Act 2 which intimated a movie theatre with the kids seated looking at a large screen that was pulled down with the inference being that it was a movie screen and that they were enjoying a Saturday night at the movies!

Through the show Campbell had kids streaming down both flanks of the theatre as they bounded onto the stage.

A very hip band of teenage musos comprising Dylan Catterall on drums, Lachlan Bates on guitar, Tali Greenfield and Thomas Odeil on keyboards and Euan Welch on bass created plenty of heat through the show.

As the lead Evan Goldman, Kristian Babian did wonderfully well. His energy and focus never flagged.

Olivia McNamara impressed playing Patrice,who becomes Evan’s first firm friend after his move to Appleton. McNamara had a warm, assured presence on stage. 

Jude Paddon-Row proved to be an opening night audience favourite with his ‘sunny’ performance playing the high spirited Archie who doesn’t let his condition of muscular dystrophy weigh him down.  The rather ‘hammy’ way he used his crutches when moving across the stage added even more lightness to the performance.

The show did have some of the standard teenage characters, and the actors stepped into these parts well;  Savannah Clarke played the prettiest girl in school who all the guys wanted to date, Damien Hempstead played the sport jock who all the girls wanted to call their own, and Abby van Balkom played the super catty and competitive Lucy.

Rating. I gave this show an 11 out of 13!  It’s a shame that it only played for just the one weekend, from last Friday evening to the Sunday matinee.

Chatswood Musical Society’s next production will be Hot Mikado in September, also at the Independent Theatre.

I left the theatre with the chorus to a classic Australian pop song running around my brain. It was Joe Camilleri and his band Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons and their anthem to the exuberance of youth that had the chorus, ‘So young..so young..So god damn young’

http://www.chatswoodmusicalsociety.org.au

 

BETWEEN WORLDS : CAPTAIN COOK’S FINAL JOURNEY CHARTED IN NEW SYDNEY MUSICAL

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.

Cook began immersing himself in the local Polynesian culture however he was tragically killed one month after his landing in a melee that broke out between the British and the Hawaiians at  Kealakekua Bay. Continue reading BETWEEN WORLDS : CAPTAIN COOK’S FINAL JOURNEY CHARTED IN NEW SYDNEY MUSICAL

HEATHERS THE MUSICAL @ SUTHERLAND MEMORIAL SCHOOL OF THE ARTS

 

Production photography by Grant Lesley.

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.

PRODUCTION TEAM

Director:- Meg Day

Musical Director:- Joshua Ransom​

Choreographer:- Tracey Blankenship

CAST

Veronica Sawyer = Emma Taviani

Jason Dean (J.D.) = Daniel Cullen

Heather Chandler = Tanya Boyle

Heather McNamara = Jess Farrell

Heather Duke = Steph Josifovski

Martha Dunnstock = Elle Zattera

Ram Sweeney = Daniel O’Connell

Kurt Kelly = Jay Cullen

​Ram’s Dad/Veronica’s Dad = Brad Facey

Ms Flemming/Veronica’s Mum = Michele Lansdown

​Kurt’s Dad / Big Bud Dean = Garth Saville.

 

http://www.mirandamusicalsociety.com.au/

https://www.facebook.com/MirandaMusSoc/

https://www.facebook.com/events/1571256779564909/

http://sa2.seatadvisor.com/sabo/servlets/EventSearch?presenter=AUMIRANDA

 

 

 

SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANY UNVEILS ‘MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL’

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.

http://www.sydneytheatre.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANNIE GET YOUR GUN : GALACTIC SPACE ALIENS INSTEAD OF REDSKINS

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.

Continue reading ANNIE GET YOUR GUN : GALACTIC SPACE ALIENS INSTEAD OF REDSKINS

MANLY MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS ‘SWEENEY TODD’ @ THE STAR OF THE SEA THEATRE

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).

Continue reading MANLY MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS ‘SWEENEY TODD’ @ THE STAR OF THE SEA THEATRE

REGALS MUSICAL SOCIETY’S PRESENTS A TAPFASTIC PRODUCTION OF 42ND STREET

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.

42nd Street comes from a line of musicals that emerged initially as Hollywood films. Based on the 1933 Warner Bros movie, the original stage production had a nine year Broadway run and was a tap-dancing extravaganza. It’s based on a book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, lyrics by Al Dubin, and music by Harry Warren. Continue reading REGALS MUSICAL SOCIETY’S PRESENTS A TAPFASTIC PRODUCTION OF 42ND STREET

STEPHEN SONDHEIM’S ‘COMPANY’ @ STUDIO ONE, UNI OF NSW

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

COMING SOON: THE BODYGUARD : THE MUSICAL TO SYDNEY LYRIC THEATRE

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.

The musical is based on the smash-hit Warner Bros 1992 film starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner and written by the acclaimed, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Big Chill, The Empire Strikes Back). Continue reading COMING SOON: THE BODYGUARD : THE MUSICAL TO SYDNEY LYRIC THEATRE

WICKED presented by MIRANDA MUSICAL SOCIETY @ SUTHERLAND


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.

Continue reading WICKED presented by MIRANDA MUSICAL SOCIETY @ SUTHERLAND

ROCKDALE MUSICAL SOCIETY DELIVERS A MEMORABLE ‘THE KING AND I’

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.

 

KOALA JOE – THE MUSICAL @ KING STREET THEATRE NEWTOWN

The Australian Premiere of a musical for kids

KOALA JOE – THE MUSICAL
By Markus Weber & Michael Summ

From the producers who brought the successful season of Jungle Book – The Musical in 2014 and 2016, finally KOALA JOE – THE MUSICAL is coming to the King Street Theatre.

Brought to you again by Author/Director Markus Weber and Composer Michael Summ, this new musical will take you on a mystical journey driven by the spirit of the Dreamtime.

Continue reading KOALA JOE – THE MUSICAL @ KING STREET THEATRE NEWTOWN

BARE THE MUSICAL @ THE DEPOT THEATRE

 

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.

Secret lovers Peter and Jason, are two gay high school students, and experience their constant romantic struggles with great sensitivity, centred around their identity and sexual preferences. Continue reading BARE THE MUSICAL @ THE DEPOT THEATRE

FACES THE MUSICAL @ THE FUSE BOX, FACTORY THEATRE MARRICKVILLE

 

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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

Cast:-
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

Band
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.

 

 

MY FAIR LADY’S 60TH ANNIVERSARY PRODUCTION @ SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

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.

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NUTS PRESENTS A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC @ NIDA

Set designers- Matt McKinnon and Stewart MacLaine
,Set designers :- Matt McEwen, who also played the role of Frederick in the production, and Stuart MacLaine.
James Coates
James Coates who played the role of Count Carl- Magnus Malcolm.
Producer - Charlotte Goodsir
Priscilla Issa who played the role of Charlotte.
Chiara Middleton as Petra
Chiara Middleton who played the role of Petra.

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.

Continue reading NUTS PRESENTS A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC @ NIDA