Music Theatre

WICKED presented by MANLY MUSICAL SOCIETY @ GLEN STREET THEATRE

 

WICKED is a kid friendly musical that takes place in the Land of Oz, but this untold “true” story of The Witches Of Oz and The Wizard Of Oz, is set during the years before Dorothy brings the house down with her arrival in Oz. The citizens of The Land Of Oz are celebrating the death of The Wicked Witch, when Glinda appears. The musical then continues as an extended flashback of the early lives of these two young women, from their first meeting as sorcery students at the Shiz University. Continue reading WICKED presented by MANLY MUSICAL SOCIETY @ GLEN STREET THEATRE

BARBARA AND THE CAMP DOGS:SUPERLATIVES FAIL

 

Elaine Crombie and Ursula Yovich           Production Images: Brett Boardman

So … I went a few years ago to visit my friend who lives alternatively  in the bush.  Her life is subsistent but she makes a bit of cash as a feral pig hunter.  She is surrounded by dogs of all kinds.  Many of them scarred and scary.  Her advice to me, should I ever need it.  If there is a pack of dogs causing trouble, in the middle there will be a little one who is meanest, fiercest and smartest.  That one started the fight. This brings me to Barbara of BARBARA AND THE CAMP DOGS.

This play is written with that kind of gritty truthfulness.  Lived experience and unspoken lives collide in an explosive whipcrack over the heads of those who wonder and those who know. Continue reading BARBARA AND THE CAMP DOGS:SUPERLATIVES FAIL

NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING FAMOUS: THE BODYBAG!

 

Trevor Ashley in  THE BODYBAG: The Panto

“IT’S NOT RIGHT…. BUT IT’S OKAY”

Multi-award winning superstar Rachel Marinade (Trevor Ashley) is one of the most successful entertainers ever to have come runner-up on Australian Idol*.  But after a spate of creepy “fan mail” it’s clear that Rachel needs protection.  Not only that, after being charged in local court for holding a fake driver’s license, she also needs transport. Continue reading NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING FAMOUS: THE BODYBAG!

HIGH FIDELITY SPINS A HIGHLY ENJOYABLE NIGHT OUT

Teagan Wouters and Toby Francis in HIGH FIDELITY
Production Images:  Robert Catto

HIGH FIDELITY is playing the Hayes Theatre and spins the platters to give a very entertaining night out.  Drawn from the movie of the same name from the book of the same name, it has a slightly overachieving pedigree. Nick Hornby (Fever Pitch, About A Boy) wrote the novel.  The book of the musical is by David Lindsay-Abaire (Pultizer for Rabbit Hole), lyrics are by Amanda Green (Bring It On and the Jonathan Larson Award) and music by Tom Kitt (Pultitzer for Next to Normal).  Why then did HIGH FIDELITY fail so spectacularly on The Great White Way?

As far as I can tell, it’s a matter of scale.  Highway Run and Neil Goodings’ Productions’ version of HIGH FIDELITY works delightfully  nestled in the bosom of the Hayes.

The protagonist of HIGH FIDELITY cares little for the big picture though.  Rob is an insular record store owner where cassettes are for mix tapes and CDs are just a way through for independent artists.  In this store where misfits seem to hang is Barry, a bear of a man who is Heavy Metal all the way with a seriously exciting wardrobe of T shirts.  And there is an  innocent of a bloke, unfortunately named Dick.  Rob speaks directly to the audience to explain his life as it happens and to ruminate on the women who have previously ruined it.  He, of course, was never to blame.  Not even in his current situation with girlfriend, Laura.

Rob is played by Toby Francis with the disarming charm of a prettyboy man child.  Francis pulls us into his circle with what appears to be an open and welcoming attitude to his version of his life.  His charm is an attempt to distract from our judgement of his behaviour and even when full disclosure is required he foreshadows revelations with excuses and pleas for empathy.  Francis has an endearingly cheeky sideways grin which allows us to understand how his mind works even if Rob doesn’t seem to.  Francis allows his character to be winning without ever winning us over and this serves the plot and relationships very well.  Damn but he is charming, even if fidelity is not high on his list of personal priorities.

He has more than a touch of the bad boy about him and we can see why Laura falls for him and why she is leaving him.  As played by Teagan Wouters, Laura is intelligent and sensitive.  While Laura might give conflicted a bad name, Wouters does endow her with enough strong character traits for Laura’s indecision and bad rebound choices to be knowable.  Without this perhaps, the audience might be not emotionally open to the journey Laura will go on.

HIGH FIDELITY is a bit … I am loath to use the term but here we go … a bit chick litty.  There may be 3 men at the heart of the story but director Neil Gooding has some pertinent things to say in his program notes.  The women simply don’t let the blokes get away with repressive, emotionally stunted behaviour.  Might be a great show for a first date … just sayin!

The other 2 men are Joe Kosky as Barry and Dash Kruck as Dick.  These performers are such fun in the roles.   Barry is a bro with hidden depths and his character is so expectable in context.  Passionate, musically speaking,  Kosky does a great job of keeping the unlikely Barry relatable.  Dick on the other hand is written to be easy to warm to and Kruck has that in spades.  There were definite aw’s in the row behind me when it was apparent that he had a minuscule chance of love.

Rounding out the quartet of blokes with whom the women have to deal  is Ian, played by Nicholas Christo in a deliciously smarmy swami performance.  The character doesn’t have anywhere to go much but that initial scene of his would be hard to beat anyway.  He rides the cliché all the way to the ashram.

Zoe Gertz makes a good foil for Laura as a funny, athletically broad broad called Liz and the female ensemble of this show is just wonderful.  They work so beautifully together as a team and the complexity of the choreography (Cameron Mitchell) has them on the front foot and enthusiastically able to back Rob into a corner.

One also needs to mention Erin Clare as Marie.  Clare and Wouters have number, ‘Ready to Settle’, that requires an incredibly deft touch.  It comes immediately after a huge, I want to stand up and call for an encore showstopper ‘Number 5 with a Bullet’ straight into a sweet and soulful ballad.  And they pull it off completely.  The audience as one  just drops straight into the next emotion.  There are so many moments in this production where heart and love are opted for over big and splashy.

That particular elision is just one example of the adroit directorial decisions in HIGH FIDELITY.  I loved the energy and focus and the fact that pauses are built in and musical phrases are doubled up to allow for laughter and appreciation of emotion. Especially when Ian is around and for Barry’s story’s end.

The text itself, though terribly predictable for the most part, has been crafted by Gooding with close attention to this specific black box.  One can see why it lasted less than a fortnight in 2006, a cavernous Broadway space feels wrong and song lyrics like “sloppy seconds” still don’t sit well.  With me anyway.  But the production has real intimacy and the flexible set allows room for big numbers and for a variety of levels.

The lighting is a very strong aspect of the production also.  Not just to colour but to narrow the field of vision for the more romantic numbers and encourage the mood into place.  The use of vibrant primary colours from the upstage is mitigated by the light lines around the doors and display walls.  The latter are often a lovely lilac as contrast to the palette or soothingly in concert with the light lavenders of the romantic scenes.  Disappointing followspot operation the night I attended but the emotional content is obviously working considering the number of tissues that kept appearing in the rows in front of me.  I’m telling you fellas … date night!

Or if you are a music aficionado this is a show to make your synapses spark.  It’s not just the guess all of me if you can wall mural and the abused ABBA on the doors.  Or the Queen homage or the ‘play it again’ Humphrey Bogart style advice from Springsteen.  I could even get those ones but  I do have a slightly sore side from where my music-tragic friend kept nudging me when there were refs in the riffs.

Oops I forgot it was a musical for a minute.  The voices are as fantastic as you would expect from this stunning ensemble, each an overachiever in their own right, and the live band under the always excellent Andre Worboys is equally terrific.   A good sound mix kept the voices sitting on top but for those times when the band needed to kick ass, you could enjoy the bass and the drum through your feet. They are supplement by recorded tracks and it’s well worth staying in at interval for the nostalgia in the music.

And there is a cracker final surprise in the exit music as you hit the foyer after the show. Listen out for it because you really should see HIGH FIDELITY.  Take a date!

HIGH FIDELITY continues to play at the Hayes Theatre, Potts Point. For more information visit:

https://hayestheatre.com.au/event/high-fidelity/

MURIEL’S WEDDING : THE MUSICAL @ ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE

Years ago, audiences fell in love with Muriel Heslop on the big screen, and now they are falling in love with her all over again, this time at the theatre.

Has there ever been a more likeable dag/outsider?! One just has to admire her daring, her nerve, that she will do anything to achieve her dreams, and damn any-one, or even any notion of her own self pride, that can get in the way.

Maggie McKenna steps very comfortably into the shoes that were filled in the movie by Toni Colette in the movie. She gives a wonderful performance, playing a classic ‘plain Jane’ character who will do anything that she can to break away from her mundane, bland life. Continue reading MURIEL’S WEDDING : THE MUSICAL @ ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE

HEATHERS THE MUSICAL @ THE FACTORY THEATRE Marrickville

 

 

HEATHERS THE MUSICAL provides multiple insights into the bullying, assaults, intimidation, violence and gun ownership of American senior high school students at Westerberg High. Beautiful misfit loner Veronica Sawyer, is wonderfully played with great gusto by Julia Hyde, when she finally succeeds in joining the school’s elite and cliquey trio of beautiful young women, THE HEATHERS.

Veronica falls deeply in lust for Jason Dean (J.D.), played by Stuart Prime, the very dark, mysterious and dangerously sexy new bad boy at the school. Julia Sophie Liela is undeniably menacing as the elegant Queen Bitch, Heather Chandler.

Unremittingly entertaining musical with biting lyrics plus murder and mayhem galore, and is based on the cult 1988 Hollywood movie HEATHERS starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater.

Directors Kyle Stephens and Liviu Monsted have wisely cast three very brightly voiced women as the Three Heathers. Thought-provoking teenage revenge musical contains frequent confronting adult themes and easily blends its enthralling young-adult drama with caustic sharp humour.

We finally meet the mean girls, these three bitches, Heather Duke, Heather McNamara and led by Heather Chandler. They are HEATHER I and II and III fully displayed in all their glory, hunting down all the nerds who are their easy prey, in the school jungle.

Mood enhancing lighting choices, and the intimate staging and brilliant set design were all exceptional. The realistic-looking dynamite bomb with timer, plus the explosion pyrotechnics helped make the evening extremely memorable. The young ensemble cast perfectly delivered Laurence O’Keefe’s and Kevin Murphy’s lyrics, with never-ending enthusiasm and intensity, making for an awe-inspiring great night out.

This is a bargain night out, as tickets are only $30 each, concession $25, plus booking fees.

Beautifully staged in an intimate theatre space, and with a superb young cast, this enthusiastic HEATHERS was magnificent and a very entertaining night out.          Continue reading HEATHERS THE MUSICAL @ THE FACTORY THEATRE Marrickville

MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL ON TRACK TO OPEN SOON

P.J.Hogan, the writer and director of the original film Muriel’s Wedding and the writer of the book to the musical, said that he was delighted when he cast the then relatively unknown Toni Collette in the role of Muriel Heslop.

His delight was replicated when Maggie McKenna was cast as Muriel in MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL Unlike in the film, the cast actually sing rather than mime. Music and lyrics have been provided by Keir Nuttal and Kate Miller-Heidke as well as songs by Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Stig Andersson (originally written for Abba). The  songwriting husband and wife team worked on the score for two years and are anxiously waiting to see how their hard work will be received.

Also prominent in the cast are Madeleine Jones as Rhonda, Muriel’s best friend, Gary Sweet as Muriel’s Dad, Bill ‘the Battler Heslop’, Justine Clarke as Muriel’s Mum, Betty, and Helen Dallimore as the beauty consultant, Deidre Chambers. Continue reading MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL ON TRACK TO OPEN SOON

JERSEY BOYS COMING TO THE CAPITOL IN SEPTEMBER 2018

JERSEY BOYS, the classic musical about The Four Seasons, is returning to Sydney in September next year. It is great news as the big musicals always present opportunities for young Australian music theatre talent.

Early in the week the producers announced the performers who have been selected to play the four band members who came from the wrong side of the tracks and went on to achieve world-wide fame. Following on from the announcement  the promoter organised the lucky four to do a series of media interviews.

I pitched up a little early for my interview slot, with interviews held at the Sofitel Wentworth. The boys arrived a tad late from a radio interview they had on 2CH with one of the icons of Sydney radio, Bob Rogers, who still has a prime time spot on mainstream Sydney radio in his early nineties! Continue reading JERSEY BOYS COMING TO THE CAPITOL IN SEPTEMBER 2018

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/

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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