Musical 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


SOMEWHERE ELSE TODAY  is back for a return season – just like Christmas!

Eli and Darcy do not want to spend another Christmas with Eli’s family, or in the Southern Hemisphere for that matter! George, the adopted son, has woken up with Brandi – last night’s one-night-stand – who just won’t leave. Jan is introducing her new boyfriend, Chuck, to everyone. Phil is sick of Christmas. Dorian is hungover. The Dog struggles for power with the men. And they haven’t even opened presents yet!

With lame gifts, clashing egos, a psychedelic retelling of the history of Christmas, and the fury of a woman scorned, this is just an ordinary Christmas with the Bennett family. Despite the craziness and chaos, the fights and over indulgence, Brenda Bennett, the matriarch, just wants to keep the family together.

Written and produced by Distortion Forever (Coco Grainger and Ludwig van Distortion) writers of Smash Hits And Stereotypes.

Warning: contains drug references, coarse language, and sexual references – it is Christmas after all!

Dec 18, 19, 21, 23 at 7:30pm and Dec 23 at 5pm

For more about Somewhere Else Today, visit
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England 932 A.D. A Kingdom divided. Legend tells of an extraordinary leader who arose from the chaos to unite a troubled kingdom. A man with a vision, who gathered Knights together in a Holy Quest. This man was Arthur, King of the Britons!

UTS Backstage is thrilled to return once again, with its final and largest production of the year – a unique student adaption of the hilarious Tony Award Winning Musical; MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT , adapted from the original 1975 film, Monty Python and The Holy Grail, Spamalot tells the legend of King Arthur, The Lady of the Lake and The Knights of the Round Table and their quest to find the legendary Holy Grail.

First performed at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway in 2005 it was originally directed by the Master of Slickness and Comedy; Mike Nichols. SPAMALOT has been reviewed both positively and negatively by critics, dubbing the musical as ‘Utterly pointless and a money maker to the original troup’ to ‘great fun’. Since its debut in 2005, the musical has won three Tony Awards for Best Musical and has received over 14 Tony Award nominations whilst being performed across the world in Chicago, Australia and West End in London.

SPAMALOT, makes many references to the original 1975 movie; Monty Python and The Holy Grail and other Monty Python films such as The Life of Brian, through references to the ‘Lumberjack Song’, ‘the Ministry of Silly Walks’ and ‘Always look on the Bright side of life’. It is a riotous comedy that is full of misfit knights, killer rabbits, dancing nuns, ferocious Frenchmen and African Swallows.

“SPAMALOT was a chance to direct a show that is incredibly silly and fun, that is not bogged down by any political message or moral lesson”.  director Michael Karagiannakis explains, when asked why he choose to direct this musical.

“It is a unique contemporary approach to comedy, as it strikes the perfect balance between the musical numbers and acting scenes” . He further goes on to explaining why this adaption of SPAMALOT is so unique stating that he has “directed the actors to be more cynical in their performances to suit more modern comic sensibilities, gender swapped characters in every conceivable area!”

“My immensely talented cast and crew have succeeded my expectations and this production has become something that’s bigger than myself or any given person involved. If you’re looking to see a fun show staged by some incredibly talented amateurs, this show is for you!”

UTS Backstage is the resident Theatre Society at the University of Technology of Sydney. Each semester Backstage puts on an array of productions, plays, musicals and trivia/comedy nights – all entirely student run! Though only established in 2011, Backstage has its mark in the Sydney Theatre circles with performances such as the Australian premiere of Sondheim’s The Frogs in 2015, Hairspray’ in 2016 and the more recent successful and sold out performances of 2017’s The Crucible and Blood Wedding.

SPAMALOT will be performed in the NIDA Playhouse Theatre, 215 Anzac Parade, Kensington NSW 2033. The show will run from Wednesday November 22nd, through to Saturday November 25th, with curtains up at 7.30pm.

More information about SPAMALOT visit

GODSPELL gets renewed life from Hills Musical Theatre Co

Hills Musical Theatre Company: GODSPELL

Hills Musical Theatre Company always puts on a great show but did I notice a smaller audience than usual at opening night?  I think people might be like me … outdated.  When I am asked to go to GODSPELL I usually think wholesome, worthy but why? Why do this show? It’s a bit preachy and the music is from the early 70s.

In theatrical terms I love to be proven wrong!  And HillsMTC’s GODSPELL gave me a life lesson for sure.  Theirs is the new 2012 version and it’s a stunning updating.  It ran for almost a year on Broadway.  The music that was such a hit in my youth is still there, naturally the Gospels remain untinkered with but there are contemporary references and most importantly a lot of the seriously misunderstood allusions of the original have been ditched!  No clowns or spangles here.  Just two or three or twenty and an audience gathered in the name of joy and love of performing.

Based mostly on the Gospels of Matthew, GODSPELL is a series of parables leading ultimately to a representation of the crucifixion of Jesus.   The show had its origins in the writer John-Michael Tebelak being refused entry to a Baptist church in the 1970s because of the hippy dungarees he wore. As a directing student at Carnegie Mellon University he decided to turn the experience into theatre, eventually teaming up with another alumnus, Stephen Schwartz, now known as a three time Grammy and Oscar winner.

This production of GODSPELL begins with a superb voice.  And it begins as it intends to go on … great voices, terrific performances and a band who to know when to get out of the way.  The soloist is centre stage and acapella.  Her alto is rich and resonates around the hall before she is joined by an equally superb soprano.  Then the babble of voices come in and the cast pile through the auditorium, choral work extraordinaire with a simple piano under.

It is here that I am going to apologize to the female leads in this production.  I was under your spell to the point of not taking individual note of the many brilliantly expressed female solo sections.  I have just written “lovely voice”, “beautiful rendering” and “what a top note!”  all through.

And that’s not such a bad thing. When you can’t put a wafer between 6 female leads, there is community at work.  Ensemble males Stephen Ollis and Greg Wood are also terrific solo singers and together with Renee Bechara, Fiona Brennan , Suzanne Chin, Linda Laoulach, Leanne Mordini, and Bernadette Sinclair you are a true ensemble.  Wonderful voices working together for the wholeness of the production.

And this a pleasingly  cohesive production.  Director John Brown and Musical Director Sue Brown have a clear vision and every element is part of the whole.  Yet there are constant surprises and oblique ways of managing the dignity and power with enthusiasm, blocking choices and direct-to-audience appeal. This is evident early as the show travels toward the entry of Jesus.   ‘Prepare Ye’.

After a pretty clever lighting effect to guide John the Baptist onto to the stage … BOOM! The rock score kicks in.  The cast are exuberant, the anointing is character filled and great fun and the harmonies… truly exciting.  This song is one of the great takeways from GODSPELL, it’s a toe tapper that lingers and it is exactly what you want to see and hear in a musical.  Humming along as I type even now.

Enter Jesus.

Jeff Fisher is fantastic to watch.  He is warm and personable as one would expect.  He’s wise, giving and open but there’s a solid bedrock of teacher and master in his performance.  One of the things I liked most on the acting side of this production was the rapport he has with this excellent cast.  And with Jonathan Barons as Judas.

Fisher has gravitas and not just because he is the tallest.  He exhibits a separateness without being condescending and has a mildness without being wishy washy.   His voice is clear and welcoming. He’s just really good.  As is Barons as John the Baptist then as Judas.  Both men vocally can hold the stage alone when required and their acting is unfalteringly in the moment.  Even when there are some  inventive modernisations in the production.

The contemporary feel which makes this show so enjoyable is down to John Brown’s direction.  John the Baptist (Barons) rallies the rabble with fist bumps and high fives to attend to Jesus. There are “you gotta be kidding me” and “please explain”.  There’s the North West rail link and Facebook.   And a very good sport who was extracted as a volunteer from the audience!  The set is clever and used with variety, the lighting is colourful without losing the white needed for clarity, the audio is really well operated, the costuming works in favour of movement and character.

There are some lovely sequences.  I was particularly impressed by ‘Save the People’.  Here there is a military, God’s Army feel to the lines of dancers, a passion and drive which is soothingly mitigated as the choreo morphs into hands raised and faces are gentled in supplication.  The descants are chilling in this and the cohesive cast work is on display.

It’s also worth going just to see the torment of Hades with Abraham and the angels, to hear the cast sound effects for the parable of the sowers, not to mention the swine and the fatted calf.  That is a very excitable cast up there!  Loved that fun side but I also stopped to appreciate the life affirming Auslan and hand mime work.

And the detailed musical direction.  It’s a bit of a tough gig this show.  Constant changes of tempo inside songs like ‘Day by Day’ where piano is highlighted by the gentle orchestration only to be kicked suddenly into high gear as the drumming rocks out.  The mandolin intro for Zacharias and woodblock and percussive work in ‘All For the Best’ versus the full 70’s back to GODSPELL’s rock roots of ‘Light of the World’.  And my favourite of the night.  The single note piano strikes which provide an almost ghostly heartbeat behind ‘Beautiful City.’

I also enjoyed the choreography by Laurie Tancred which is vibrant and led by the story and theme.   Her use of body percussion and foot stomps lifts elevate the happy-clappy nature of the text.  She also moves her cast in lines quite often and this gives that uniformity in response which is a really important way to bring so many different characters to a single message.

And there are still messages in GODSPELL.  To take as you want.  For me the ending is a bit slow as we move to the crucifixion, even with Fisher’s focused and emotional solo ‘Beautiful City’   For the two women who were in front of us with tears rolling down, there was obviously a different response to the final scenes.

I do find myself converted though.  This is not the stodgy, preachy, self-satisfied GODSPELL of my remembering.  This is an enjoyable, surprising, heart-warming offering and Hills Musical Theatre Company throws the light squarely on why GODSPELL has been a musical theatre favourite for 50 years.  A great night out for everybody!


GODSPELL by Hills Musical Theatre Company continues until Saturday 11th November.  More information and tickets at


Return Season of The Australian Premiere of “It Shoulda Been You”

IT SHOULDA BEEN YOUChatswood Musical Society at Riverside Theatre

Back by popular demand, the Australian Premiere of “It Shoulda Been You” will return to The Riverside Theatre for 4 shows only – Thursday 2 November, Friday 3 November and Saturday 4 November.

This hilarious new musical is a must see with twists and turns you can never see coming.

Broadway’s hilarious wild musical farce with blushing brides, nervous grooms, overbearing mums, unexpected guests, and plenty of crazy twists and turns.

A brand new show, fresh from Broadway nominated for six Outer Critics Circle Awards, 3 Drama League Awards and 3 Drama Desk Awards. (The original production was directed by David Hyde Pearce and starred Tyne Daly (Cagney & Lacey) and Harriet Harris (Frasier))  Guaranteed to be the best wedding you have ever been to!

This show appeals to everyone. Don’t miss this wonderful new musical which was sold out for their April run a The Independent Theatre, North Sydney to rave reviews.

Come and see a new show for a change.

2 November, 3 November and 4 November 7.30pm & 4 November at 2pm

For more about Return Season of The Australian Premiere of “It Shoulda Been You”, visit


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 that he vows to organize – despite the fact that he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef.

Hill’s plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian, the librarian, who transforms him into a respectable citizen by curtain’s fall.

This latest show by the Hornsby Musical Society is  filled with memorable tunes such as “Ya Got Trouble”, “Seventy Six Trombones” and “Shipoopi”.

$30* Concession
$35* Adult
(*plus $2 booking fee per ticket) Continue reading HORNSBY MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS ‘THE MUSIC MAN’ @ HORNSBY RSL


This show takes one back to the times of big bands with big egos playing big guitar solos and sporting even bigger hair!

This Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical features the hits of bands including Journey, Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, and others.

20, 21, 27 & 28 Oct 2017 @ 8pm
21, 22, 28 & 29 Oct 2017 @ 2pm

Phone – 9793 1331
Online –

Director – Fiona Eskbank
Musical Director – Melissa Abraham
Choreographer – Bryony Williams
Production Manager – Wendy Twiner

SHERRIE – Emelia May
DREW – Daniel Schneider
LONNY – Todd Lavin
DENNIS – Christian Hemsley
HERTZ – Peter Adam
REGINA – Lara Barazi-Clingan
STACEE JAXX – Christopher Daw
FRANZ – Matthew Hammond
JUSTICE – Sasha-Lee Saunders
JA’KEITH – Michael Mitchell
MAYOR – Jim Mitchell
WAITRESS#1 – Annabel Newman
CONSTANCE – Alexis Jacobson

Bryony Williams, Patrick Humphreys, Katrina Sichlau, Warren Eskbank, Erin Watt, Andrew Del Popolo, Laura Glynn, Jeremy Jackson, Emma Rawlings, Brian Pritchard, Elizabeth Carter, Eric Sormosa-Papplabo, Siri Molin, James Mcmah, Louisa Marcu, Charles Falzon, Daniella Giles, Katie Thorpe, Kate Babinard and Jeoffrey Avaient

20, 21, 27 & 28 Oct 2017 @ 8pm // 21, 22, 28 & 29 Oct 2017 @ 2pm at Concord RSL.

For more about Rock of Ages – Ashfeld Musical Society, visit
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Above: Charles McComb as Roger. Featured image: the full ensemble sing  ‘Seasons Of Love’

Giacomo Puccini, was the composer of La Boheme the opera on which the musical RENT is based. He adored the chance to present confronting plots with a range of characters, as well as scenes both joyous and tragic. He wedded music to an operatic libretto which demanded naturalistic performances dripping in genuine chemistry.

Puccini would love this visceral and evocative Rockdale Musical Society production of RENT as deftly directed by Kate Berger. The clear treatment of Jonathan Larson’s score by musical director David Lang would also titillate Puccini’s musical drama palette, which savoured purely atmospheric soundscapes over which a tapestry of exuberant and decaying energies were colourfully contrasted.

Rockdale Musical Society’s wintry 2017 RENT succeeds amongst assorted attempts by community theatre contemporaries due to the fiercely believable quality which imbues all singing, and action on the stage. Many of the main characters are superbly well cast and chemistry between the main Bohemists struggling to find love and avoid death in a poor and drug-filled neighbourhood cuts keenly. Continue reading ROCKDALE MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS ‘RENT’ @ ROCKDALE TOWN HALL


There’s a “stage full of stiffs” in the Hills…

In the first few minutes of BUGSY MALONE vast numbers of bad guys are done in by vicious cream pie attacks and random bystanders are felled by crazy string machine guns. Little Chicago circa 1920s is littered with speakeasy staff and speak quickly mob bosses. By the time we get to Fat Sam’s Grand Slam and the body count is piling up, we are so glad that there are over 50 young people in the cast … we just don’t want the fun to end through lack of upright citizens.

Because, from the top of the show, Hills Musical Theatre Company’s BUGSY MALONE, performed exclusively by kids (from 10-16 years) is joyous, thrilling, incomparable community theatre. It’s a treat for all ages and a testament to what young people can do if we prepare them, support them and let ’em loose!

There’s a mob war happening, you see. Fat Sam is being out-armed by Dandy Dan who has managed to find a supplier for a secret weapon. Splurge guns! No longer are the streets slick with the failed hurlings of mano-on-mano flans, this new invention targets victims directly where it hurts. Fat Sam needs to get those guns and he has the green stuff to hire the best driver in the business, our narrator and all round good guy, Bugsy Malone.

In 1974, to keep his four kids entertained on long car trips English Filmmaker Alan Parker (who would direct a huge variety of films from FAME to MIDNIGHT EXPRESS) made up a story about a Chicago gangster from snippets of memory of films and books he had encountered. His eldest son, Alex, insisted that the story had to be about kids. When Parker decided to make a film of his amusing tale he enlisted Paul Williams to write the music and went on a talent search for young people. Jodie Foster and Scott Baio were just two names in the film and when it became a musical in 1983, Micky Dolenz from The Monkeys directed a young Catherine Zeta-Jones to wide acclaim.

Now for a new list of names. Any one of these kids could be the next generation of Australian musical theatre stars. They are remarkably talented and focused in a family friendly show with Hills MTC’s traditionally high production values.

Let’s have a quick chat about that first. Peek at the early promo images for the show and you will see kids in school musical costumes. Dangling sleeves, Dad’s cut down suit. Go and see the show now and you will see superbly envisioned costumes (Rebecca Demary- co-ordinator).

Every child’s costume fits them, so do their hats and shoes and ties and furs and fans and pom pom fringes. Each change, and there are many, gives the young artist a character to bring on with them. The showgirls look glorious in their beaded and sequined and fringed gold flapper dresses and then they come out in the second act in equally lush silver costumes. Just brilliant! Continue reading HILLS MUSICAL THEATRE COMPANY PUT ON A CRACKER PRODUCTION OF ‘BUGSY MALONE’



‘No one mourns the wicked’.

The Willoughby Theatre Company transport us to OZ in this, their latest splendid production. It is colourful and spectacular with some sensational staging. The cast is young, vibrant, energetic and enthusiastic.

For this version the front cloth is a green and gold revolving compass like design . (No looming dragon, sorry fellow OZians).

The orchestra as boisterously led by Greg Jones played magnificently, but in Act 2 a couple of times I thought the sound was a little overwhelming and was presented like a rock opera rather than a musical.

Now regarded as a modern classic WICKED by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holman, based on the book by Gregory Maguire tells the story ‘ behind the scenes’ of The Wizard of Oz and what really happened. Who is Elphaba, the ‘Wicked Witch of the West‘? Why is her skin green ? What is Glinda’s real name? Who were the Tin Man , Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion originally ? All these questions are answered in the show… Continue reading WILLOUGHBY THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS ‘WICKED’ @ THE CONCOURSE CHATSWOOD



Once upon a time there was a small intimate theatre that decided to put on a musical called BIG FISH and the show became a smash hit and just grew and grew…This captivating musical has a heart bigger than the Nullarbor Plains.

The show is presented as a ‘chamber opera’ in what the producers have called the ‘twelve chairs’ version. Under Tyran Parke’s refined, accomplished direction, and thrillingly staged, the brilliant cast bring this story to magnificent life.

The small orchestra as led by Luke Byrne are invisible behind the scenery – we never see them but they are terrific. The set – young Will’s bedroom with seashell ruffles at the back for the mermaid – allows for fluid scene and locale changes including the moving  in and out of beds and tables etc. Continue reading BIG FISH : A MUST SEE @ THE HAYES


‘The most beautiful thing in the world is a shoe’ .

Shoes can be art, lovingly crafted sculpture.
Kinky Boots has bounced into Sydney! Price and Son have taken over the Capitol to screams of delight from shoe people.

This bright bold and colourful musical with a huge heart will have you dancing in the aisles. It is often joyous , sexy and exuberant yet also deals with underlying darker issues. It is a story about self-acceptance,  personal growth, prejudice and the acceptance of outsiders .

Kinky Boots is the show that beat Matilda in the 2013 Tony Awards for best Musical – to some raised eyebrows.       Continue reading KINKY BOOTS @ CAPITOL THEATRE


Chatswood Musical Society’s Australian premiere of the Broadway  hit, IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU, music by Barbara Anselmi and lyrics by Brian Hargrove, is 90 minutes of non-stop hilarity. With his production of the show,  Director James Worner has been able to spread the joy he felt when he saw the play on Broadway.

This is a roller coaster musical farce featuring nervous grooms, overbearing mums, unexpected guests, and the odd blushing bride.

The bride is Jewish. The groom is Catholic. Their mothers are gale force matriarchs. The audience related to, and many times laughed at, the familiar fears, expectations and tensions that come with family celebrations. As old relatives staggered about, young friends weaved in and out of the melee seeking reassurance. When the bride’s ex-boyfriend crashed the party, it was up to the sister of the bride to turn things around to enable the happy ending. Continue reading IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU : AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE OF A BROADWAY HIT MUSICAL


Blackout Theatre is kicking ass and taking names at Lend Lease Theatre in the Darling Quarter.

Add my name to the list: the list of supporters and advocates for this kick-ass community theatre and the list of audience members who absolutely loved DOGFIGHT on its opening night.

DOGFIGHT is a musical set in San Francisco, November 21st 1963 as the Vietnam War rages and Haight Ashbury is attracting the ‘love not hate’ unwashed . It was written with hindsight in the early part of the second decade of this century by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, known together as Pasek and Paul, who won the Golden Globe and have been nominated for an Oscar for LA LA LAND. It did not wow at the time.

Here are some names for you: Derek Klena; Lindsay Mendez. They were in the original production. DOGFIGHT had a very successful season at the Hayes in 2015 but this is DOGFIGHT’s Australian amateur premier. Continue reading DOGFIGHT : ANOTHER OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION BY BLACKOUT THEATRE COMPANY


SOMEWHERE ELSE TODAY  tells the story of the Bennett family on one particular day of the year – Christmas Day.

Eli and Darcy do not want to spend another Christmas with Eli’s family, or in the Southern Hemisphere for that matter! George, the adopted son, has woken up with Brandi – last night’s one-night-stand – who just won’t leave. Jan is introducing her new boyfriend, Chuck, to everyone. Phil is sick of Christmas. Dorian is hungover. The Dog struggles for power with the men. And they haven’t even opened presents yet!

With lame gifts, clashing egos, a psychedelic retelling of the history of Christmas, and the fury of a woman scorned, this is just an ordinary Christmas with the Bennett family. Despite the craziness and chaos, the fights and over indulgence, Brenda Bennett, the matriarch, just wants to keep the family together – it is after all Christmas.

SOMEWHERE ELSE TODAY is an original comedy/drama musical written by Ludwig van Distortion and Coco Grainger. Paying homage to Phil Spector and Cole Porter, SOMEWHERE ELSE TODAY wants to do what Mozart and Leonard Bernstein did  with West Side Story and show a modern audience its own experiences on stage with accessible, yet complex, music propelling the drama.

Sunday 18 Dec 6:30pm
Monday 19 Dec, Tuesday 20 Dec, Wednesday 21 Dec at 7:30pm

VENUE –  New Theatre: 542 King Street Newtown NSW 2042

For more information  about Somewhere Else Today, visit

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The Hayes Theatre often finds unloved musicals and brings them back to life. It performs the function of an off Broadway music hall. Musicals have some  strange premises – a flesh eating plant in Little Shop Of Horrors, Mormons in The Book Of Mormon and a US Founding Father in Hamilton.

The Hayes has turned its attention to a musical based on the real life twin sisters Daisy and Violet Hilton, joined at the hip but otherwise possessing separate limbs and organs. They grew up touring America (and Australia) in a travelling freak show where they were cruelly exploited by their guardian, Meyer Meyers.

However when their great talent and charm was discovered by a vaudeville promoter, they were urged to seek freedom from their guardianship which in 1931 they succeeded to do. As a result they became a national sensation and amongst the highest paid stars of 1930s Broadway. The musical covers the period from an account of their mother’s rejection in a Brighton UK hospital in 1908 until their appearance in Tod Browning’s film Freaks in 1932. Continue reading SIDE SHOW @ THE HAYES


Rent: Blackout

Rarely have I wanted to encourage an audience to see a show as much as I want you to see RENT by Blackout Theatre Company playing at The Joan at Penrith. Rarely does an audience get the chance to see a Community Theatre thriving by virtue of dogged hard work and irrepressible enthusiasm. On its website Blackout suggests that after 15 years and 2 name changes (many theatre goers will recognize them as Blacktown Theatre Company) they are taking a fresh approach to Community Theatre.

RENT is a great example of grass roots theatre. It’s a big, engaging show with a huge cast and crew and if the rousing applause on Opening Night any indication, a community behind them. Though a harsh judge might find the production a little flawed, Blackout’s RENT is youthful and joyous and created with an energy that spills through the audience. Continue reading RENT @ THE JOAN SUTHERLAND PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE PENRITH


AT LAST – THE ETTA JAMES STORY saw its world premiere in 2013 and since then has played to packed theatres and thunderous applause throughout Australia and New Zealand. Having recently completed a sell-out season at Arts Centre Melbourne this incredible show returns once more to The Sydney Opera House – for one week only!

Starring the sensational Vika Bull the show tells the story of soul legend Etta James turbulent life and features some of her most beloved songs including Tell MamaI’d Rather Go Blind, her iconic signature song At Last and more.

Vika puts her heart and soul into this unforgettable show and is joined on stage by some Australia’s nest and funkiest musicians.
During a long career that saw her win six Grammy Awards and a star on The Hollywood Walk Of Fame, Etta James has influenced a vast array of artists. Sadly, her frantic recording and touring schedule coincided with her ever-growing addiction problems and over time she not only sang the blues…she lived the blues.

Mercifully, her passion for life and strength of character saw her conquer her demons and she continued to record and perform into her seventies.

This is her story.

AT LAST : THE ETTA JAMES STORY will play the Drama Theatre at the Sydney Opera House between July 12 and July 17.

For more about At Last – The Etta James Story, visit
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The revival of the musical adaptation of Roger Corman’s movie LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, which was a big hit at the Hayes Theatre earlier this year, is returning to a much larger and more accommodating venue, the Roslyn Packer theatre in Walsh Bay. The show is having a short season playing between the 20th and the 28th July.

These are some of my favorite photos from the Media Call before the show’s recent Hayes theatre season to whet your appetite.

Cast (3)
The cast
Esther Hannaford & Brent Hill
Esther Hannaford & Brent Hill
Supreme-esque Trio
Supreme-esque Trio
Esther Hannaford



Jennifer Parbery
Jennifer Parbery

Miranda Musical Society’s production captures the audience with a very moving musical revue of the work of the late   Belgian songwriter and performer.

Jacques Brel was a major influence on English-speaking songwriters and performers such as David Bowie and Leonard Cohen, and English translations of his songs have been recorded by many top performers including Ray Charles and John Denver.

Brel died in 1949 but his songs endure, as do the English versions by Eric Blau and Mort Shuman which form the basis of this show which first opened in New York in 1968. Continue reading MIRANDA MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS



Sinead Cristaudo and Nic Savage as Diana and Dan in Next to Normal
Sinead Cristaudo and Nic Savage as Diana and Dan in Next to Normal

This is such a wonderful show. Everything you want in a musical. It won Tonys for its score and orchestration and it won the Pulitzer. There is such lightness and dark to a piece that I can unashamedly say, since I first saw it last year, is my favourite musical. And as I explained to my friend in no uncertain terms as we travelled through Sydney’s peak hour traffic and pouring rain… I’m going to be very cross if they fuck it up!

They did not.

UNSW Musical Theatre Society has produced a thrilling production of NEXT TO NORMAL . It is irrelevant that this work is being done by students acting outside their age range, in a wartime shed that I performed in as an undergrad a lifetime ago, to an opening night audience of friends and relos. For me, this was a night to remember, a production to cherish and cast to keep an eye out for. Continue reading UNSW MUSICAL THEATRE SOCIETY PRESENTS NEXT TO NORMAL @ STUDIO ONE THEATRE, UNSW


Chorus LineThis is  a pure entertainment experience first seen in 1975, and coming from that time when the Broadway musical scene was in full unrivaled glory,

Be taken on a life affirming, two hour emotional roller coaster ride delivered in song and dance. A CHORUS LINE the entire cast delivers emotionally charged performances, and triumphantly delivers the ultimate expression, of what all musicals need to be.

Conceived by Michael Bennett, dancers try out for a new musical, before a very demanding director. Based on stories from real Broadway dancers, as remembered by fellow dancer and choreographer Michael Bennett. Book by Nicholas Dante and James Kirkwood, is still very fresh and marvellously creative, with its dancer audition line-up of twenty-six unique individuals. Full of life characters, with true-to-life back stories. Continue reading MANLY MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS A CHORUS LINE @ STAR OF THE SEA THEATRE MANLY


Willoughby Theatre Company - Catch Me If You Can - Grant Leslie Photography
Willoughby Theatre Company – Catch Me If You Can – Grant Leslie Photography

Live in living colour Willoughby Theatre Company have pulled out all the stops in their magnificent production, the NSW premiere of this bright , bold musical that is incredibly based on a true story.

Readers might be familiar with the book and/or the movie starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio. It is the astonishing tale of Frank Abagnale Jr. who, before his 19th birthday, successfully scammed millions of dollars’ worth of cheques using various identities as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor. Musical aficionados will probably pick up fleeting references to Chicago, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Rent, City of Angels, Company, Grease and others. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS CATCH ME IF YOU CAN @ THE CONCOURSE CHATSWOOD



Bright , bold and colourful WONDERFUL TOWN is rarely performed these days in comparison with other Bernstein musicals.

This production represents the second collaboration between Squabbalogic and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs following on from the  Of Thee I Sing concert held. The show is a semi-staged version.

The large  orchestra, almost fifty in number, under the enthusiastic baton of Brett Weymark is on stage in a style similar to that of a swing band. And maestro Weymark participates in the plot at times. Continue reading SQUABBALOGIC AND SYDNEY PHILHARMONIA CHOIRS PRESENT WONDERFUL TOWN


Ben Elton introducing the performers at the Media Call
Casey Donovan - 'Killer Queen'
Casey Donovan and ensemble performing the hit song ‘Killer Queen’

All photos by Ben Apfelbaum who attended the Media Call held recently at the Lyric for the Guide. Featured pic- Erin Clare, Ben Elton, Gareth Keegan and Jaz Flowers.

It has finally come around, tomorrow night is the opening night, and the Australian premiere, of the rock musical extravaganza, WE WILL ROCK YOU, with the book by Ben Elton which he has fashioned around more than 24 Queen songs.

Elton’s show has travelled over 28 countries and been enjoyed by over more than 16 million  fans since it first premiered back in 2002.

For the shows’ Australian tour a first class cast has been chosen.  WE WILL ROCK YOU stars Gareth Keegan (Jersey Boys) as Galileo, Erin Clare (Heathers) as Scaramouche, Casey Donovan (The Sapphires) as Killer Queen, Brian Mannix (Uncanny X-Men) as Buddy, Jaz Flowers (Hairspray) as Oz, Thern Reynolds (Rock of Ages) as Brit, and (ABC TV’s Jack Irish) as Khashoggi. Continue reading WE WILL ROCK YOU @ SYDNEY LYRIC THEATRE, THE STAR