After much anticipation, MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL is finally arriving! A joint co-production by the Sydney Theatre Company and Global Creatures, the show is opening tonight at the Roslyn Packer Theatre.

A stage musical adaptation, brought to the present day by writer PJ Hogan, the show is being directed by Simon Phillips and features original music by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall, along with the original beloved Abba numbers. The show is exclusively playing Sydney.          Continue reading MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL : OPENING TONIGHT!


Featured image- Performers Stephen Mahy and Sarah Morrison. Pic by Ben Apfelbaum.

Over 60 million people have fallen in love with the story and the music that makes MAMMA MIA the ultimate feel good musical.

A new Australian production- producers Michael Coppel, Louise Withers and Linda Bewick– will be directed by Helpmann Award winner Gary Young, with a creative team that includes Choreographer Tom Hodgson and Musical Supervisor Stephen Amos.

Set on a Greek Island paradise, combined with the story telling magic of Abba’s timeless songs, writer Catherine Johnson’s tale centres around a young bride to be’s quest to discover the identity of her father. This quest brings 3 men from her mother’s past back to the island, they all visited twenty years ago.

Starring in this brand new Australian production as mother of the bride Donna Sheridan is Natalie O’Donnell. Donna’s daughter and bride to be Sophie, is emerging young actress Sarah Morrison. Donna’s loyal friend Rosa is played by  Alicia Gardiner. Sophie’s adoring fiance Sky is played by Stephen Mahy. The prospective fathers’ of the bride are played by Ian Stenlake, Phillip Lowe and Josef Ber.

Featuring 22 of Abba’s greatest hits, MAMMA MIA will open at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre from 11th February, 2018.




With over 500 performers on stage, GREASE THE ARENA EXPERIENCE is big in every sense of the word.  Executive Producer, Tim O’Connor, is delighted to announce a third and final show at Qudos Bank Arena.  Tickets are on sale now for 19th & 20th January 2018 .

International Drag superstar singer and entertainer, Courtney Act (aka Shane Jenek) will take on the role of Teen Angel – regarded as one of most fabulous roles in musical theatre.

Courtney Act first rose to national prominence when he was bumped out of Australian Idol as Shane Jenek, but then re-auditioned as Courtney Act and raced through to the Semi Finals.  She then took off for the bright lights of the USA and landed on the international hit show, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”.  2018 is a massive year for Courtney.  Apart from starring as Teen Angel, Courtney has been appointed Ambassador for the 2018 Adelaide Fringe as well as touring her own show “Under the Covers”.

The Footy Show’s very own long-time larrikin Beau Ryan will showcase his zany humour and suit up in the role of the cheesy DJ Vince Fontaine.

Beau Ryan is well known to Sydney audiences as the loveable larrikin on the NRL Footy Show, but this is not his first venture onto the stage.  In 2015 he starred in Bonnie Lithgow’s Aladdin, which gave him a taste for the ‘live theatre’ experience.

Meghan O’Shea (Singing in the Rain) returns in the iconic role of star-crossed lover, Sandy and making his debut in a lead role, Damon Wade as Danny.  Lauren McKenna – who played Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray – the Big Fat Arena Spectacular, will swap a can of hairspray for a Pink Ladies jacket when she takes on the role of Jan.  Also starring Chris Geoghegan as Kenickie, Ruby Clark as Rizzo, Stacey de Waard as Frenchie and Emily Monsma as Marty alongside a mass ensemble of over 500 young performers.

The ultimate party musical features all the favourite hits including; “You’re the One That I Want”, “Greased Lightnin'”, “Grease is the Word”, “Summer Nights”, “Beauty School Drop Out” and “Born to Hand Jive“.

Grease is the timelessly funny story of 1950s teen love, cliques, and peer pressure. Join your favourite Rydell High students, Danny & Sandy, The T-Birds and the Pink Ladies along with a cast of hilarious characters as they jive and bop their way to Graduation.

More information about GREASE THE ARENA EXPERIENCE

Tickets are on sale now for 19th & 20th January 2018 at


Production photography by Sarah Cutter-Russell (POP Photography).

I went over to Newtown, to the King Street Theatre, to see this latest production by MUSE, an acronym for the Sydney University Musical Theatre Ensemble.

It has been sad to hear recently that the King Street Theatre is likely to close down at the end of January, and is expected to reopen as, of all things, a gym.  Well I guess at least it is better than the fate, years ago, that fell on  Woollahra’s Lookout Theatre, run for many years by Andrea Baker, which turned into a poker machine den!

MUSE’s decision to put on this rock musical adaptation of German playwright Franz Wedekind’s Spring Awakening is a cracking good choice (Book and Lyrics by Steven Sater, Songs and music by Duncan Sheik). I am pleased to say that they put on a good production with Laura Balboni directing, Miranda Middleton as the choreographer, Laura Heuston as Musical Director of a fine seven piece Orchesta, and Oliver Beard as the Repititeur. Continue reading SPRING AWAKENING : A ROCK MUSICAL WITH PLENTY OF PUNCH


RENT is a revered work. Only a month ago when Lin -Manuel Miranda’s HAMILTON: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL Cast Recording passed RENT’s sales, Miranda paid homage by telling Twitter “Okay I’ll take some questions but only answer in Rent quotes? Go!” Thousands responded.

I revere it too. It’s on my playlist with a small tear still available for some songs. And I see it as often as I can: it is a popular choice for amateur, pro and semi-pro companies. But it is twenty years old now. Time for a reassessment and, for me, in 2017, RENT cries out for a young cast. The right young cast.

It needs an excess of energy, it needs a modern emphasis on relationships rather than suffering, it needs the emotional gut punch of youth threatened and potential lost.

It needs Macquarie Musical Society.

Jonathan Larson was a week from his 36th birthday when he passed away. It was 1996 and the night when previews of RENT were about to start Off Broadway. He had been working on it for many years and it was a work of lived experience. Larson had lived in a loft with no heat, working for ten years in a diner for low pay at a time when the creative population of NYC was being decimated by AIDS. Ten days before his death he sold some books to get the money to buy a movie ticket.

RENT also has La Boheme as inspiration, Mimi is HIV positive rather than tuberculotic, Mark is Marcello with a camera instead of a canvas and the love-sick poet Rodolfo becomes the blocked song writer Roger. They are poor, disenfranchised and disregarded. And living in very poor circumstances. Continue reading MACQUARIE MUSICAL SOCIETY LIGHTS UP THE LIGHTHOUSE WITH ‘RENT’


Rehearsals have commenced in Sydney for the Australian run of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production of THE WIZARD OF OZ, brought to Australia by John Frost and  Suzanne Jones. The production will feature some new songs composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Tim Rice. 

The principal cast members are Anthony Warlow as The Wizard and Professor Marvel, Lucy Durack as Glenda The Good Witch, Jemma Rix as the Wicked Witch Of the West, rising star Samantha Dodemaide in the coveted role of Dorothy, her first leading role in a musical, Eli Cooper as the Scarecrow, Alex Rathgeber as the Tin Man and John Xintavelonis will play the Lion.

THE WIZARD OF OZ, directed by Jeremy Sams, will commence its Australian tour with a season at the Lyric Theatre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre which will start from the the 4th November. The show will then move to Sydney’s Capitol Theatre from the 30th December. After its Sydney season  the Emerald City and its Wizard will move across to Adelaide from he 3rd April, 2018.


Featured image. Lucy Durack. All photos by Ben Apfelbaum.



This is a glitzy, bright bold and colourful production slickly staged by the Willoughby Theatre Company (WTC).

The show is a bleak, cynical, world weary look at life murder and corruption in Chicago of the 1920’s and includes audience favourites like All That Jazz and Razzle Dazzle.

The story is a satire on corruption in the administration of criminal justice and the concept of the “celebrity criminal”.

Set in Prohibition-era Chicago, the musical is based on a 1926 play of the same name by crime reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins.

Each number is based on a traditional vaudeville act or performer, making explicit the show’s comparison between “justice”, “show-business”, and contemporary society.

The iconic show has won six Tonys and is one of the longest running shows both on Broadway and in London.

There have been two major productions in Sydney, the landmark Sydney Theatre Company production with Geraldine Turner and Nancey Hayes in 1981, the production in 1999 at the Capitol with  Caroline O’Connor and Chelsea Gibb.

What is interesting is the slight changes – the ‘standard’ Fosse choreography is not used, although there are allusions to it,  and the WTC seek to out Barnum Barnum and razzle -dazzle us with HUGE production numbers.

There is no fan dance with chorus girls for Billy Flynn’s All care About Is Love– yet the girls appear in other sections of the show, and the sharp, spiky Cell Block Tango has another team of ladies up top on the scaffolding. And why were there three extra Billys and Roxies for We Both Reached For the Gun?! 

Rather than have various cast members introduce the assorted numbers in Brechtian style,in this production we have a dapper MC nattily played by Luke Davis.

Andrew Castle lovingly directs with great timing and pacing from the fine ensemble who perform with panache. The orchestra under the baton of Alex Ash was sensational , bringing the infectious score vibrantly to life.

The 1920’s costumes were incredibly detailed and textured – oh ! the beading and lace for some of them!

Janina Hamerlok’s choreography was snazzy and oh so showbizzy, also including tap and the Charleston.

Dangerous, angry Velma Kelly , a deadly viper who is dethroned in prison by her rival ,was given an impressive performance by Kristina McNamara. 

Her big introductory number – All That Jazz – boisterously set the scene .We see how she sets out to look after number one but is also  scared and fragile. She shimmies, she dances up a dazzling storm to try and get Roxie on her side( I Simply Cannot Do It Alone) .

Roxie Hart, superficially sweet and pretty is coldly calculating, as played by fiery, petite Erin Carlton who portrays her as a spoilt and self absorbed wannabe who tries trading up in boyfriends and pinches Velma’s plans for her trial . Her baby is also a scam.

Roxie transforms her prison cell into a command centre for her commando raids on Chicago’s court system , with help from Flynn. We do also see her vulnerability underneath. The Nowadays duet was glamorous and eye catching,

Sleek, suave, cynical, corrupt hot shot lawyer Billy Flynn was marvellously played by Gavin Brightwell who croons his way through All He Cares About Is Love – oh yeah? The money , rather.

Matron Mama Morton was given a dazzling performance by Courtney Powell who cynically reveals her corruption. She sings up a storm and her When You’re Goo to Mama brings the house down

Quiet, shy Amos, Roxie’s husband, who is rather simple and naive , (Mr Cellophan ), was terrifically played by Scott Dias in a very sympathetic performance.

Vibrant naïve Mary Sunshine (There’s A Little Bit of Good in Everyone), who hides a deep secret,  was given a splendid performance by Jared Pallesen .

CHICAGO is about life as a battlefield and the weapons we use in our attempts to survive the wars. It is witty and intelligent its famous songs about betrayal, selfishness and press manipulation, could be equally at home either on the Broadway or Australian stage or in any of the recent Presidential or Prime Ministerial campaigns, giving us plenty to think about.

Razzle dazzle them ….

Running time – just over 2 & ½ hours.

Willoughby Theatre Company’s CHICAGO is playing the  Concourse  at Chatswood until the 22nd October.

Book by Fred Ebb & Bob Fosse
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fredd Ebb
Based on the play Chicago by Maurine Dallas Watkins
Script adaptation by David Thompson



Rockdale Musical Society’s DREAMGIRLS is a vibrant, highly entertaining production of this Tony Award and Olivier Award-winning musical.

With music by Henry Krieger and lyrics and book by Tom Eyen the musical is based on the show business aspirations and successes of rhythm and blues acts such as The Supremes.

DREAMGIRLS  tells the story of a young female singing trio called “The Dreams” that crosses over to the pop charts in the 1960s to become music superstars, but at a price.

Dreamgirls is not just about exciting singing and dancing as it reveals the behind-the-scenes reality of the entertainment industry, the rivalries, the heartbreak and the tough business side of success.

The original trio, Deena Jones played by Sasha-Lee Saunders, Lorrell Robinson played by Jade Montalvo and Effie White played by Kaleigh Wilkie-Smith all have true, strong voices which harmonise beautifully together. My pick of the performances was by Claudio Acosta who plays Jimmy Early, a popular rhythm and blues star, with whom the Dreamettes, as the trio are originally known, are backup singers for. Continue reading DREAMGIRLS : A FUN AND GLITTERING RIDE @ ROCKDALE TOWN HALL


“The art of making art is putting it together”

Inspired by George Seurat’s magnificent painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s soaring musical is itself an artistic masterpiece.

The piece is one of the most acclaimed musicals of our time, and earned the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for its deeply insightful and highly personal examination of life through art and the artist.

This musical is an experiment in form and aesthetic, dictated by questions concerning art, children, and one’s legacy.

Join the conversation:
#sundayinthepark2017 | #sydneyfringe | #littletriangle


Little Triangle will present SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE @ the Depot Theatre, Marrickville between September 6th and 16th. Performance times – Wed – Sat 8pm, Sun 5pm

For more about Sunday in the Park with George, visit
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The internationally acclaimed hit musical DREAMGIRLS is about to make it’s NSW premiere this September at the Rockdale Town Hall.

DREAMGIRLS is the story of three black singers, Deena Jones played by Sasha Saunders, Lorrell Robinson played by Jade Montalvo and Effie White played by Kaleigh Wilkie-Smith, who take their group the “Dreamettes” on a journey from rags to riches, with their song writer and brother C.C. played by Stefan Jamal, in the competitive world of show business to become “The Dreams”.

The show is loosely based around the success of 60’s superstars The Supremes and The Shirelles and takes place in a time when racial acceptance was still in its early stages both socially and professionally.

Under the guidance of Curtis Taylor Jr. played by Quinton Rich, the girls learn fast that to become music superstars they need to cross over into the main stream music charts.

Life at the top is rocky, Effie leaves after she is dumped by husband Curtis as lead singer for Deena. Michelle Morris played by Liv Wassef joins the group and Lorrell takes up with the R&B mega star James “Thunder” Early played by Claudio Acosta, who is married and refuses to break from his wife.

With each of the girl’s lives taking different paths and their star fading fast the girls need to make some very life changing decisions.

“DREAMGIRLS is a roller coaster of emotions for each character as they grow and change throughout the 20 year span of the show” says the shows director Rod Herbert. “I believe our audiences will fall in love with each of these characters for their own individual story that is playing out within one larger chapter of their combined journey.”

The musical which is still playing professionally on London’s West End and was the inspiration for the Academy Award winning film starring Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy has some of musical theatres biggest and best Rock and Roll, R&B and big ballads including Cadillac Car, Stepping To The Bad Side and I’m Telling You.

Directed by Rod Herbert, with musical direction from Anthony Cutrupi and choreography by Joseph Nalty, DREAMGIRLS has an all-singing, all-dancing cast of more than thirty of some of Sydney’s best young musical theatre talent.

Rockdale Musical Society presents DREAMGIRLS
Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyer, Music by Henry Krieger
Rockdale Town Hall cnr Princes Highway & Bryant Street, Rockdale

Friday 8 Sept 8pm | Saturday 9 Sept 2pm | Saturday 9 Sept 8pm | Sunday 10 Sept 2pm
Friday 15 Sept 8pm | Saturday 16 Sept 2pm | Saturday 16 Sept 8pm | Sunday 17 Sept 2pm

Tickets $31.50 to $41.50 (incl booking fee)
For more information about DREAMGIRLS and bookings- Sydney premier presented by Rockdale Musical Society, visit
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Featured photo- Esther Hannaford who will play Carole King. Photography by Ben Apfelbaum.

Rehearsals have begun for the Australian premiere production of BEAUTIFUL : THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL, starring multi-award winning leading lady, Esther Hannaford as Carole King.

BEAUTIFUL is a celebration of Carole King’s rise to stardom including her relationship with husband and songwriting partner Gerry Goffin and their close friendship and playful rivalry with fellow song-writing duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

Written by Douglas McGrath, directed by Broadway Director Mark Bruni and choreographed by John Prince it features a song list jam-packed with hits including ‘You’ve Got A Friend’, ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’ and many more of classics. Continue reading REHEARSALS BEGIN FOR ‘BEAUTIFUL : THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL’


This is an amazing musical with a TERRIBLE title. It’s about:-

A world wracked by ecological disaster.
A city caught in the throes of corporate greed.
A hero rising, leading us to freedom.
An untempered satire where no musical is safe from scrutiny.

It’s a musical with singing and dancing and faxing (and copying). In the glorious dystopian future where people pay to pee, one malevolent company is making flushing mean ‘flush at the bank’. When the poor denizens of Public Amenity #9 run out of money, patience and hope they get behind one man with no political experience and elect him, above all others to make their town… great again.

Mosman Musical Society proudly presents
Music and Lyrics MARK HOLLMANN
Book and Lyrics GREG KOTIS

DIRECTOR Kenney Ogilvie

Zenith Theatre
Mcintosh St & Railway Street, Chatswood

Friday SEPT 15 @ 8pm
Saturday SEPT 16 @ 8pm
Sunday SEPT 17 @ 3pm
Thursday SEPT 21 @ 8pm
Friday SEPT 22 @ 8pm
Saturday SEPT 23 @ 8pm

Adults $39.50 (18 and over)
Children $27.00 (17 and under)
Pensioner $35.50
Does not include an additional service & handling fee of $5.05

STARRING Peter Adam, Pontus Aleryd, Julian Badman, Hannah Barn, Nib Brattoni, Emma Caldwell, Rebecca Carter, Julia Dance, Melody Duan, Emily Haldane, Mica Hartley, Michelle Lorenz, Kyle Masson, Duncan McDonald, Michael McNab-Kwiatek, Daniel O’Connell, Hayley Sherwood and Yasemin Tounjel

Aprox. Running Time: 2 hours & 20 minutes

For more about Urinetown, The Musical, visit
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“It Shoulda Been You” Australian Premiere returns to The Riverside Theatre

The Australian Premiere of “It Shoulda Been You” is returning by popular demand to The Riverside Theatre Parramatta for 4 shows only!

2-4 November 2017

Broadway’s hilarious wild musical farce with blushing brides, nervous grooms, overbearing mums, unexpected guests and plenty of crazy twists and turns that will make you laugh until you cry.

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, Harriet Harris and Chip Zien.

Thursday 2 November, & Friday 3 November at 7.30pm and Saturday 4 November at 2pm & 7.30pm at the Riverside Parramatta.

For more about “It Shoulda Been You” Australian Premiere returns to The Riverside Theatre, visit
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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).



Timeless and evocative, Stephen Sondheim’s 7 time Tony Award Winner COMPANY is regarded as one of the great modern musicals.

On the night of his 35th birthday, confirmed bachelor, Robert, contemplates his unmarried state. Over the course of a series of dinners, drinks and even a wedding, his friends force the habitually single Robert to question his rigid bachelorhood during a hilarious array of interactions.

COMPANY features a brilliantly brisk and energetic score containing many of Sondheim’s best known songs including the renowned finale Being Alive. With discussions about marriage, divorce, homosexuality and commitment, COMPANY is a sophisticated and honest look at modern adult relationships.

COMPANY will be playing between Tuesday 4th April and Saturday 8 April at STUDIO ONE, UNSW : Tuesday to Friday at 7.30 pm and a Saturday matinee at 2 pm.

Book tickets at

For more about UNSW MTS Presents: Company, visit
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It was lights, cameras, action at the Hayes theatre for this very slick production of MACK AND MABEL, book by Michael Stewart and catchy music by Jerry Herman, directed by Trevor Ashley.

This musical, set in  Brooklyn in 1911, centres on the turbulent relationship between the two main characters  – Mack Sennet, a controlling, director of silent films with tyrannical tendencies and his  aspiring screen star, Mabel Normand.  

The production features an effective set design by Lauren Peters, featuring moving mirrors and projections on screens, and  wonderful lighting design by Gavin Swift and sound design by Neil Mclean.

We see that Mack’s memories shape the narrative and that they are very subjective.

An assured and appealing Scott Irwin plays Mack ‘I just wants  to make the world laugh’ who meets Mabel, a deli shop worker, played with verve and vivaciousness by Angelique Cassimatis.

Mack sees acting potential in Mabel and casts her in one of his comedy movies which he churns out prolifically. Mabel soon has the ‘acting bug’ which the lyrics to the song Look What’s Happened To Mabel describes well, ‘she is ambitious and has to say goodbye to bagels and knishes”.

The  acting troupe leave Brooklyn for studios in California and Lottie  Ames, played by the charismatic Deonne Zanott,  sings Big Time with the lyrics, “the cherry on top of the sundae… the shiny star on top of the tree.”

In the the song  I Won’t Send Roses Mack warns Mabel about his nature, ‘I’m preoccupied with me…Forgetting birthdays is guaranteed.” Later Mabel sings, “Who wants chocolates, they’d make me fat. I can get by without a gushing valentine. I know I will be left out on a limb.”

Scriptwriter Frank, played by Adam Di Martino, warns Mabel that, “Mack is a despot who doesn’t respect her as an artist”. Alas, Mabel loves Mack and ignores his advice.

For Mabel her meteoric rise to stardom isn’t enough and she meets the charming, suave yet phony director – William Desmond Taylor, played by Shaun Rennie, who has  a part for her in one of his upcoming serious films.

At one point Mabel, resplendent in fur coat and hat with silver handbag and shoes, (lovely costume design by Angela White who shows great attention to detail), sings Wherever He Ain’t.

Mack’s films are getting more involved and now feature bathing beauties – a scene of which is played out with stunning choreography by Cameron Mitchell.

Act Two reveals the five piece band under the musical direction of Bev Kennedy.

All of the actors wish for Mabel to return. Comedian Fattie Arbuckle, played by Stephen Valeri, sings when  When Mabel Comes In the Room ‘artificial flowers might even bloom’.  

The bumbling slapstick of the Keystone Cops, one of Mack’s creations, adds to his popularity and  success. 

Other song highlights include Mabel singing the heartfelt Time Heals Everything, ‘One fine morning the hurt will end’, and a tour de force rendition by Lottie of Tap Your Troubles Away, a treat for dance aficionados.  

Mabel’s life hits a downward trajectory. What’s to become of her? It is as if Mack has written the script to his own life and is unable to alter the ending. In retrospect, he is trapped by his own torturous demeanour and having regrets.

The more than marvellous MACK AND MABEL, 19 Greenknowe Avenue, Potts Point,  is playing the Hayes Theatre until December 18.



grease-at-manly-45John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John lit up the cinema screen in GREASE, the unforgettable movie cult classic, released in 1978.

The Manly Musical Society is currently presenting the original musical which originally premiered in Chicago in 1971. The Society fills the stage with an energetic ensemble cast showcasing magnificent voices, each with unbounded energy, which bring back the rock ‘n’ roll 1950s in true greased-lightning style.

For those few who don’t know how the story goes…Danny and Sandy during their summer holiday vacation enjoy a whirlwind passionate love affair. They expected to never to see each other again, and unexpectedly start their final school year in the same high school, at Rydell High. Continue reading MANLY MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS ‘GREASE’ @ STAR OF THE SEA MANLY


Matt Hourigan as Bert


Michaela Leisk as Mary
Michaela Leisk as Mary

Willoughy Theatre presented the now-standard much loved Disney/Cameron Macintosh version, with small adjustments from the London version which was seen here at the Capitol several years ago.Matthew Bourne’s choreography is not retained but rather altered and adapted by Declan Moore and Janina Hamerlok .

Set in Edwardian times, the ever popular MARY POPPINS is based on the books by Australian author P.L.Travers, and narrates the tale of the rather dysfunctional Banks family, whose lives are changed completely and unexpectedly with the arrival of a new nanny, Mary Poppins. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS MARY POPPINS @ THE CONCOURSE CHATSWOOD



The harbour city’s elegant Sydney Lyric theatre is currently home to DREAM LOVER THE BOBBY DARIN MUSICAL, a very impressive, brand new Australian musical. The journey of the legendary American entertainer proves to be different and strong enough to hold a full length show, and the song book is more than catchy.

These were ‘my favourite things’ from an uplifting night of musical theatre.

First, this show has some great numbers which an excellent  cast perform with verve and panache.

Mac The Knife, what a great number to start a show with. David Campbell as Darin goes to town with it, and he is supported by some great young dancers dressed in cool black who do the whole soul/ razzamataz thing with plenty of hands and black hats flapping (choreographer Ellen Simpson).

Splish Splash gets a great treatment. Campbell comes out with a bevy of sexy ladies garbed in just a bath towel. Half way through the rocking number the towels come off and glittering costumes are revealed – a great coup-de-theatre.

The show features a few great rock and roll medleys/sets. Songs such Peggy Sue and The Wanderer were performed by Darin along with Frankie Avalon (Joshua Robson), Dion (Xander Ellis) and Buddy Holly (Tim Maddren).

Many might not know that  Dream Lover strikes a very personal note for Campbell. In the show’s most powerful scene Darin is thunderstruck to find out that who he had understood to be his mother is actually his grandmother, and who he understood to be his sister was actually his mother. One hell of a shock. It is no wonder that Campbell plays the scene in a very sensitive manner.

There is good reason. Campbell himself experienced the same disturbing situation growing up and only found out the truth in young adulthood. As an aside, for followers of celebrities, Hollywood legend Jack Nicholson also experienced the same family deception.

David Campbell and  Hannah Fredericksen as Sandra Dee – a lovely performance – sang a very tender version of the title song which beautifully took the show  to interval.

Martin Crewes was a highlight playing Steve Blauner, Darin’s agent who goes so far above the call of duty  and doesn’t always get the respect that he deserves, as was the always wonderful Caroline O’Connor playing both Bobby’s mum and Sandra Dee’s mum.

This was a show which put the Ensemble cast in the spotlight for a lot of the time. The talented young performers were outstanding.

A great 18 piece band – musical director Daniel Edmonds with assistant  director Jack  Earler ‘conducting’ from the keys- was in great form for the whole show.

Tim Chappel’s costumes contributed to depicting character, and the changing social mores that took place over the four decades which the show spans.

Veteran stage designer Brian Thomsen’s exciting design was a major part of the experience –  a cyclorama enclosed in a series of arches which arc and centre around the characters in a lightbulb outlined cocoon. Thomson’s idea was that the world he created was very similar in appearance to the glitzy venues such as the Copacabana which Darin would have played in his prime.

These were some of my favourite things about this exciting new Australian musical. I had a great night.  Now over to you! DREAM LOVER : THE BOBBY DARIN MUSICAL, directed by Simon Phillips, based on an original concept by and stage play by Frank and John Michael Howson and then adapted for the stage by Frank Howson with Simon Phillips and Carolyn Burns, is playing at Sydney Lyric Theatre, the Star until Sunday November 27.

All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c)


David Campbell with the talented young actors who will play the young Bobby Darin during the show's premiere Sydney season.
David Campbell with the talented young actors who will alternate playing the young Bobby Darin during the show’s premiere Sydney season. Photo by Brian Geach.

One of Sydney’s most anticipated musicals, DREAM  LOVER : THE BOBBY DARIN MUSICAL, directed by one of Australia’s leading music theatre director Simon  Phillips and starring David Campbell as the late, great Bobby Darin, will start previews at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre next Thursday.

The show will present many of the great hits from the 1950s and 1960s including  Mac The Knife, Beyond The Sea and the title song. The stage will be filled by a cast of over 40  performers including an 18 piece big band. As well as David Campbell, the principal cast will also include Caroline O’Connor, Hannah Fredericksen, Bert LaBonte, Martin Crewes and Marney McQueen.

Sydney Arts Guide is delighted to announce that it has two double A Reserve passes to give away to the evening performance – 8 pm -performance on Saturday September 24. Be one of the first to email the Editor on with Dream Lover : The Bobby Darin Musical competition in the subject heading. The two winners will be advised by return email. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED.




All images copyright Ben Apfelbaum.

Yesterday, in the middle of the day, invited media attended the ABC rehearsal studio in Ultimo to take a first look at DREAM LOVER : THE BOBBY DARIN MUSICAL which is currently in the early stages of rehearsal.

The media call began with introductions by  producer John Frost and director Simon Phillips. John Frost said that he is every excited to be presenting what he expects to be another great Australian musical, written by Australian brothers Frank Howsen and John-Michael Howsen.

Simon Phillips, who appears to be the busiest director around Sydney this year, is looking forward to presenting Sydney music theatre lovers  with a real treat with this show’s ‘God given soundtrack’ and the retelling of Bobby Darin’s  ‘stranger than fiction’ life story. Continue reading FIRST LOOK AT DREAM LOVER : THE BOBBY DARIN MUSICAL COMING SOON TO THE LYRIC


Queensland Theatre Company has announced that the critically acclaimed, smash hit and Helpmann Award winning musical LADIES IN BLACK will tour nationally in early 2017, opening  at the Sydney Lyric Theatre on January 3 for its premiere season, in the city in which the story is based.

From the adaptation of Madeleine St John’s 1993 novel, The Women In Black, this acclaimed production has been brought to life by Australian screenwriter Carolyn Burns and internationally renowned director Simon Phillips. The show features over 20 original songs written by Tim Finn and a stunning range of some 30 custom – designed and created dresses and suits to reflect the 1950’s in which the musical takes place.

With a dash of delicate comedy, LADIES IN BLACK is a modern day fairy tale set in a stylish department store – F. G. Goode – in a Sydney on the cusp of becoming cosmopolitan, crossing the threshold between the stuffy repression of the 1950’s and the glorious liberation of the 1960’s. From the Christmas rush to the chaos of the sales, these women stand shoulder to padded shoulder and together learn lessons in life, love and longing – and at the end, it’s not just the fancy frocks that are forever altered.

The cast includes Sarah Morrison in the lead as Lisa, Bobby Fox, Natalie Gamsu, Kathryn McIntyre, Carrita Farrer Spencer, Greg Stone, Kate Cole, Madeleine Jones and Ellen Simpson.

LADIES IN BLACK will play the Sydney Lyric Theatre between 3 and 22 January 2017.




Packemin - Wicked - Grant Leslie Photography
Packemin – Wicked – Grant Leslie Photography

Fellow Ozians! Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Riverside Parramatta , stampede the box office and book now if you haven’t already for this wonderful production by Packemin of WICKED. Lovingly , lavishly directed with a sure touch by Neil Gooding , Packemin have outdone themselves in this splendid version . ( Packemin have also previously performed a terrific version of the original The Wizard of OZ ).

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 ‘ ? What is Glinda’s real name ? Who were the Tin Man , Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion? Continue reading PACKEMIN PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS WICKED @ RIVERSIDE THEATRES PARRAMATTA


Audrey-II-Esther-Hannaford and Brent-Hill. Production photography by Jeff Busby.
Audrey-II-Esther-Hannaford and Brent-Hill. Production photography by Jeff Busby.

Seymour Krelborn (Brent Hill) has come from bleak beginnings. He is often reminded of this by Mr. Mushnik (Tyler Coppin), who rescued Seymour from an orphanage to work at his run down florist on skid row. Seymour holds a flame for Mushnik’s quirky and warm hearted employee, Audrey (Esther Hannaford), but, she has resigned herself to sadistic dentist, Orin Scrivello, DDS, (Scott Johnson).

The shop is in disarray. Drenched in monochrome, it is decorated with garbage bins, a bum and three feisty chorus girls (Josie Lane, Chloe Zuel, Angelique Cassimatis). The girls open the show and proceed to break into a few numbers stylishly achieved by choreographer Andrew Hallsworth and musical director Andrew Worboys.

Seymour attempts to increase clientele by showing off a quirky plant he discovered, nicknamed Audrey II. After weeks of failed attempts to grow the plant, Seymour stumbles across the key as he pricks his finger and realises his plant has a fresh appetite for human blood. Continue reading LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS @ ROS PACKER THEATRE



Joyful and exuberant this superb, slick, sleek production of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN has splashed its way to Sydney’s Lyric Theatre. This is a revival of British director Jonathon Church’s very successful 2011 production for the Chichester Theatre.

Set in 1927 the classic musical tells the story of Kathy Seldon’s rise to stardom during the transition from silent movies to talkies. What we see is pretty much a stage version of film, slickly superbly staged in an incredibly energetic performance . It is a reverent yet exuberantly inventive recreation of the film.

As designed by Simon Higlett and lit by Tim Mitchell, the sophisticated, elegant yet simple set transforms the performing space into a sound stage at a movie studio. This  design allows for plenty of fluid, flexible scene changes. Continue reading SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN @ SYDNEY LYRIC THEATRE