All posts by Alan Hartstein

Alan has worked in the media business for nearly 20 years as an editor, writer and sub editor across a large number of newspaper, magazine and online newsletter titles. He has had a passion for stage and screen for as long as he can remember and has, he admits, never been backwards in coming forwards when it comes to having an opinion. His interest in the arts runs across the full spectrum, from opera, ballet and musicals, to symphony concerts to large music festivals, pub gigs and just about everything in between.

Alison Jiear – A Centenary Celebration of Ella Fitzgerald

“There’s hardly a bigger, better voice in all of London’s theatre land… She’s an unmissable marvel” THE STAGE

Following sell-out shows in London, Laurence Olivier Award nominated vocalist Alison Jiear returns to her home country with her phenomenal jazz quartet to perform music made famous by the “First Lady of Song” with a show packed full of iconic standards such as A Tisket A Tasket, Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye, Lady be Good, Hernando’s Hideaway and That ‘Ol Black Magic. One of the greatest voices in cabaret you’ll ever hear, Alison is a class act, and will move you to tears.

Additionally, Alison Jiear joins with musical director Michael Tyack to present their insights into creating and crafting a cabaret show. Working with two emerging cabaret artists on their act and the interpretation of material and patter, this is a behind the scenes look at how cabaret is created. More information on this masterclass on 11 July available at

Friday 12 July 9:00pm-10:30pm, Saturday 13 July 8:30pm-10:00pm at  Chequers at the Seymour Centre

For more about Alison Jiear – A Centenary Celebration of Ella Fitzgerald, visit
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Photography by Lukeography

The Prince is Giving a Ball and you’re invited! This May join Cinderella, her friends and not so friendly stepsisters as they take you back to the magical world of one of the most loved fairytales.

This May Engadine Musical Society is bringing Rodgers and Hammerstein’s, Cinderella to the Engadine Community Centre.

Originally written for television, the show tells the tale a Cinderella, a young woman who is oppressed by her malicious and self-obsessed step mother and sisters. With the help of the Fairy Godmother, Cinderella is transformed into a beautiful maiden and finds her prince.

President, Sue Bunt, says the show was the perfect choice for the company’s May 2019 production. “We wanted to do a show that parents and grandparents could share with their families and Cinderella seemed the perfect fit.” Continue reading ENGADINE MUSICAL SOCIETY : CINDERELLA

PopLab – Frisky and Mannish

10 years since they burst onto the scene with their wildly popular brand of musical infotainment, Frisky & Mannish are officially Pop PhDs, fully qualified to conduct scientific analyses of the molecular intersections between every pop song ever. For the first time, you are invited into their PopLab to peek down the microscope at all their latest research projects. Have they found an effective vaccine for the contagious Tropical House virus sweeping through the pop world? Who is the latest to benefit from their 80s RnB Conservation Program? Brush up on your Pop Periodic Table with the mad scientists themselves, and perhaps you too will be able to address problematic equations, like just how can Coldplay be so popular even though everyone you ask says they hate them? Science, people. Science.

Award-winners at Adelaide Fringe, sell-outs at Perth Fringe, specially invited artists at Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and long-overdue a return to Sydney since their acclaimed debut at the Opera House in 2009. The British sensations are finally BACK to bring you their unique brand of popmusicy-seriocomic-mashparodic-stereophonic-LOUD-vaudevillian-sketch cabaret-throwback current-old fangled-new fashioned-bapsbotty-infotainment.

Saturday 6th July 8:00pm-9:30pm & Sunday 7th July 6:00pm-7:30pm at Chequers at the Seymour Centre.

For more about PopLab – Frisky and Mannish, visit
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Debuting Kweens of Comedy a brand new, regular night on Sydney’s iconic Oxford Street celebrating all types of comedians and all types of comedy.

Not only can you expect great stand-up but, whether it’s clowning, sketch, improv, drag, or any other unique style, this new night is guaranteed to have you laughing like the world isn’t doomed!

The line up for our premiere show includes:

Sienna Austin
Kento David
Jack Gow
Hey Puss Puss (Candice Gallimore + Laura Hart)
June Richards
Zoë Sitas
Kathryn Thomas
And, is of course hosted by the Kween herself, Cleo!

If you’re a performer keen to be a part of upcoming shows, click here for all the details on how to sign-up.

Please note that this is a welcoming and inclusive event for all people. Racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or discriminatory behaviour in any way will not be tolerated.

Thursday 18 April – 7:30pm start (doors open 7pm)  at Gingers, Oxford Hotel, 1/134 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

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Experience art like never before at Sculpture at Scenic World 2019!

Set among the stunning Blue Mountains, Sculpture at Scenic World is Australia’s premier regional art exhibition which transforms the ancient rainforest into an outdoor gallery from April 12 – May 12.

Showcasing 25 thought provoking works along the Scenic Walkway that winds through the pristine Jamison Valley.

Sculpture at Scenic World provides a unique sensory experience with subtle artworks and interactive installations that appeal to families, couples and art lovers alike.

Once again Sculpture at Scenic World will feature an extensive free public program including daily guided tours, weekend workshops, heaps of activities for the kids and more.

This year’s exhibition extends to Sculpture Otherwise at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and TRACKS an outdoor exhibition of artworks at various locations throughout the upper mountains.

All Scenic World passes include unlimited travel on the Scenic Railway, Scenic Cableway and Scenic Skyway as well as entry into Sculpture at Scenic World and Sculpture Otherwise.

April 12 – May 12, 9.00am – Scenic World Blue Mountains, 1 Violet Street, Katoomba.

For more about Sculpture at Scenic World 2019, visit
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Ruthie Henshall is one of the most celebrated performers in the history of London theatre. Ruthie Henshall: Live & Intimate, her first solo tour of Australia, will play in Sydney and Brisbane this June. Tickets are now on sale.

This new and intimate show is a rare opportunity to see this dazzling star up close and personal, reinterpreting highlights from her acclaimed career as well as exploring the work of other iconic artists including Stephen Sondheim and Carole King to The Beatles and Barbra Streisand.

Ruthie Henshall’s multi-award winning career has seen her star in the most popular musicals of the past thirty years in the West End and on Broadway, from her iconic appearance as Fantine in Les Misérables (including the tenth anniversary concert) to Cats, Miss Saigon, Crazy For You, She Loves Me (Olivier Award), Marguerite, Oliver!, A Chorus Line, Putting It Together, Billy Elliot (including the world-wide cinema release) and her legendary appearance as both Roxie and Velma in Chicago in the West End and on Broadway. She has also enjoyed tremendous success in plays, in concert and on television. Her recordings include four solo albums and numerous cast recordings.

Producer Enda Markey said, “For nearly thirty years, Ruthie has been performing at the top of her game in London’s West End and on Broadway. I’m thrilled that I get to showcase Ruthie’s phenomenal talents in this new show that will premiere in Australia. Ruthie is an artist of great taste and phenomenal talent and I’m so happy to be working with her again, and with her musical director Paul Schofield, on this special project.”

“I’ve only been to Australia once before and I had a great time singing some Sondheim, but now I’m especially thrilled for the world premiere of my new solo show at the Sydney Opera House and to visit Brisbane for the first time,” said Ruthie.

“A mega-watt talent shining in all its dazzling brilliance” – BBC
“She has style in spades” – Ben Brantley, New York Times
“A dazzling burst of star power!” – The Times (UK)
“[Ruthie Henshall] has the kind of brilliant, high-voltage stage personality that can light up whole cities” – The Scotsman

Thursday 13th June 8:00pm

For more about Ruthie Henshall, visit
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Lewis Diaz is in love with his best friend, which would be fine if he didn’t accidentally open a ​literal ​gateway to hell while trying to chat her up at a party… Now, with every imaginable kind of demon, monster, and killer ravaging his small town, it’s up to Lewis and his newly undead companion to save the day and protect his classmates from becoming freshly slaughtered carcasses.

For fans of all things involving jump-scares, fight scenes, fake blood, creepy puppets and self-referential comedy.

Rachel Kerry​ directs an ensemble cast of incredible young actors (and puppets) featuring ​Justin Amankwah​ ​(The Flick, 2018 Sydney Theatre Award Winner for Best Actor & Best Newcomer)​, ​Jack Angwin​ ​(Youth + Destination, Friday On My Mind)​, ​Josh McElroy​ ​(Osama The Hero, Spring Awakening)​,​ Bardiya McKinnon ​(Metamorphoses, DNA),​ ​Mia Morrissey ​(Harrow, Molly)​, ​Laura Murphy​ ​(Muriel’s Wedding, Cry Baby)​, and introducing ​Stella Ye​,​ ​in the Australian Premiere of Vietnamese-American playwright – and Marvel writer – ​Qui Nguyen​’s ​bloody​ hilarious play.


April 18 – May 11 at the Old Fitz

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Knock and Run Theatre is set to spark conversation about men’s mental health in the return season of their award-winning production “Suicide, Incorporated” in late March 2019. After an outstanding reception to the company’s first production of the dark comedy in 2016, Knock and Run are collaborating with Newcastle Theatre Company to re-stage the show as a part of their Indie Season, in hopes of reigniting the discussion about suicide prevention.

The play “Suicide, Incorporated”, by American playwright Andrew Hinteraker, follows Jason who lands a job at Legacy Letters, a company that specialises in writing suicide notes. Unbeknownst to his employer, Jason has a secret agenda to get their clients to reconsider taking their own lives, however he must do so without losing his job.

Cast members James Chapman, Phillip Ross, Carl Gregory and Cooper McDonald are all returning to their roles, with newcomer Ned Keogh entering the role of Tommy.

Director Patrick Campbell, who was nominated for a CONDA for his direction of the 2016 production, says “It’s been fantastic to reunite with the team on a play that’s very dear to all of us. A great opportunity to further develop the production, with four fifths of the original cast, and we’re excited to have Ned on board to bring a new life to that role.”

After the return Newcastle season, Knock andRun hope to tour the work around regional New South Wales. Producer James Chapman says “Suicide is a real problem in Australia, particularly in regional communities. It’s the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44, and men and Indigenous people in particular are at a greater risk. We want this play to open up the conversation about mental health and reduce the stigma around getting help.”

Knock and Run’s first run of “Suicide, Incorporated” won Best Dramatic Production at the 2016 CONDA awards, and received nominations for Excellence by a Director (in Drama or Comedy) and Excellence in Lighting Design.

The return season of “Suicide, Incorporated” will mark Knock and Run Theatre’s sixth production, with more 2019 productions to be announced soon.

28th March 7pm, 29th March 7pm, 12pm 30th March, 8pm 30 March.

Tickets are $20 and available online via NTC’s website or at the Box Office.

For more about Suicide, Incorporated (Return Season), visit
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North Shore Theatre Company (NSTC) is ready to send its loyal audience into side-splitting laughter when it brings puppet musical comedy Avenue Q to The Independent Theatre, North Sydney from 26 April to 4 May.

Winner of the Tony Triple Crown for Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book, the hilarious Avenue Q tells the timeless story of a recent college graduate trying to find his way in the world in New York.

This critically-acclaimed musical is strictly for adults only despite featuring puppets and is R-rated, containing adult topics, offensive language, and an onstage portrayal of puppet sex.

Here are three words to set the scene for you: rude Sesame Street!”

26 April to 4 May 2019 at the Independent Theatre, North Sydney

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Sydney has secured the 2019 premiere of the multi-award winning, record breaking musical CHICAGO. Produced in Australia by John Frost and Suzanne Jones, this Australian production will premiere from August 20 at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre.

The sassy musical will star some of Australia’s most talented performers. Starring as the irreverent and determined Roxie Hart, is one of our most versatile entertainers, Natalie Bassingthwaighte and joining her as the empowered and glamorous Velma Kelly is musical theatre star Alinta Chidzey. Much adored Casey Donovan joins the duo as the tough and sassy prison warden Matron ‘Mama’ Morton.

“We are so thrilled to have this incredible Australian cast join us in bringing this New York institution back to Australia. CHICAGO has everything that people love about Broadway, a story of fame, fortune and all that jazz, one show-stopping number after another and the most amazing dancing you’ve ever seen as well as the most sizzling score” said producer John Frost.

Producer Suzanne Jones added, “We cannot wait to see Natalie, Alinta and Casey make these iconic roles their own whilst supported by a slick ensemble cast. We are so privileged to have the most exceptional performers joining us on this production who are sure to bring the razzle dazzle!”

The Kander & Ebb musical has been seen by over 31 million people worldwide in 36 countries and is the winner of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and a Grammy Award. CHICAGO continues to play on Broadway and around the world in multiple languages and is the longest running American musical in Broadway and West End history.

Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, CHICAGO is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer Billy Flynn to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today’s tabloids.

Whether you’re looking for your first Broadway musical, whether you’ve seen the Academy Award®- winning film and want to experience the show live on stage, whether you’ve seen it before and want to recapture the magic or whether you are after a perfect night of pure entertainment, CHICAGO always delivers.

Season: From August 20th (performance times vary – see Ticketmaster for specific shows)

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The Transitions Film Festival returns to Sydney this April with another enthralling line-up of cutting-edge documentaries about the existential challenges, mega-trends, game-changing technologies and creative visions that are redefining what it means to be human.

The festival focuses on sharing inspirational stories about the solutions to society’s greatest challenges and showcases the local heroes and changemakers who are building a better world.

Covering a huge range of mind-expanding themes, including: climate change, regenerative agriculture, artificial intelligence, innovation and youth activism, this year’s festival will change the way you look at the world.

Featuring a stellar line-up of powerful films and inspirational guest speakers, the Transitions Film Festival runs from the 1st until the 4th of April at Dendy Cinemas Newtown.

For more about Transitions Film Festival Sydney tour, visit–2019
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