Musical Theatre

IN THE HEIGHTS. DANCIN’ SINGIN’ CELEBRATIN’

Production images: Clare Hawley

Not so such much a runaway hit as a stay-in-the-neighbourhood hit, IN THE HEIGHTS as directed by Luke Joslin brings a Washington Heights alive in a vibrant, energetic production with the closeness of community at its heart.  No mean feat on a stage as wide as the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.   We love our House and audiences always have a sense of occasion in the iconic building but this was beyond expectations.  A night to bring the whole audience to their feet after a show that vibrates the barrio with brio onstage and brass behind.

The show was conceived, and has music and lyrics, by Lin-Manuel Miranda with the book by Quiara Alegría Hudes and Joslin directed the show at Hayes Theatre last year.  This production has many cast in common and shares musical direction from Lucy Bermingham and choreography from Amy Campbell.  It was a bona-fide hit then.  And will be now. Continue reading IN THE HEIGHTS. DANCIN’ SINGIN’ CELEBRATIN’

IF/THEN. NSW PREMIERE AND WE HAVE A GIVEAWAY

With unforgettable songs and a deeply moving story by the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning creators of Next to Normal, IF THEN  is a fascinating, ambitious and original new musical with adoring fans worldwide.

Theatre & Company is  bringing this exciting new musical to NSW audiences for the first time.

Elizabeth, a city planner, moves back to New York to restart her life in the city of infinite possibilities. When her carefully designed plans collide with the whims of fate, Elizabeth’s life splits into two parallel paths. If/Then follows both stories, as this modern woman faces the intersection of choice and chance.

IF/THEN from Theatre & Company [Facebook] runs Feb 1-8 at Riverside Theatres, Parramatta.

With thanks to Theatre & Company, Sydney Arts Guide has a double pass giveaway to IF/THEN  for the 8pm performance on Saturday 2nd February, 2019.

To be in the running, email (editorialstaff.sydneyartsguide@gmail.com) 
with IF_THEN as the subject and your full name.

Competition closes Midnight on Thursday January 24, 2019 when the winner will be drawn. Only the winner will be notified and the pass will be available at the box office on the day of performance.

 

NOLI ME TANGERE – A NEW MUSICAL

Miguel Castro and Susana Downes recording songs from NOLI ME TANGERE. Logo design by Angela dela Cruz

As current Philippines politics features more and more in the headlines, a new musical explores past injustices in the archipelago. In the tradition of truly romantic musicals like South Pacific and Les Miserables comes NOLI ME TANGERE (Touch Me Not).

NOLI ME TANGERE is a traditional book musical but tells a story which is completely fresh to a Western audience in Australia. It is part romance, part political protest, but also becomes an escape story when Ibarra must go on the run with a revolutionary. Continue reading NOLI ME TANGERE – A NEW MUSICAL

NED : A NEW AUSTRALIAN MUSICAL @ THE NEW THEATRE

Plush Duck productions have brought to the New Theatre a strongly staged version of this ‘new’ musical .It is the NSW and Sydney premiere as it was first performed in Bendigo in 2015.

Directed by Miranda Middleton, NED is a Broadway style biographical musical of one of Australia’s great icons of history. It is set in country Victoria in the late 1880’s and follows Ned Kelly’s development, as he is forced by circumstances, from a boy from a poor family with Irish roots struggling to make ends meet into a cold blooded criminal culminating in his execution by hanging.

When his mother Ellen is wrongly charged with attempting to murder a policeman, Ned, his brother Dan, and their two friends Joe and Steve flee to the bush to avoid their own arrest. They are soon demonised as the feared ‘Kelly Gang’, eventually taking a final, fatal stand against the police at the infamous standoff /shootout at Glenrowan.

The legend of Kelly has been around and inspired artists for over a hundred years : from the 1906 movie The Story of the Kelly Gang ( Australia’s first feature film! ) , and various other books ,films ,( eg the one with Mick Jagger) musicals ( 1977 -78 with lyrics by Reg Livermore ) and not forgetting Sidney Nolan’s iconic series of paintings that have engraved him into our consciousness.

The staging is generally most impressive – a rather sparse set with lots of moveable tables /chairs etc and rows of poles that also act as prison bars, for instance. Peter Rubie’s lighting is snappy, atmospheric and polished. Conductor Hamish Stening very energetically led the excellent 15 piece orchestra placed at the back of the stage.

Some of the staging is quite reminiscent of say Les Mis , with hints of Oliver! and Oklahoma. Middlelton’s choreography is serviceable if perhaps a trifle repetitive. I do agree with some of the comments made by others of my colleagues, for instance that when gang member Steve Hart ( Martin Everett) is supposedly ‘in disguise ‘ as a woman, he still wears his trousers underneath and they are visible.

Middelton has a terrific cast eighteen strong led by Joshua McElroy as Ned (with a very full bushy fake beard) has great charisma and a very strong voice. He can be quite threatening at times , at other times loving ( with his friends and family) or proud and defiant when confronted by the police . His Iron and I monologue number at the end was reflective and stirring.

The rest of the ‘Kelly gang ‘ were impressively played by Rowan Blunt  as Dan Kelly,  Guy Webster as an Enroljas like Joe Byrne, Martin Everett as Steve Hart and Lincoln Elliott as Aaron Sheritt.

Marcus Riviera as Superintendent Hare was coldly determined to catch the Kelly gang and David Hov gave a fine performance as the seemingly good looking, apparently charming but slimily sinister Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick, the show’s main villain.

The female characters were given strong focus and delightful performances, reminding us of the female experience in what is usually regarded as a male dominated era of Australia’s history.
Jodie Harris as Ellen, Ned’s mother, was excellent – her rousing , spirited My Son brought the house down.

Ned’s two sisters , Kate and Maggie, were wonderfully played by Cypriana Singh and Siobhan Clifford. Clifford leads the ensemble in a big tavern number Drink Now in some ways similar to Om Pah Pah from Oliver! Courtney Powell as Ann Jones was terrific as well.

There is a haunting performance of a very moving ballad Come Home as well.

The show opens with a rousing ensemble version of Such Is Life with a sculpture of Ned’s famous armour centre stage and ends cyclically with his execution.

We see Ned through the current eyes that history now mostly approves : a Ned Kelly who was not intrinsically bad, and would not stand neutrally by while his family was harassed by a corrupt police force. As one crime led to another, Kelly regarded himself at war with the police, a Robin Hood like outlaw with a heart of gold. Or was he?!

Running time allow 2 & ½ hours (roughly) including interval

NED KELLY : A NEW AUSTRALIAN MUSICAL is playing the New Theatre until 22 December 2018/

https://newtheatre.org.au/33086-2/

CREATIVE & PRODUCTION TEAM
Director/Choreographer Miranda Middleton
Vocal Director/Assistant Director Sarah Levins
Conductor Hamish Stening
Repetiteur Oliver Beard
Set Designer Matt Hourigan
Lighting Designer Peter Rubie
Sound Designer Harrison Collins
Graphic Designer Shakira Wilson
Costume Designer Adrienne Dell
Stage Manager Rachel Guest
Assistant Stage Manager Jesse Aviu
Executive Producer Hamish Stening

CAST
Erin Bogart, Denzel Bruhn, Rowan Brunt, Siobhan Clifford, Sinead Cristaudo, Lincoln Elliott, Martin Everett, Jacqui Greenfield, Jodie Harris, Rob Hartley, David Hov, Josh McElroy, Courtney Powell, Marcus Rivera, Georgia Rodgers , Carmel Rodrigues, Cypriana Singh, Guy Webster.

 

PAMELA SHAW PRESENTS : NAUGHTY…WITH A BAND

 

Pamela always wanted to be a performer. She wanted ballet lessons when she was six years old but her mother, a former model, disdainfully rejected that idea. Ballet dancers get fat legs. She eventually found her people by a fairly meandering path and became a performer, and in Naughty, Pamela tells the story of the some of highs and lows of her show business life. The joys and sorrows are linked by a selection of songs that lend insight into her remarkable life. Her voice is well suited to the show tunes that make up a considerable part of this show.

Pamela has been inspired by Roald Dahl’s Matilda. Matilda’s strength and intelligence and her ability to reject negativity are some of Matilda’s inspiring characteristics. Pamela sees Matilda’s willingness to take risks as a creed to live your life by. After opening with It’s Possible (In McElligot’s Pool) by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty from the musical Seussical she jumps into Tim Minchin’s Naughty, from Matilda The Musical. These lyrics from Naughty give us significant insight into Pamela’s life. She set out to climb the hill to show business, ran into various difficulties and in the end decided you have to take risks and make your own way. Continue reading PAMELA SHAW PRESENTS : NAUGHTY…WITH A BAND

NED: A NEW AUSTRALIAN MUSICAL. AN INTERVIEW WITH NED (JOSH)

Plush Duck Productions‘ inaugural production is the NSW Premiere of NED: A NEW AUSTRALIAN MUSICAL. Based on the life and experiences of Australia’s most iconic bushranger, NED:  explores Ned Kelly’s turbulent life and the events which led to his demise.

We sent through some questions to Josh McElroy who is playing the legendary character.

SAG:      Thank you for taking our questions, especially so close to opening.  What attracted you to the role?

JOSH:    Every time a role for Ned Kelly has ever come up I have been chomping at the bit to get involved. He is an icon, a legend, a puppet, a politic. It’s odd to think that once upon a time he was just an average man though.

For me, it has been absolutely riveting getting into his head and trying to understand, not just what occurred on some of those dark days, (for even the facts of a lot of these incidents are contested) but why they occurred, what his thoughts must have been, what he feared, what he valued and what he championed. Continue reading NED: A NEW AUSTRALIAN MUSICAL. AN INTERVIEW WITH NED (JOSH)

SQUABBALOGIC IS BACK. AN INTERVIEW ABOUT ‘HERRINGBONE’ – KXT IN JAN.

HERRINGBONE marks the welcome return of Squabbalogic to Sydney stages.  Award-winning director, performer and Artistic Director of Squabbalogic, Jay James-Moody,  will be assuming the title role of Herringbone and the ten characters that live inside him at Kings Cross Theatre in January.  The Guide had great fun chatting with Jay about this unique and odd show.

SAG:                Well … no Christmas for you if you are getting all these characters together ?
JAY:                  Absolutely!

SAG:                So they range from an 8 year old ?
JAY:                  The youngest character is an 8 year old and the oldest … who is probably an octogenarian… is his grandmother. A range of ages and genders.

They all look like me though.                   Continue reading SQUABBALOGIC IS BACK. AN INTERVIEW ABOUT ‘HERRINGBONE’ – KXT IN JAN.

ASPECTS OF LOVE @ THE HAYES THEATRE

Featured image – Caitlin Berry and Jonathan Hickey Pics David Hooley

This show looks like it will be a another hit for the Hayes Theatre. The book and music for the show are by Andrew Lloyd Webber and the lyrics are by Don Black and Charles Hart and the play is adapted from  the novella of the same name by David Garnett.

The musical focuses on the romantic entanglements of actress Rose Vibert, her admiring fan Alex Dillingham, his underage cousin Jenny, his uncle George, and George’s mistress, sculptor Giulietta Trapani, over a period of 17 years.

The aspects of the the title  refers to the many forms that love takes in the show; love between couples, both as romantic infatuation and as married people; children and their parents, and even hints of same sex attraction.(Giulietta and Rose). Continue reading ASPECTS OF LOVE @ THE HAYES THEATRE

AMERICAN PSYCHO -THE MUSICAL. SOON FOR THE HAYES.

I’m into, oh, murders and executions, mostly. It depends

Producers BB-Arts Entertainment and Two Doors Productions join forces with Hayes Theatre Co to present the Australian premiere of AMERICAN PSYCHO – THE MUSICAL. Based on the novel American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, which also inspired the 2000 film starring Christian Bale, this bold new musical will have its Australian Premiere at the Hayes Theatre Co from 10 May 2019.

AMERICAN PSYCHO - THE MUSICAL tells the story of Patrick Bateman, a young, handsome and wealthy investment banker living in the epicentre of excess, Manhattan, NYC, during the Wall Street boom of the late 1980s. With impeccable taste and unquenchable desires, Patrick, our unreliable narrator, and his elite group of friends spend their days in designer labels in chic restaurants and exclusive clubs. But at night, Patrick takes part in a darker indulgence, and his glamorous facade of sanity starts to slip...

With a book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Riverdale) and music and lyrics by Tony Award winner Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) and featuring classic 80s hits from Phil Collins, Tears for Fears, New Order and Huey Lewis and the News, AMERICAN PSYCHO – THE MUSICAL is a pitch black comedy about what it means to be alive in the world we live in.

AMERICAN PSYCHO – THE MUSICAL will play at The Hayes from May 10, 2019

INTO THE WOODS – THE MUSICAL IN CONCERT COMING TO THE CONCOURSE

Bloom Creative Productions’ inaugural production is INTO THE WOODS – The Musical in Concert at the Concourse Concert Hall, Chatswood for 5 shows only.

The show will encompass performances from the Australian musical theatre industry in grand concert style, allowing the musicians and performers to take the stage and immerse the audience in this musical, showcasing the music of Sondheim. Continue reading INTO THE WOODS – THE MUSICAL IN CONCERT COMING TO THE CONCOURSE

COMPANY @ Limelight On Oxford Street, DARLINGHURST

The conventional wisdom about musical theatre, is all about maintaining convention whilst applying no wisdom. COMPANY as performed at Limelight On Oxford, is an astonishing fresh take and very wisely is not conventional, easily finding a modern-day resonance, and fully delivering an amazing musical comedy feast with this clever revival. Director Julie Baz has applied her unique vision to make COMPANY the must see musical in Sydney this year. COMPANY won six Tony Awards and is a modern musical classic from 1970, with Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and Book by George Furth.               Continue reading COMPANY @ Limelight On Oxford Street, DARLINGHURST