On Saturday 27 October, Sydney’s Seymour Centre will host Epiphanies, a charity concert supporting research into mental illness. Over three hours, the show’s stars will perform a slew of tracks from some of the world’s favourite musicals, including Funny Girl, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, The Secret Garden, Anastacia, Chess and Les Misérables.
The concert is the brainchild of musical theatre performers Daniel Belle, Kerrie Anne Greenland and Rob McDougall.
“Daniel, Kerrie and I had all just finished the Les Mis tour, and we’d been talking about how much we loved working together,” McDougall tells Theatre People. “I’d just done a few regional workshops in Tamworth, and a mentor of mine and I were discussing how great it would be to be able to bring a truly professional musical theatre concert up to Tamworth.
“I’d also been thinking for some time about getting back into mental health fundraising, as it’s something I am very passionate about. These things all seemed to come together at once, and we decided to simply do it!”
McDougall was pleasantly surprised by the level of sponsorship the concert attracted. Ultimately, Epiphanies sold out two shows at Tamworth’s Capitol Theatre and raised $20,000 for mental health research.
“It was a huge success,” he says. “The reviews of the show were exemplary, and people began calling for another almost immediately. We were delighted!”
Epiphanies will play both a matinee and evening show on 27 October and, according to McDougall, audiences can expect an impressive program.
“There’s a full suite of fantastic pieces from across the whole music theatre repertoire – Phantom, The Secret Garden, Chess, Jesus Christ Superstar, Wicked, Carousel and, of course, Les Misérables,” he says. “A 19-piece professional orchestra, a professional dance troupe and some of the best singers in the country. Kerrie is performing a knockout version of ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’ from Funny Girl, Daniel is singing the spectacularly difficult ‘Pity the Child’ from Chess, and I’ll be performing ‘Music of the Night’ from Phantom. We have Patrice Tipoki delivering parts of her celebrated Elphaba in Wicked. It’s a truly exciting combination of talent, light and music.”
And is there any particular performance McDougall is especially excited for audiences to see?
“Personally, I’m greatly looking forward to Trevor Ashley’s spectacular entrance at the start of the second half,” he says. “Not to give too much away, but it’ll be large and it will be CAMP. I’m also very much looking forward to our finale, which has contributions from across the entertainment industry. The entire show goes from highlight to highlight. I’m told it’s both amazing yet exhausting to watch.”
Money raised by the Epiphanies concerts will go towards Australian Rotary Health’s research grant program.
“Australian Rotary Health provides grants for post-doctoral research, principally into mental health. This year our focus is on a project looking at how effective our current treatments for anxiety and depression are – whether what we are currently doing is actually aiding in the mitigation of anxiety and depression,” McDougall explains. “Previously money has gone to a project looking at how sleep disorders can be early warnings of chemical bi-polar and depression disorders. It’s my belief that you can’t fight something without understanding it, and this is why our focus is on research rather than frontline treatment.”
McDougall encourages people of all ages to head along to Epiphanies at the Seymour Centre.
“From the great sweeping classics of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, right through to some fantastic Disney repertoire for the kids, and some cutting-edge music theatre for the hardcore fans, there’s something in Epiphanies for everyone,” McDougall says. “The show is presented as a formal gala, so it’ll be a fun and fancy night out for the whole family, raising money for an important cause.”
EPIPHANIES – CONCERT DETAILS
When: Saturday, 27 October, 2018 at 2pm and 7:30pm
Where: Seymour Centre (cnr City Rd and Cleveland Street, Chippendale)
Tickets: Adult $75 | Pensioner $63.80
Bookings: www.seymourcentre.com/events/event/epiphanies-concerts/ or phone (02) 9351 7940
Duration: 160 minutes with 20-minute interval