After being absent from the slate in 2011, a flurry of revivals marked the 2012 theatre year, with a pair of ambitious, brand new musicals floundering in their world premiere seasons.
******* CAST YOUR VOTE CLICK HERE *********
Opening too late for last year’s Pro Choice Awards, 2011’s Grey Gardens (below) marked the beginning of a top class hat trick for The Production Company. Pamela Rabe and Nancye Hayes held court at the Playhouse for two weeks with a pair (or was that a trio?) of unmissable performances. This year, hilarity reigned on stage at the State Theatre with The Producers, followed by glorious singing and swoonworthy adult romance in Chess. Matt Hetherington gave an enormously likeable performance in Promises, Promises, although the production overall did not reach the dizzy heights reached by the previous three shows.
In Sydney, Simon Phillips helmed the premiere of new American musical An Officer and A Gentleman (below). Despite a couple of years of workshops and tryouts, the show was savaged by critics and closed without the prospect of visiting other states.
Melbourne had its turn for a world premiere with new musical Moonshadow, featuring the revered music of Cat Stevens. Severely constricted in style and form by Yusuf (the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens), the show received generally supportive reviews but, like Officer, shuttered without the chance of a tour. It will be interesting to see if either of these shows turns up in other world cities in the future.
The welcome return of A Chorus Line enjoyed acclaim wherever it played. Annie introduced a new generation of ten-year-old girls to live musical theatre. Acclaimed Lincoln Center revival of South Pacific thrilled theatergoers with its gorgeous melodies and terrific cast. Melbourne was treated to a star-studded staging of Stephen Sondheim’s hilarious early work A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (below).
Sydney’s onslaught of opening nights continued with the sensational musical Legally Blonde. Fingers crossed it goes on to share the joy in an Australian tour.
Looking ahead, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is just about to open in Sydney, and will be covered in next year’s Pro Choice Awards. Jersey Boys returns to Melbourne in January before heading to Perth. Sydney welcomes The Addams Family in April 2013. Magnormos’ 2011 hit flowerchildren moves to Melbourne Comedy Theatre next year. The Susan Boyle Story and the new UK arena staging of Jesus Christ Superstar have been strongly suggested for 2013 as well. Hopefully we will also soon see international hits Newsies, Matilda, Once and maybe even The Book of Mormon.
Nominations for Theatre People Pro Choice Awards 2012: (voting link below)
Best Supporting Actress:
Kate Ceberano, Bloody Mary, South Pacific
Helen Dallimore, Paulette, Legally Blonde
Christie Whelan-Browne, Philia, A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To The Forum
Nancye Hayes, Edith Bouvier Beale, Grey Gardens
Deborah Krizak, Sheila, A Chorus Line
Chelsea Plumley, Marge MacDougall, Promises, Promises (below)
Best Supporting Actor:
Blake Bowden, Pat Matthew, Moonshadow
Mitchell Butel, Hysterium, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Euan Doidge, Paul, A Chorus Line
Bert LaBonté, Sergeant Foley, An Officer and A Gentleman
Eddie Perfect, Luther Billis, South Pacific
Alex Rathgeber, Sid Worley, An Officer and A Gentleman
Anita Louise Combe, Cassie, A Chorus Line
Lucy Durack, Elle Woods, Legally Blonde
Amanda Harrison, Paula Pofriki, An Officer and A Gentleman
Lisa McCune, Nellie Forbush, South Pacific
Silvie Paladino, Florence Vassy, Chess
Pamela Rabe, Edith Bouvier Beale/Little Edie Beale, Grey Gardens
Simon Gleeson, Anatoly, Chess
David Harris, Emmett, Legally Blonde
Matt Hetherington, Chuck Baxter, Promises, Promises
Brent Hill, Leo Bloom, The Producers
Geoffrey Rush, Pseudolus, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Anthony Warlow, Daddy Warbucks, Annie
Best Musical Director
Stephen Amos, Moonshadow
Kellie Dickerson, Legally Blonde
Mathew Frank, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Andrew Greene, South Pacific
David Piper, Chess
Vanessa Scammell, The Producers
Kelly Aykers, Annie
Andrew Hallsworth, The Producers
Christopher Gattelli, South Pacific
Bayoork Lee, A Chorus Line
Jerry Mitchell, Legally Blonde
Dean Bryant, Andrew Hallsworth, The Producers
Gale Edwards, Chess
Rodger Hodgman, Grey Gardens
Jerry Mitchell, Legally Blonde
Simon Phillips, An Officer and A Gentleman
Bartlett Sher, South Pacific (below)
Best Limited Run/Concert Musical:
Chess – The Production Company
Grey Gardens – The Production Company
The Producers – The Production Company
Annie – John Frost
A Chorus Line – TML Enterprises
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum – John Frost
South Pacific – Opera Australia, John Frost
Best New Musical:
Legally Blonde – Howard Panter/Ambassador Theatre Group, John Frost (above)
An Officer and A Gentleman – Sharleen Cooper Cohen, John Frost
Cast your vote now at Theatre People 2012 Pro Choice Awards. Voting closes midday Tuesday 27 November 2012.
Photos: #1, #3, #5, #6, #7: Jeff Busby, #2: Brian Geach, #4: Simon Parris