Currently playing, Class of 77 is a new Australian musical featuring a book and score by David Hines. Presented by Boroondara Theatre Company, it tells the story of a group of Melbourne high school students on the eve of graduation in 1977. Michael Butler sits down with someone who actually remembers 1977, musical director Mal Fawcett.
TP: Mal, I think it would be fair to say that most of our readership would know very little about Class of 77. The show is seldom produced and rarely discussed in theatre circles and therefore most of us are unaware about what the show is. Can you fill us in?
Mal: Well as you have already mentioned Class of 77 is an original Australian musical with book and music by David Hines. It tells the story of a group of Melbourne high school kids about to graduate from year 12 in 1977. We learn about their friendships, loves and hopes for the future.
In the second act, we meet them again only this time is 15 years later in 1992. A lot has changed over the years, and as they come back for their high school reunion, we find out who was successful and who was not, who got married, who has kids and who has been holding a torch for their high school sweetheart.
TP: Given how unknown the piece is and the infrequency with which it has been performed, did you have different motivations for taking on this show than you would for say a Grease or any other more commercially known works?
Mal: Yes absolutely. It’s an original piece, and its Australian. These were two of the main reasons why I wanted to do the show. I’d never heard of it before, and it sounded like a bit of a challenge and an opportunity to do something new that hadn’t been done before.
TP: Okay in one sentence tell me the reason why we need to see this show?
Mal: Some very strong character acting, great singing and a few extra surprises on stage, including a real life Torana!
TP: You have had some interesting challenges getting this show off the ground which you have dealt with quite successfully. Can you tell me about them?
Mal: It’s been interesting rehearsing for this show, mainly because we decided to double cast it. So each character has a younger and older version being played by two different people.
Also, as this work hasn’t been done professionally, there was not a lot available to work from in terms of recordings and video footage. So it was like starting from scratch and building up from there.
TP: What can we expect from the show musically?
Mal: There is a live 6 piece band on stage for the entire show, they are really hot, and give the show a real lift.
It’s a light hearted piece of Australian theatre and definitely worth a look. It’s not Sondheim or Schwartz, but it’s simple and fun and I’m sure audiences are going to have a good time with it.
Class of 77 is currently playing through to Saturday 31st of August at the Kew Renaissance Theatre.
For more details check out our ‘What’s On’ section.