Tim Draxl in

FREEWAY – THE CHET BAKER JOURNEY

Tuesday 17 March to Sunday 22 March, 2015

Tickets on sale Monday 17 November

Hayes Theatre Co, 19 Greenknowe Ave., Potts Point

 

‘Glorious….Freeway is as fine a piece of cabaret as has been hatched in Australia. It generated that singular combination of emotional brittleness and tender romance’ – Sydney Morning Herald

THE award-winning singer/actor Tim Draxl makes a much-welcome return to the Sydney stage in the acclaimed musical play Freeway – The Chet Baker Journey at the Hayes Theatre Co from 17 March 2015.  It is set to be part of the inaugural Spectrum Now festival, for which stage and screen actor Richard Roxburgh is creative director.

Conceived and written by Bryce Hallett and Tim Draxl, Freeway began life at the tiny yet legendary jazz and music club El Rocco in Kings Cross in October 2010.  It has since earned rave reviews at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Sydney Opera House, the Melbourne Festival and, most recently, the Brisbane Festival where the show enraptured audiences in the Spiegeltent.

Freeway is packed with sensuous ballads and classic songs, including "My Funny Valentine," "My Buddy," "Let’s Get Lost," "These Foolish Things," "You Don’t Know What Love Is," "Look For the Silver Lining," "Born to Be Blue," "The Thrill is Gone" and "There Will Never Be Another You."  The intimate and spare production intersperses fragments of the singer and trumpeter Chet Baker’s radiant career and self-destructive life amid his musical jewels – the “blue diamonds of jazz” – that speak of yearning, heartache, despair and love.

The hand-picked band comprises some of Australia’s most accomplished musicians: the legendary Ray Alldridge on piano, trumpeter Shannon Marshall, bass player Dave Ellis and Dave Goodman on drums.

When David and Lisa Campbell first saw Freeway at el Rocco they fell in love with its seamless storytelling and musical flair, hence programming the show in their 2011 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.  In each performance Draxl reveals a strong affinity with Chet Baker – “the Prince of Cool”, not only in terms of his own instinctiveness and charm but his eerily-similar voice and sophisticated rhythm. The title of the show is taken from the name of an instrumental written by Chet Baker, the word also encapsulating his high-spirited independence.

Upon collaborating with Draxl to create Freeway, writer and journalist Bryce Hallett (who wrote the concert drama Rolling Thunder Vietnam) said they chose not to dwell unnecessarily on Baker’s demons.  “Essentially we wanted to reveal his power to enchant even when his life was at its craziest and spinning out of control,” Hallett said.  “Freeway partly aims to draw audiences back to the intoxicating romance of the ‘50s but there’s no escaping Baker’s torment and self-destructiveness.”

‘Chet Baker’s story is packed with the kind of stuff that makes Hollywood producers salivate.  Freeway has become the stuff of legend.’ – Australian Stage

In his late teens and early 20s, Chet Baker looked like an angel and sang and played trumpet with spell-binding assurance and ease.  His music had the power to conjure beauty out of ruin while the fragility of his voice, at any tempo, was both heart-breaking and true.

From his emergence in the 1950s – when the handsome young man from Oklahoma became an overnight sensation as a jazz trumpeter and singer on America’s West Coast – until his drug-related death in Amsterdam in 1988, Chet Baker’s music-making and drug-addled life has attracted attention the world over.  At once magnetic yet elusive, Baker was dubbed “the James Dean of Jazz” at the height of his success, his matinee idol looks and musical sensitivity seducing young and old alike in the ‘50s. Baker was the prototype of cool in the 20th century.

‘Draxl and Hallett show a gentle respect for Chet the artist rather than the addict.  It’s his remarkable music they wish to showcase rather than ridicule him for his failures.’ – Australian Stage

Tim Draxl began his career at the age of 17 when he went to New York and soon found himself singing in
its famous cabaret rooms, including The Algonquin.  At the age of 19 he won the prestigious MACaward (Manhattan Association of Cabaret and Clubs) for “best new cabaret talent”.  Tim has recorded four albums: the first two with Sony, including Insongniac, which was the last completed album musically directed by the legendary Peter Matz, and My Funny Valentine, a showcase of the songs in Freeway – The Chet Baker Journey on Fanfare Records.

Tim has achieved prominence as a stage and screen actor in Australia and in the United States.  He starred in She Loves Me for The Production Company, The Sound of Music for the Gordon Frost Organisation (GFO), in Nailed at Griffin Theatre and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Benedict Andrews at Belvoir St.  Tim’s film and television career has been extensive.  In Australia he featured in Dirty Deeds with Bryan Brown and starred in Swimming Upstream alongside Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis.  Tim played the lead in the ABC/ Channel 4 mini-series The Shark Net and in Travelling Light with Pia Miranda.  He appeared in the mini-series Mrs Biggs, about the wife of the infamous train robber Ronald Biggs, and in the drama series Serangoon Road.  Tim also starred in the romantic comedy A Few Best Men, directed by Stephan Elliot, co-starring Xavier Samuel and Olivia Newton-John.

Hayes Theatre Co is a dedicated music theatre and cabaret venue in Potts Point.  Named for Australian musical theatre legend, Nancye Hayes OAM, Hayes Theatre Co honours and builds on the vast history of Australian Musical Theatre and its practitioners.  This not-for-profit venue is managed by Independent Music Theatre, a collaborative partnership focusing on providing a permanent home for small-scale musical theatre and cabaret.  By providing venue space to newly mounted productions, Hayes Theatre Co, is a presenting partner together with independent producers and artists.  Hayes Theatre Co is made possible through the City of Sydney’s Accommodation Grant Program.

 

FREEWAY – THE CHET BAKER JOURNEY

Tuesday 17 to Friday 20 March at 8pm;

Saturday 21 March at 3pm & 8pm,

Sunday 22 March at 5pm

 

Hayes Theatre Co, 19 Greenknowe Ave., Potts Point

BOOKINGS: www.hayestheatre.com.au or 02 8065 7337

TICKETS ON SALE – Monday 17 November

 

 

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