In the real life aftermath of Trump’s immigration policies, Melbourne has gained a rising star of cabaret, musical theatre and performance in Melissa David.
A working professional actress from New York, she fell for a rugged Australian in London in a fairy tale romance – neither would move to the others homeland, so they continued their friendship from opposite hemispheres, until her rugged Australian rocked up in New York and swept her off her feet. A whirlwind international romance, married in Central Park, an all was well until while travelling, her husband ran into visa issues while in Africa when the immigration system crashed, and with Donald Trump in office, could not return to America.
David eventually made the move to Australia, where she lived too far from anywhere to perform, stopped singing, and doubled down on being a good wife, until she found herself lost from who she was and who she wanted to be. This is a Nicholas Sparks style romance story which I half expect to become a famous rom-com movie in the future, where we reflect on now famous David, and how much we didn’t like the president at the time, and his heinous immigration policies.
This is a truly heartfelt cabaret, where David bears her soul through song. Through classics by Carole King, Whitney Houston and musical theatre numbers from The Last Five Years, Waitress and so many other fantastic numbers, David exposes her pain, her humour, her challenges and her essence as a performer.
David’s history in New York is impressive – from call back and auditions to play Young Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, to multiple tries at roles in Waitress, TV roles, and more. She successfully starred as Maureen in Rent to Lucy in Three Penny Opera, and her most recent film sighting was in The Greatest Showman. Expect her to make waves in Australia, as a humble but incredibly talented performer, who shyly continued to appear at The Butterfly Club’s Fab Fridays with her music book and asked to sing a song, before bolting out the door and racing down Eastlink back to suburbia. I’d certainly like to see her have a run at Waitress in Australia when it opens in Sydney in 2020, as her performing She Used To Be Mine had a unique element of her American life, her accent, and her struggles through her recent journey, while having it’s own unique feel. Except to start seeing her on our major stages!
Accompanied by the sassy Peppy Smears, the drag alter ego of Melbourne vocal coach and musical director David Butler, they put together a raw show, voice and piano, with not too many flashy props or trying to hard- the simplicity of the show is where the magic is.
Together they bring out that beautiful, sassy, almost sibling like rivalry of stereotypical gay best friendships where your sassy male friend wants all the attention – it’s a delight to watch them bicker and try to out do each other in a fiery but friendly way.
The only downside of this show is how short a run it has – fingers crossed we will see it hit the Fringe circuit soon, and more offerings from David. Together with her producer from New York, Brandon Pape, they’ve established Brooklyn Runaways, a newly formed production company dedicated to producing new works and cabarets, and I can’t wait for them to get a handle on the Australian scene so they can start touring the fringe circuits. Sorry to those who are proud of her from her native New York, we’re keeping her.
From: New York, For: Him played at the Butterfly Club from Mon 13 to Sat 18 Aug