Music Theatre Melbourne (MTM) presents its launch performance,
A concert production of PARIS – A Rock Odyssey
IN TRIBUTE TO
Starring John Waters (Ulysses), Ben Mingay (Achilles), Tim Freedman (Agamemnon), Matthew Manahan (Paris), Madeleine Featherby (Helen), Brian Mannix (Sinon), Scott Johnson (Hector), Kerrie Anne Greenland (Cassandra), Mark Dickinson (Menelaus), Tod Strike (Patroclus), John O’May (Priam), Cameron MacDonald (Ajax) and featuring Jonathan Sora-English in the Paris Band.
Also appearing in the Paris cast are: Shirley Bowen as Hecuba, Annie Aitken as the Handmaiden, Daniel Cosgrove as Aeneas, Jack O’Riley as Thersites, Jordon Mahar as Talthybius and Caitlin Quinn as Athena.
The chorus includes: Kinloch Anstiss, Tess Branchflower, Simon Browne, Jesika Clark, Emily Crawford, Ned Dixon, Marissa Economo, Rosabelle Elliott, Anne Gasko, Christian Gillett, Courtney Glass, Mark Horn, Aaron Hughes, Peter Jenkins, Kaori Maeda-Judge, Sophie Loughran, Morgan Phillips, Jodi Raynes, Kate Schmidli, John Tacey, Megan Tiedermann, Isabella Vallette, Julia Walker, Sam Ward, Jaylee Waters, Lachlan Whan, Casey Withoos, Lisa Woodbrook and Michael Young.
The short season will write a new chapter in the story of the rock opera that was one of English’s most cherished works during his successful career in music, theatre and television. English was working with MTM and Stella Entertainment on future plans for PARIS at the time of his death a year ago, aged 66, in a NSW hospital from complications following surgery.
MTM Director, Mark Featherby said: “Jon was working on this forthcoming production with us and we spent several meetings making plans. He wanted John Waters in our show and we are so grateful John is playing Ulysses as he was on the original cast album and has such an integral association with Jon and PARIS.”
PARIS, a love story drawn from Greek mythology, began as a soundtrack before its amateur theatre debut in Sydney in 2003 and Melbourne in 2004 when English released the musical’s amateur rights to Stella Entertainment, now Music Theatre Melbourne. Productions were soon staged throughout Australia, New Zealand, the UK and in Europe in 2010 when PARIS was translated into German.
The double CD of PARIS: A LOVE STORY was recorded in London and released in 1990. It sold more than 50,000 copies and won the 1991 ARIA Music Award for best original soundtrack.
The soundtrack featured Jon English in the role of Hector, together with John Waters, Barry Humphries, Philip Quast, Doc Neeson, John Parr, Sheila Parker, Joe Fagin, Demis Roussos, David Atkins and Terence Donovan, and was backed by the London Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Choir.
Music Theatre Melbourne’s Creative Director (and Director of Stella’s 2004 production of Paris), Peter Fitzpatrick said “English was passionate about Stella’s first production of PARIS at Melbourne’s National Theatre in 2004”.
“He was extraordinarily generous with his time and contribution to the cast – he loved being around rehearsals,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
“We had meetings with him around midnight after his pub gigs, we had meetings with him at 7.30am for breakfast. As for the script, he welcomed suggestions, tweaks and radical production ideas more readily than any writer I have ever worked with.”
Directed by Neil Gooding, with musical direction by Isaac Hayward, PARIS tells the tale of the forbidden passion of Paris, the Prince of Troy, and Helen, the Queen of Sparta. It was a love affair that sparked the Trojan Wars and inspired the fiendishly brilliant idea of creating a giant wooden horse full of warriors to infiltrate the city of Troy. The story captured the imagination of a young Jonathan Sora- English when his father read him bedtime stories of Greek mythology.
English developed the musical PARIS over three years with David Mackay, who produced English’s album Some People … (1983). Among its pop rock tracks was ‘Oh Paris’, English’s first foray into giving the Greek myth a stage life.
Mr Featherby said: “Jon English was a great deal of fun to know, and it’s a hell of a shame that he won’t get to see this production. We plan to do it justice.”
PARIS – A Rock Odyssey
Dates: July 13-15, 2017
Venue: Melbourne Recital Centre, Southbank
Tickets: on sale now from Melbourne Recital Centre phone (03) 9699 3333
Price: $69-$129, plus booking fee
$250, premium package
For further information: http://www.melbournerecital.com.au/