Twisted Broadway is a unique charity event. Australian musical theatre artists perform numbers written for the opposite gender, providing the audience with an opportunity to hear some well known songs in a whole new way! It's a night of hilarity and quality entertainment, whilst also raising much needed funds for an important cause. All proceeds from the event will go to Oz Showbiz Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, for research and developmental programs for people living with HIV/AIDS.
When it comes to hosts for Twisted Broadway it's hard to imagine a more ideal pair than Erika Heynatz and Trevor Ashley. Heynatz is already an accomplished and respected host. Ashley is best known for his many roles playing the opposite gender, the most recent in his own show, Little Orphan Trashley.
This is the fourth year for Twisted Broadway, but for hosts Heynatz and Ashley it will be their first time, and both performers are very excited to be available, not only to participate, but also to host the event. As Ashley comments, it's always a great night when the musical theatre community come together. Heynatz adds it's a night with the potential for great humour! But most importantly it is a night that raises money for a cause these performers are passionate about.
Both Heynatz and Ashley will be performing on the night, but at the time of our interviews, neither had decided on a song. Heynatz performed a stunning rendition of “Luck Be A Lady Tonight” from Guys and Dolls on Channel 7's The Morning Show this week in a promotion of the event, but may choose something else for the charity event.
I asked both performers which role they'd most like to play as each gender in any musical. Ashley had no hesitation confirming his most coveted role would be Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly, laughing as he said he's tried to convince The Production Company to stage this with him in the lead role! He'd also love to play the role of Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd. So convincing is Ashley in a female role, that many audience members were very surprised to discover Edna Turnblad in Hairspray was actually played by a man! The last role Ashley performed as a male was as Franz Liebkind in The Producers. When it comes to male roles, Ashley would love to play Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum as well as every role Nathan Lane has ever played!
Ashley is inspired by the women he refers to as the fabulous divas: Liza Minnelli, Shirley Bassey and Bette Midler. But he is also inspired by some of the wonderful women he has worked with over the years that he now calls friends, such as Caroline O'Connor and Jacki Weaver.
Inspiration for Heynatz comes from many sources. She loves the work of her co-host Trevor Ashley who writes and performs his own material, while Lucy Durack is her “pin up girl.” She is also inspired by women who have achieved a diverse career in the entertainment industry such as Lisa McCune and Kate Ceberano. And of course there is David Hobson, her original singing mentor, with whom she won Channel 7's It Takes Two singing competition in 2006.
Male roles that would interest Heynatz include Seymour Krelborn in Little Shop of Horrors and any of the male roles in A Chorus Line, a show she has always loved. But when it comes to female roles Heynatz was unsure, acknowledging there are so many great roles. Fresh from an outstanding year playing the role of Brooke Wyndham in Legally Blonde, Heynatz has proven she belongs on the stage. This debut professional musical theatre role earned Heynatz a Helpmann Award nomination and her “Whipped Into Shape” skipping routine will be remembered for a very long time.
While the songs for Twisted Broadway are still being decided, the list of performers is tantalising: Esther Hannaford, the boys from King Kong, Jemma Rix, Amy Lehpamer, Susan-Ann Walker, Bert LaBonte just to name a few! It's a night to hear some of our most loved artists perform numbers you would never hear them sing in any other show. It's also a night that will guarantee some good laughs and a great entertainment.
Twisted Broadway will perform for one night only at The Playhouse Theatre on Monday 22nd July.
Tickets start from just $35.
For tickets go to http://events.artscentremelbourne.com.au/tickets/production.aspx?PID=12833
For more information about the charity Oz Showbiz Cares/Equity Fights AIDS go to