Sean Weatherly spent about fourteen years working in supermarkets. Like many young people, Weatherly’s supermarket job, as a 2IC in the dairy department, kept him in suitable employment while he studied at university. However, upon graduation from Flinders Drama Centre, Sean Weatherly moved to Melbourne, and finding the arts industry a difficult one to break into, he continued to work in a supermarket.

Working at the Coles supermarket in Elsternwick, Sean Weatherly came up with the concept of Price Check! the Musical.

“It just came about that I ended up writing a story about my own life and ended up turning it into a full one hour and a half musical! So this musical acts as a bit of therapy for myself, if you know what I mean!” laughed Weatherly.

Sean Weatherly is the composer and lyricist of Price Check! the Musical, teaming up with Cerise de Gelder who wrote the book and also contributed to the lyrics.

Price Check! the Musical explores the lives of five characters all connected through their local supermarket.

“Mr Butler is based on a store manager I had when I lived in Adelaide. He’s a baby boomer, he’s cashed up … he’s basically the Steve Price of the supermarket!” explained Weatherly.

Narelle Sims is a checkout chick who, as result of life circumstances, has remained stuck in her job.

Zayeeb Dash is a new Indian migrant struggling with the Aussie vernacular and slang, but is also very passionate about his job working in the fruit and vegetable department. The character of Zayeeb Dash provides much of the humour in the show.

Dave Fisher is a geeky arts graduate with a failed marriage and has to work where he can, despite wanting to work in an arts centre.

The final character is Mrs Zimmerman, an old and lonely Jewish lady, based on the customers Weatherly would meet during his time working at Coles Elsternwick.

“They all come from different backgrounds and they all come together in this melting pot,” said Weatherly.

Price Check! the Musical had its first reading at La Mama in 2013, and underwent a rewrite following audience and industry feedback. Further reworkings of the show were followed by seasons at the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival, Theatreworks in St Kilda and then The Bakehouse Theatre in Adelaide. With a grant from the City of Port Phillip Cultural Development Fund, Price Check! the Musical is returning to Melbourne for a concert presentation at the Alex Theatre, St Kilda.

The cast of Don Bridges, Jacqy Phillips, Caitlin Mathieson, Nelson Clemente and Mudit Dhami will be joined on stage by a six piece band, including Peter Burgess (Bass Guitar/Tuba), Alex Waite (Piano), Stuart Byrne (Clarinet), Nichaud Munday (Flute), Hamish Upton (Percussion) and Tony Frantz (Trumpet).

Sean Weatherly hopes audiences will come along and support this original Australian work. Ultimately, he’d love the piece to be picked up by school or amateur theatre groups.

“I’d actually like to work with them. It would be great to get the material out there and into the public domain. There’s not a great deal of Australian work out there, so it would be really nice to try to inject more Aussie stuff into the regular scene out there,” said Weatherly.

Weatherly said the show could easily be adapted to suit a large ensemble.

“The big show numbers could have a large dance chorus if they wanted to, with people wheeling trolleys round and doing a big trolley ballet. There’s a whole lot of stuff that could go on,” suggested Weatherly, even proposing the addition of extra characters.

Supermarket shopping is something we can all identify with and so the material is suitable for any audience. It also has some deeper themes – the title Price Check! is itself a metaphor for reality check.

“Price Check is a metaphor for reality check, so whenever something of substance happens within the action, there’s a price check that’s called over the PA system, just to reinforce you need to think about what’s going on with your life,” explained Weatherly.

Writing the six piece orchestrations for this concert presentation has taken Sean Weatherly over one hundred hours in the last three weeks.

“I hope people will come and see the show and just enjoy it. I think it’s a really great show that’s universal in its message and in its theme.”

As for Sean Weatherly, he’s left his supermarket job.

“I run a clown business, so I’m my own boss and I’m doing exactly what I want to do now.”

Check out the footage from this week’s sitzprobe

Price Check! The Musical – In Concert
Studio – Alex Theatre, 135 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
Performances: 1 – 3 August 2019

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