Candy Burgess and Aaron Lyon attended the first day of rehearsals of An Officer and a Gentleman this morning – check out some photos here and get ready for our interview footage that's coming soon!
The world premiere of the musical An Officer and a Gentleman, which opens at the Lyric Theatre on 18 May, began its rehearsals at the ABC Studios in Sydney today. An Officer and a Gentleman is a triumphant story of working class heroes surviving great tests; a classic modern day Cinderella story about a working class boy and girl who must overcome their upbringing and personal weaknesses to accept life and love.
Co-Producer John Frost was very excited to welcome the cast and introduce them to the creative team that will be guiding them in the next few weeks. Today was the first gathering of the complete cast to read and sing through the script, together with the co-writer of the musical Douglas Day Stewart (The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, Officer and a Gentleman 1982 movie), composer and lyricist team Ken Hirsch ("I've never been to me," "Up where we belong") and Robin Lerner ("This Kiss" for Faith Hill), director Simon Phillps (Love Never Dies, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), choreographer Andrew Hallsworth (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Next to Normal),and MD Dave Skelton (Rock of Ages, Avenue Q, Fame). Frost is very excited for this proudction, saying "now we're finally in the rehearsal room with this outstanding cast and the best creative team we could have hoped for, working with the US writers of the show".
Sharleen Cooper Cohen, Co-Producer and Co-Writer, then told the cast she had been pursuing this project since 2000 and she always believed this moving and timeless romance would make the perfect musical: "The most wonderful part is the collaboration between the US and Sydney. Sydney is teeming with brilliance and we are so fortunate to harness this talent to our production. Today is the start of a dream come true for me."
Frosty welcomed Mr George Souris NSW Minister for Tourism, Major Events and Arts, who heartily congratulated the Team for creating this world premier production stating "It is a major coup for Sydney to host this production ahead of international musical theatre destinations such as London and New York."
Simon Phillips then spoke to his cast. He said he understood they were nervous to be in front of media at their first rehearsal and thanked them for their willingness to sing along with Amanda and Ben. He recalled it had been a long and arduous casting process and he believes they have the most sensational cast possible: "This will possibly be the hardest show you will ever be involved with due to the combination of skills that have to come together, from enduring the military training and boot camp sessions to bring you to a superb fitness level to the execution of the brilliant new score.The kind of stuff that makes up people like Douglas Day Stewart (author of the autobiographical 1982 movie) is not traditionally the kinda stuff musical theatre people are made of!"
The talented cast that is bringing this timeless story to the stage are Ben Mingay as Zack, Amanda Harrison as Paula, Alex Rathgeber, Kate Kendall, Batholomew John, Tara Morice, Bert LaBonte, Josh Piterman, Kirby Burgess, Zara Newman, Josef Brown, Bernard Angel, Elise Brennan, Bianca Baykara, Lena Cruz, Sam Devenport, Akina Edmonds, Zoy Frangos, Sheridan Harbridge, Peter Harvey, Brendan Irving, Tanya Mitford, Thern Reynolds, Simon Roborgh, Michael Whalley, and Patrick Williams.