Royal Children’s Hospital Concert Interview
In March/April of 2012, Melbourne Company Events Plus Numbers will be bringing us “Sing and Dance So That They May Grow”, a variety musical theatre show based on the idea of inspirational songs from movies and theatre.
Opening on the 30th of March and closing on the 6th of April (Good Friday), the concert will be held at the St Martins Youth Theatre in South Yarra: http://www.stmartinsyouth.com.au/book-tickets/
The show is in honour of the Good Friday Appeal with all proceedings going towards Melbourne’s own beloved Royal Children’s Hospital
I caught up with Show Choreographer Catherine Spanti and cast member/featured dancer Rowan Brunt for some background information on their experience and on the show and to find out how it is all coming together.
Catherine Spanti Rowan Brunt
1. Tell us a little about yourself? Aside from the Royal Children’s Hospital side of your life, what do you do/enjoy doing?
I’ve been dancing for around 16 years, and teaching and choreographing for around 9 years. Just last year I opened my Dance School in Pascoe Vale, Crave Dance Academy. After teaching for many years i decided to branch out and do what I've always dreamed of doing which has been very exciting and stressful but ultimately very rewarding. I have also been teaching at St Columbas College, Essendon for 6 years, choreographing their rock eisteddfods, cabarets and many corporate events along side the resident dance teacher Linda Henderson. I have been very lucky to have had great teaching opportunities and I hope to bring all those skills that I have acquired to 'Sing and Dance That They May Grow'.
I keep myself quite busy, working my life around rehearsal and dance. I am studying dance with Left Leg Studios in their Pre-Professional Course a 12-hour course, which I am loving to bits. I also work as a bartender and doing event work in hospitality, so am constantly running straight from dance to work. But days off I love nothing better then coffee with my great friends and catching up on their hectic lifestyles.
2. How did you get into dancing? How did you become involved with this company and for how long?
I actually started out as a gymnast, but that just didn't quite cut it for my 12-year old self. I then jumped straight into dancing and never looked back. I’ve been very lucky to have had very supportive people in my life and also amazing teachers who have taught me commitment and excellence, and have been great mentors and friends. This is the first time i have worked with Events Plus Numbers and I am very grateful for this opportunity.
This year is just about my third year of dance. Always loved musical theatre, but dance began as an obligation to get me into industry. After first few classes in ballet I changed my mind and now am predominately a dancer. The show was a curiosity, saw it on theatre people and thought what the hell.
3. Tell us about the show. Where? When? And most importantly about the cause it is going towards
Sing and Dance That They May Grow is a variety musical theatre show, based on the idea of inspirational songs from movies and theatre, we want to give hope and inspire… opening on the 30th of March and closing on the 6th of April (Good Friday).
This show is to raise money for the Good Friday Appeal and the Royal Children's Hospital. We are very lucky as performers to be able to have the opportunity to use our talents and our love for performing to raise money for such a good cause. It is very rare in this amazing theatre community to be able to do something so meaningful and selfless in a world where we all crave the spotlight. This is our way of sharing our talents with the community for an amazing cause that has touched so many of us in many ways.
The show is called Sing and Dance So that they may grow for the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal. It is performing at the St. Martins Youth Theatre in South Yarra. The cause is also a reason I wanted to do the show having two little cousins who are regulars at the Royal Children’s it is my way of thanking the hospital for my family.
4. What can audiences expect from the show? What kind of styles and numbers are included? Without giving too much away.
Well… all I can say is its worth every cent! This cast has worked tirelessly to create a really high-energy show. There are a lot of high-energy dance and ensemble numbers, beautiful ballads with amazing lyrical dances and lots of 'variety'! It truly will be entertaining for all. Theatre people will love all of the great musical theatre pieces and the general public are sure to enjoy some uplifting songs they know and love.
The show is a jam-packed variety show, we have it all from show tunes to pop songs. There are some big dance numbers with a heavy use of the featured dancers, very funky and all to highlight the talents of the cast. But then there are also some strong ballad from our soloist's with some clever harmony work. Sneaky bit to look forward to is our amazing circus pair straight from NICA, they blow me away.
5. What have he creative team been like to work with on this show at Events plus Numbers?
Our production team have been great to work with. Our Producer Chris Alleyn has been working so hard along with our Co-Producer/ Production Manager Abbey-Jane Jones to put this show together. Our Musical Director Barney Reiter, Assistant Choreographer Joel Anderson and I have just been working non-stop to make this production a success.
I have had a close relationship with Catherine, being a featured dancer; we spend a lot of time together. The 10 dancers are in about 9 numbers and it is very much running off a hip hop routine and then back on for a contemporary. Also working on the ensemble numbers with Barnaby Reiter the MD has been great, though he is young his skills are quite impressive always working our arses of for him.
6. And what about the cast, how have they been to work with as performers and as a team?
Honestly, I actually said the words the other day…' I am so lucky! ' Speaking as a choreographer, I couldn't have asked for more. I have first and foremost an incredibly hard working cast, they are dedicated and oh so talented. They sweat it out three times a week, do everything I ask of them – with smiles on their faces (most of the time), and I couldn't thank them any more. It may sound like I'm lying… but I'm not.
Most people say this about their show but all our people are really talented. Many of them are either studying or studied musical theatre/music/dance and have worked in shows. Slightly intimidating but good. We are all quite close which helps and makes learning choreography better when you have others that can help you out if needed. I'm not going to miss them after the show because they are not going anywhere in my life.
7. You have been rehearsing for the past couple of months now, and are coming very close to opening the season. What has the rehearsal period been like?
The rehearsal period has been quite good, slow starting honestly but now we really have a show. Were spending most of our time cleaning up choreography and really working on those small but so important parts in the show. I'm sure the cast are exhausted as is the production team but we have all worked very hard and it will all be worthwhile when the final curtain closes and we can give our donation to The Royal Children's Hospital.
Rehearsals are always slightly painful with so much to do in such little time. Also due to this been a variety show there isn’t much time for breaks to do dialogue so it has been constant. My head I can confidently say I jam-packed with stuff to remember. We are now very close to opening so it is all cleaning and perfecting every inflection of the voice or sharpening dance steps so the audience gets the best we can give.
8. What has been the most enjoyable part of working on this production? Any Highlights?
Well, I have to say the friends we have made… the amazing work we have produced… and all the wine we have consumed! Does that answer that question?
The fact that I mainly a dancer, this show gives me a chance to also sing a bit. Not just background harmonies, for instance in our mash up of "Seasons of Love/ No Day" few of dancers including myself get to sing out which is very cool. Also working on the contemporary routine for "He Lives In You " has been great, its very earthy and strong, not odd ground rolling very physical. And the backing vocals of James Davies with his baritone voice gives at a great feel.
Highlight would be the close friends I now have with the dancers and choreographer. Every rehearsal we are sweating and giving it our all, and some people have their diva moments but its all right it happens and we continue. They are all great people.
9. Were there any challenges or obstacles you faced while tackling this production?
Of course there was. There is in all productions, but as a team we have done a great job in overcoming these obstacles and moving forward positively. The hardest part I believe for most community theatre performers and production teams, is being able to juggle theatre and the rest of our lives. We all have to fit many things into a week and its hard work to make it all happen. But luckily our cast is dedicated and hard working and we have all worked vary hard for this great cause.
For me personally it has been the different styles. Been predominately ballet trained and done productions based on jazz, to get put into commercial hip hop numbers has thrown me. The pressure is there but makes me work harder to keep up with the others.
10. Any final information about the show you would like to let all Theatre people know?
Just please come and support such an amazing show and cast, let us entertain you and give to this wonderful and worthwhile cause.
Yes COME WATCH. Such a great cause, it is entertainment mixed with good karma. Also watch out for Keagan Vaskess and Josie Pulitano, both girls blow me away though I hear them sing daily. Not to mention the fabulous dancers!!
Sing and Dance So That They May Grow
Friday 30th March
Saturday 31st March
Wednesday 4th April
Thursday 5th April
Friday 6th April (Good Friday, Gala)
Book tickets at or find the event on Facebook for more info, which also includes an independent made trailer, support a great cause.