It’s time for the RENTheads and the OZians to clear out. The [tos]sers have landed in Melbourne!

[title of show] is an original musical about two friends deciding to write an original musical. The show gives us a unique insight in to the artistic process writers go through before we theatre-goers see the final product.

For its first season out of the US, Magnormos will present [title of show] at Theatre Works in May. The show features some of Melbourne’s finest performers, starring, David Spencer (Priscilla Queen of the Desert) as Jeff, Michael Lindner (Mary Poppins) as Hunter, Laura Fitzpatrick (The Thing About Men) as Susan and Lara Thew (Damn Yankees) as Heidi.

I caught up with Magnormos’ Producer and Australia’s original [tos]ser, Sean Bryan to get some gossip on what we can expect from the show.

TP: What has the rehearsal process been like so far?

Sean: Cramazing! (That’s crazy combined with amazing for all the people being introduced to [title of show] for the first time) The cast are fantastic, and lovely people to boot! We all sat down together and watched “The [title of show] Show” and had some great laughs together as a company. David Spencer and Michael Lindner are hilarious, bouncing off each other as Jeff and Hunter. Laura Fitzpatrick and Lara Thew are our fancy ladies, Susan and Heidi, and they both bring a great energy and sense of humour to the production. I think what’s so great about the cast is how close they are. Friendship is such a key element of the production; the original Broadway cast had been close friends prior to the show being conceived, so to have our cast bond together like they have so far is really special, and really adds to the realness of the production.

TP: Do you think smaller, newer shows are establishing a more significant place in Australian Theatre?

Sean: I think smaller shows are not only taking up a more significant place in Australian Theatre, but also in the international world of Theatre as well. The Global Economic Crisis hit the industry hard; Broadway saw a lot of great shows close which was really unfortunate. But it’s meant producers have had to take another look at what they’re presenting, what’s more cost effective, and smaller shows are definitely that. I think there is also a lot of quality productions being written for smaller casts at the moment, [title of show], Next To Normal and on a more local scale Life’s A Circus are all prime examples.

TP: What should an audience member expect from this show?

Sean: Audiences will be seeing the realisation of a dream. The original cast of [title of show] were also the creators of the musical, and to make it to Broadway was to have all their aspirations fully envisioned. I also know that they’re incredibly excited that the show is being presented in Australia, so our production really sees the continuation of their dream. The show is also hilariously funny, it’s very conversational, very “now”. Hunter Bell’s book, which was Tony nominated, captures the fantastic and real world of his friends in New York with dialogue that is very fresh and witty, I’m sure audience members will leave the theatre with a few new slang terms for their vocabulary. Jeff Bowen’s score and lyrics are so clever and at times really touching. It’s written so well that the show doesn’t require fancy technical gimmicks to make it a great piece of Theatre. It’s just pure, raw, good times on the stage.

TP: Do the characters in Title of Show represent the kind of artists Magnormos serves to represent within Australian Theatre?

Sean: The great thing about Magnormos is that not only do we get to present exciting landmark productions and Australian premieres like [title of show] but we’re also an industry leader in presenting New Australian Musicals. We’ll soon be opening submissions for Australian “Jeff and Hunters” to enter their works into the annual OzMade Musicals showcase, which is a fantastic development and promotional platform for new Australian-written musical theatre.


TP: What does it take to be a [tos]ser?

Sean: I think becoming a [tos]ser (the Broadway nickname for [title of show] fans) is about discovering the show and personally connecting with it, whether that be through listening to the cast recording, watching “The [title of show] Show” or coming to see our production and realising that these people are just like you. They’ve got dreams, and wants, and needs, but they’ve also got fears and insecurities.

I discovered the show through a friend’s My Space. She had the song “A Way Back To Then” on her profile, so I asked her what it was. Soon I’d got my hands on a copy of the cast recording and became an avid fan of their You Tube show. At the time the cast still had their email addresses attached to the [title of show] blog so I decided to send an email to Jeff. A few days later I got a real email back, who confirmed no one had applied for No.1 Aussie Fan Status, so I got the title.

When the cast announced they were going to Broadway, I decided to create my own YouTube series about flying to New York to see the show. It started off as just me in my room, and then grew into a few of my friends playing along as well. We parodied Broadway songs, popular movies, and were always trying to work out a quicker way of getting to New York. The whole time we’d been sending the videos to the cast, and they LOVED them and would share them with their friends and family. They enjoyed following our journey as much as we enjoyed following theirs.

With flights booked for December for my first trip to NYC I was devastated when [title of show] announced the show would be closing in October. As ambassador for the international [tos]sers I created the “Adopt An International [tos]ser Program” which was kind of like a pen friend system, where fans that couldn’t make it to the Lyceum could fill out a form, and have that form taken to the show by someone seeing the show, who would get it signed at the stage door by the cast, before sending it back. The cast loved the project, and the fans were really supportive of it as well, not only sending back a signed form but signed playbills, merchandise items, videos with the cast and more!

Not only are [tos]sers a dedicated group of fans who are incredibly passionate about [title of show] they’re also incredibly supportive of each other. Whenever I was in the company of [tos]sers in America I felt like I was part of a family. So that makes me feel so proud that I get the opportunity to see one of my dreams come true by presenting [title of show] in Australia, and that I get to welcome a whole lot of new Aussie [tos]sers to the family!

Magnormos will present the Australasian premier of [title of show] from May 3 – 15 at Theatre Works, St Kilda. Tickets can be purchased either online at www.magtix.com or via the Theatre Works box office on (03) 9534 3388


 

Comments

comments