Hello and welcome back to Theatre People’s Weekly Wrap for 2020. In this our 4th year, we can’t wait to share with you the many musicals and special events that will be gracing the Australian stage in 2020. Over the break, I was lucky enough to travel to Melbourne to see Come From Away, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I hope that many of you also have the pleasure of enjoying the work of our truly talented artists this year.

NEW SOUTH WALES

Capitol Theatre: School of Rock

Sydney Lyric Theatre: Shrek

Sydney Opera House- Joan Sutherland Theatre: Carmen

Sydney Opera House- Studio: SIX

 

QUEENSLAND

QPAC Lyric Theatre: Book of Mormon

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Adelaide Festival Centre- Festival Theatre: Billy Elliot

VICTORIA

Arts Centre, Melbourne- State Theatre: Chicago

Comedy Theatre: Come From Away

Her Majesty’s Theatre: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Princess Theatre: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Regent Theatre: War Horse

 

WHAT’S HAPPENING AROUND AUSTRALIAN THEATRES

9 to 5 announces Melbourne season

Dolly Parton’s West End smash hit 9 to 5 the musical will play at Melbourne’s  Her Majesty’s Theatre from July 2020. Starring magnificent Australian performers Caroline O’Connor as Roz Keith, Marina Prior as Violet Newstead, Samantha Dodemaide as Judy Bernly and Erin Clare as Doralee Rhodes, this musical is one not to be missed.

The show opens at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre in April. Tickets for Sydney and wait list details for Melbourne are available at the official website https://9to5themusical.com.au/

9to5 the musical

Caroline O’Connor, Marina Prior, Samantha Dodemaide and Erin Clare

 

CAST ANNOUNCEMENTS

Darlinghurst Theatre’s A Chorus Line

The full cast of Darlinghurst Theatre’s production of A Chorus Line has been announced ahead of their season at the Eternity Playhouse in Sydney. Tim Draxl (Only Heaven Knows, A Place to Call Home) plays Zach, the director auditioning a group of actors for his upcoming musical.

The auditionees, who are desperate to get a job in Zach’s new show are Angelique Cassimatis (Hair, Priscilla Queen of the Desert) plays Zach’s ex-girlfriend Cassie, Daniel Assetta (West Side Story, CATS) as Al, Molly Bugeja (West Side Story) as Connie, Samantha Bruzzese (Bring it On, The Bodyguard) as Diana, Andrew Cook (Chicago, Beautiful) as Don, Nadia Coote (Dirty Dancing, Strictly Ballroom) as Sheila, Lachlan Dearing (Saturday Night Fever, Jack and the Beanstalk) as Mike, Natalie Foti as Bebe, Keanu Gonzalez (West Side Story, Aladdin) as Greg, Chaska Halliday (Aladdin, Chicago) as Val, Glenn Hill (Chicago, Jersey Boys) as Bobby, Madeleine Mackenzie (Aladdin) as Judy, Coby Njoroge as Ritchie, Dayton Tavares (In the Heights, Carmen) as Mark, Jessica Velluci (Chicago, West Side Story) as Maggie, Romina Villafranca (Chicago, Singin’ in the Rain) as Kristine, and Lyndon Watts (Aladdin, West Side Story) as Paul. All the dancers are put through their paces by Zach’s assistant choreographer Larry, who is played by Eli Cooper (Wizard of Oz, Grease).

The show begins previews on March 13th with tickets and further information available at https://www.darlinghursttheatre.com/whats-on/a-chorus-line

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Cast of A Chorus Line

 

OPENING NIGHTS

Shrek

Starring Ben Mingay as Shrek and Lucy Durack as Princess Fiona, the Shrektacular spectacle of Shrek the Musical opened at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre on Sunday, January 5th. Children and children at heart were entertained by all the characters we have come to know including Todd McKenney as Lord Farquard, Marcia Hines as Dragon and Nat Jobe as Donkey. A full review can be read at https://www.theatrepeople.com.au/shrek-the-musical-2/

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Todd McKenney, Ben Mingay, Lucy Durack, Nat Jobe and Marcia Hines at the opening of Shrek in Sydney

 

SIX 

Australian audiences now have the opportunity to experience the phenomenon known as SIX after it opened at the Sydney Opera House on. SIX is the brainchild of Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, two Cambridge University graduates who wrote the book, music and lyrics while studying for their final exams and staged the musical at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

SIX takes its audience back to sixteenth century Tudor England, when the notorious King Henry VIII ruled absolutely. He was a monarch best remembered for having married six wives and breaking with the Catholic Church to declare himself head of his own church. In a sassy musical staged and structured like a pop concert, the six queens- Aragon (Chloé Zuel), Boleyn (Kala Gare), Seymour (Loren Hunter), Cleves (Kiana Daniele), Howard (Courtney Monsma), and Parr (Vidya Makan) compete to become lead singer of the group. Each queen takes her turn to tell her story through song and makes the case that her own plight was worse than that of the other five. Ella Burns, Karis Oka and Shannen Alyce Quan round out the cast as Swings.

A full review can be found at https://www.theatrepeople.com.au/six-the-musical/

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The all female cast of SIX

 

SPECIAL EVENTS
Shows raise money for those effected by bush fires

Theatre People would like to thank the generosity of Melbourne theatre patrons and the Australian musical companies for digging deep in support of bush fire relief efforts. A total of $75,000 was raised by the Marriner Group theatres with a further $27, 128 raised by audiences at the Arts Centre Melbourne. The collections have been held by the casts of Come From Away, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Chicago.

We would also like to thank the international casts of Come From Away who have shown true generosity in line with the theme of their show, raising funds over the last week.

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Sing For Australia

Australia’s hottest musical theatre performers are raising funds for the bush fires!

Euan Doidge and Showstoppers invite you to join us to help raise much needed funds and awareness in an industry showcase to be held on Sunday, January 19th at the Bank on Collins, Melbourne. All profits will be donated directly to the bush fire disaster via WIRES-Emergency Fund for Wildlife. Their work is crucial in the support of those animals effected by the fires.

Full details can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/1035221706838983/

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Steve Danielsen performs at Brisbane Tennis International

Book of Mormon‘s Steve Danielsen recently sang the Australian national anthem at the Women’s Final of the Brisbane International Tennis tournament. Congratulations Steve.

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Steve Danielsen rehearses the national anthem in Brisbane

 

CELEBRATIONS

Show milestone: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Congratulations to the company of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child who this week celebrated their 200th show (which is 400 parts and 800 acts).

Company of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre

 

Show milestone: Chicago

Also celebrating a milestone is the company of Chicago which is currently playing at the Arts Centre in Melbourne. This week saw them celebrate their 150th show. Chicago is in Melbourne until February 23rd.

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Cast members of Chicago

 

International Swing Day: Wednesday, January 15th 2020

The swings of the theatre community are the unsung and often unknown heroes of the company. Cast members who take on this role will learn upwards of 4 tracks and in bigger shows many more. They are ready to go onto the stage at any time before and even during the show. With tomorrow (Wednesday, January 15th) being International Swing Day we would like to acknowledge our Australian swings:

School of Rock: Ellis Dolan, Bree Langridge, Michaela Powell, Jack Van Staveren

Shrek: Mackenzie Dunn, Hollie James, Leigh Sleightholme, Rhys Velasquez

SIX: Ella Burns, Karis Oka, Shannen Alyce Quan

Book of Mormon: Ryan Sheppard, Gabriella Barbagallo, Jarred Bedgood, Ayla Ciccone- Burton, Tom Davis, Mike Evariste, Jamard Richardson

Billy Elliot: Dion Bilios, Caroline Kaspar, Alexander Kermond, Zoe Komazec, David Sirianni, Tahlia Traecey

Chicago: Amy Berrisford, Mitchell Fistrovic, Kristina McNamara, Joe Meldrum

Come From Away: Tony Farrell, Angela Kennedy, Kathleen Moore, Jensen Overend, Ash Roussety, Alana Tranter

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Sheridan Anderson, David Hammond, Aaron Lynch, Kassie Martin, Jackson Reedman, Thalia Smith

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Damien Avery, Simon Chandler, Clare Chihambakwe, Louis Corbett, Kuda Mapeza, Kirsty Marillier, John Shearman

The Swings of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

 

OPENING SHOWS

NEW SOUTH WALES

Hayes Theatre: The Life of Us (January 16th)

Qudos Bank Arena: Wizard of Oz Arena Spectacular (January 25th)

Riverside Theatres, Parramatta: Bran Nue Dae (January 15th)

Sydney Lyric Theatre: War Horse (February 15th)

 

VICTORIA

Her Majesty’s Theatre: Shrek (February 16th)

Regent Theatre: Billy Elliot (February 20th)

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Regal Theatre: Bran Nue Dae (February 6th)

 

CLOSING SHOWS

NEW SOUTH WALES

Riverside Theatres, Parramatta: Bran Nue Dae (February 1st)

Sydney Lyric Theatre: Shrek (February 9th)

QUEENSLAND

QPAC Lyric Theatre: Book of Mormon (February 16th)

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Adelaide Festival Centre- Festival Theatre: Billy Elliot (January 26th)

 

VICTORIA

Her Majesty’s Theatre: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (February 2nd)

Regent Theatre: War Horse (February 8th)

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Regal Theatre: Bran Nue Dae (February 15th)

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