Since its debut in 2010, Amity Dry’s musical Mother Wife and the Complicated Life has been wowing audiences and critics alike. It was selected to be performed at the New York Musical Theatre Festival and recently had its European debut with a season in Norway. There is interest in further European productions and an Off Broadway production of the show that has been described as the “next Mamma Mia“.

Ahead of its Australian tour, Amity Dry shares her Top 10 Lessons from launching a new musical.


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1. When you start writing your first show you have no idea how much time and money it’s going to take to get it up on stage. This is a good thing, because if you knew you’d probably never finish the first draft.

2. When you do complete the first draft you will think it’s the best thing you’ve ever written, with only a few small tweaks needed until it’s finished. Five years and countless rewrites later you will realise it can always be better and will never truly be finished.

3. The first time you hear an audience laugh at one of your lines is the best feeling in the world. The first standing ovation is even better. The emails and comments from people who were moved by it will make all the hard work feel worth it.

4. Everyone has an opinion, take them on board but know that you know your show and characters better than anyone else, so trust yourself.

5. Bad reviews are subjective and what the hell do reviewers know anyway? Good reviews must be shared on every social media account you have, numerous times.

6. You will learn how to do every job that’s required to stage and produce a show, because you can’t afford to pay anyone else to do it. This may include, but not be limited to, producer, tour manager, stage manager, general manager, props manager, costume designer, accounts, marketing and PR.

7. The people who work on your show in the beginning will do it for free because they love you and believe in the work. But at some point you need to pay them a fair wage, because it is how they earn their living and they deserve it. It might be your baby but they shouldn’t have to starve for it too.

8. It is nearly impossible to pay your whole team fair wages, hire a professional theatre, present a show and still make money. There is not enough funding for new Australian musicals and you will lose much more money on your show than you make. One day you hope this will change and that thought keeps you going.

9. Having your musical recognized and invested in outside your own country will feel amazing. It will also feel frustrating that you have to leave your own country to achieve that.

10. Launching a new musical is not unlike giving birth to a new baby. It is more challenging and consuming than you ever imagined, but the pride you feel and the joy and satisfaction it brings is worth every bit of effort.


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