The Detective’s Handbook and MELBA chosen for Stage Three: The Workshop


Hayes Theatre Co and New Musicals Australia (NMA) are thrilled to announce that two musicals have been chosen to proceed to Stage Three of NMA. The Detective’s Handbook by Ian Ferrington and Olga Solar, and MELBA, by Nicholas Christo and Johannes Luebbers will each will be workshopped with one being chosen for a full production at Hayes Theatre Co in November.

The Detective’s Handbook was written by Ian Ferrington and Olga Solar. Set in Chicago 1950, it follows the story of Frank Thompson, Police detective, when he is called into the station to investigate the murder of two policemen in a disreputable neighbourhood along with newly promoted assigned partner, Jimmy Hartman.

“We’re surprised at how far this has all come from where we started,” said Ian Ferrington. “We are very excited about a new phase of development and collaboration. We’re very proud of our work, and New Musicals Australia is giving us a rare opportunity to improve the show and ready it for the stage.”

MELBA, written by Nicholas Christo and composed by Johannes Luebbers is a story about a young mother from the cane fields of Queensland, with a voice of gold and a will of iron, who sails for Europe with a dream of becoming a world-class opera singer.

“Johannes and I are so excited and grateful to be able to work with New Musicals Australia and everyone at Hayes Theatre Co” said Nicholas Christo. “We’d love to thank everyone who supported our showcase, especially our amazing actors, and we can’t wait to workshop our piece to deliver on six years of work and bring it to life… and also so Johannes can stop singing the vocal parts to me down the telephone.”

Submissions for New Musicals Australia closed late last year with scores of new musicals put up for the possibility of being workshopped for a production at Hayes Theatre Co.  In May, eight musicals presented a snapshot of their work to an industry advisory panel from which Melba and The Detectives Handbook have been selected.

“There was an extremely high calibre of work presented in Stage Two, making the selection of just two musicals difficult for the panel,” said Neil Gooding, Producer New Musicals Australia and Chair of Hayes Theatre Co.  “We are really excited about the two works we have chosen for Stage Three. We’re eager to see how these works will develop and grow throughout the five day workshop process.”

New Musicals Australia is an initiative dedicated to the development and production of original music theatre. NMA assists emerging writers and/or composers to get their work off the ground. Previously New Musicals Australia has developed and presented Truth Beauty and a Picture of You and A Little Touch of Chaos, among others.

The process is designed to benefit projects at all stages of their evolution, ranging from excerpt presentations to staged readings and rehearsed performances.  New Musicals Australia will aim to provide a network to make connections with high-level industry professionals, creative industry leaders, potential collaborators and fellow creatives.

“The five day workshop will be instrumental in taking these two original works to the next level. It will also be fantastic experience for their creators. Regardless of which one is selected for the Hayes Theatre Co production, both of these musicals will be exposed to a wealth of industry knowledge and professional feedback, an experience which is truly invaluable” said Neil Gooding, Producer of New Musicals Australia and Hayes Theatre Co Chair.

The Stage Two of New Musicals Australia was featured on the ABC television program ‘The Mix’. Click here to watch the episode.

New Musicals Australia is an initiative of Independent Music Theatre in partnership with Hayes Theatre Co.