Can you believe it is December again! Together with being the final column for 2020, we celebrate our 200th edition!
In what has been a particularly challenging year for the Australian theatre community with much of our industry struggling with unemployment, we have still banded together, bringing peace, joy, and love through music for those affected by fires, floods, and covid-19 including many of those who put their hand up to spread happiness to others despite loses of their own. In 2020, I learned to format and edit the column in addition to writing, I have come out of this year with a newfound appreciation for editors! I had the pleasure of contributing to my community by keeping the column going even when theatres were temporarily closed. I wish you all Happy Holidays however you celebrate and wherever you are this year. May 2021 be a time of renewal and one of our greatest theatre season yet!
NEW SOUTH WALES
Belvoir: My Brilliant Career
Capitol Theatre: Frozen
Sydney Lyric Theatre: Pippin
Heath Ledger Theatre: Oklahoma! (Closing: Sunday, December 20th)
NEW SOUTH WALES
Sydney Opera House: RENT (Opening: Sunday, December 27th, 2020)
QPAC Lyric Theatre: Shrek (Opening: Saturday, January 9th, 2021)
Comedy Theatre: Come From Away (Opening: Tuesday, January 19th, 2021)
All aboard the Hogwarts Express as Harry Potter Re-Opens
Multi-award-winning theatrical event Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will resume performances on Thursday, February 25th, 2021, after a hiatus of 49 weeks. The landmark production suspended a record-breaking run at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre after public health measures were imposed by the government due to COVID 19.
Producers Sonia Friedman, Colin Callender, and Michael Cassel added: “We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all Victorians and the State Government for their commitment during these extraordinary times, and for allowing us to safely return. We are thrilled to congratulate Melbourne as the first city in the world to re-open Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and extend a special thank you to our loyal audiences who have stuck with us. On behalf of everyone in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child company, we can’t wait to welcome you back.”
CEO Visit Victoria Brendan McClements said today, “From its opening in February 2019, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child established itself as one of Melbourne’s iconic entertainment destinations. This production is a major drawcard for visitors and the opening will be a significant step forward to reactivate the East End Theatre District. I wish the production well as it welcomes audiences back to the theatre in February of next year.”
Marriner Group’s CEO, Jason Marriner said, “ The health and safety of our audiences are paramount and we can assure everyone entering the Princess Theatre doors that the utmost care and detail has gone into making the theatre-going experience safe. We very much look forward to welcoming you back.”
For further information regarding visits to the theatre please refer to https://marrinergroup.com.au/covid-19-message
To book tickets, travel by floo powder to https://www.harrypottertheplay.com/au/
CHESS THE MUSICAL checks in to Brisbane in 2021
CHESS makes its professional Queensland debut at the Concert Hall, QPAC for two shows only on June 10th, 2021. This semi-staged concert-style production will be backed by a full 23 piece orchestra playing the original London West-End orchestrations.
With music by Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus (ABBA), book & lyrics by Tim Rice (The Lion King); CHESS THE MUSICAL is arguably one of the most powerful and impactful rock-opera scores ever heard on the musical theatre stage. Featuring global smash hits “I Know Him So Well” and “One Night In Bangkok”, this extraordinary sung-through production also features much-loved standards such as “Anthem”, “Someone Else’s Story”, “Heaven Help My Heart” and “Pity The Child”.
Directed by acclaimed director Tyran Parke (Barnum, Follies, Broadway to La Scala), CHESS is the musical event of 2021 you will not want to miss! Tickets are on sale now at https://www.qpac.com.au/event/chess_the_musical_21
Starring Gabrielle Chan (Hungry Ghosts, Jasper Jones), Lena Cruz (Noli Me Tangere, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert), Dolores Dunbar (Funny Girl, My Fair Lady), Jaime Hadwen (Muriel’s Wedding, Bring it On), Chaska Halliday (Pippin, Aladdin), Nancye Hayes, Stefanie Jones (Muriel’s Wedding, The Sound of Music), Donna Lee (Oklahoma!, Les Miserables), Joy Miller (Chicago, Les Miserables) and Wendy-Lee Purdy (Aspects of Love, WICKED), Half Time is the incredible true story of ten ordinary seniors with extraordinary dreams who audition to dance at halftime for a major basketball team. Only after making the cut do they learn they won’t be dancing tap, salsa, or swing–instead, they will bring down the house with a style that is entirely new to them: hip-hop. Take the uplifting journey with these dreamers–and the young coaches who inspire them along the way–as they battle self-doubt, stereotypes, and even each other for a chance to bust a move at center court in front of the 20,000 screaming fans. Together they remind us that in life when the odds are stacked against you and the challenges seem too great to overcome, it’s not the end of the game–it’s Half Time.
The show is directed by Helen Dallimore, choreographed by Madi Lee with the sound design by Prudence Holloway. Playing at Sydney’s Hayes Theatre from Thursday, April 1st, 2021, Tickets are on sale now at https://hayestheatre.com.au/event/half-time/
EUROMASH– Johanna Allen
Carols by Candlelight
Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight in Melbourne always attracts Australia’s music theatre’s brightest stars and this year is no exception. This year, people are being encouraged to settle in front of the TV to sing along with performers including Anthony Callea, Tim Campbell (Hairspray), Casey Donovan (Chicago), Bobby Fox (Jersey Boys), Zoe Gertz (Come From Away), Phillip Lowe (Who’s Your Baghdaddy), Simon Gleeson (Les Miserables), David Hobson (The Merry Widow), Rob Mills (Grease), Mirusia, Silvie Paladino (Les Miserables), Marina Prior, Christie Whelan- Browne (Twelfth Night) and the cast of highly anticipated show Hamilton.
The performances will be on Channel 9 on Christmas Eve from 8:00 pm AEST.
Carols in the Domain
Wednesday, December 23rd will see musical theatre represented at the Carols in the Domain event. Live from Sydney, tune in to Channel 7 at 7:30 pm to see Stephen Madsen (Muriel’s Wedding), Ashleigh Rubenach (Cry-Baby), Hugh Sheridan, Todd McKenney, Rachael Beck (Barnum), Penny McNamee (WICKED), Annie Jones (The School of Rock) and Mark Vincent and the cast of Frozen among many others.
FRIENDS!- The Musical Parody
“Made our day, our month, and even our year!” – E! News
This week, Producers of the hilarious New York and Las Vegas hit Friends! The Musical Parody announced the stellar cast who will be playing the much-loved and iconic roles.
Belinda Jenkin (50 Shades! The Musical Parody, Top Gun the Musical) will play Phoebe, acclaimed musical theatre performer Stefanie Jones (Muriel’s Wedding, The Sound of Music) has won the role of Monica, and Sarah Krndija (As You Like It, Sunday In The Park With George) will be Rachel. Recent VCA Graduate Joseph Spanti (Spring Awakening, Netflix’ Dive Club) will play Joey, Tyran Stig makes his professional debut in the role of Ross, and award-winning actor Rowan Witt (The Book of Mormon, South Pacific) will play Chandler. Shakespearean actor Chris Huntly-Turner (A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Merchant of Venice at Pop-up Globe) will play Gunther.
Show details and how to book can be found at https://www.theatrepeople.com.au/friends-cast-announced/
The show’s official website is https://friendsmusical.com.au/
Musical theatre performer, Amy Lehpamer (The School of Rock, Beautiful) is quickly making herself known in her adopted hometown of Brisbane. Lehpamer who moved to Brisbane this year will star in Queensland Theatre’s production of OUR TOWN.
Life in a small town. Babies are born. Children go to school and play and dream. People grow up, fall in love, get married, hold down a job, and grow old. The same surnames last down through the years, but the faces change. There are inevitable tragedies and triumphant joys.
As we come to know the people in this town, we see how the threads of their everyday lives are gently woven into the rich and complex, funny, and heartbreaking fabric that is community. And for all its simplicity, this play reveals a great truth at its heart: deep meaning and startling value are in every moment of existence. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
The show runs from Saturday, January 30th to Saturday, February 20th with tickets available from https://queenslandtheatre.com.au/plays/our-town
Carols in the Haus
Join the cast of Carols in the Haus on Tuesday, December 22nd at 6:30 pm QLD time to toast to the incredible artists in the industry. Starring an exceptional cast of Australian performers, this online event can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home with a hot chocolate (or wine).
The Spirit of Christmas comes to QPAC
Friday, December 18th saw the QPAC Concert Hall come alive as Josh Piterman and Amy Lehpamer spearheaded a talented lineup of performers, bringing Christmas joy to Queensland audiences. There are two shows remaining on Saturday, December 19th with tickets still available for the 2:00 pm and the 7:00 pm shows. For more information, head to https://ticketing.qpac.com.au/event_dates/spirit_christmas_20
Engagement- Jaz Flowers
Congratulations to Jaz Flowers (Heathers, We Will Rock You) on the announcement of her engagement this month. We wish you both the best for your future together!
Merry Christmas from Coogee, NSW.