23 May

Wicked lottery

Posted by in Musicals, Theatre

Wicked

The musical that even non-musical people know is well into its Regent Theatre run, which means that if you’re hoping to spend One Short Day in the Emerald City, you might run into problems nabbing the good seats online. Or, maybe you’re a dangerous, incredibly spontaneous type who makes theatre-going decisions at the last minute. Either way, no one wants to end up with the dodgy cheap seats up at the back.

Thankfully, Wicked has come up with a solution that will have you Dancing Through Life. It’s a ticket lottery, and it’s all very Broadway. On any performance night, you can go into the draw to win front row seats at a very affordable price.

How does this lottery work, you ask? Well, two and a half hours before the show begins, just head to the Gershwin Theatre box office and buy yourself a $35 lottery ticket (two per person ­– don’t be greedy).… Read more

22 May

Les Misérables

Posted by in Musicals

Les_Mis cast

Even the people passing by Southbank’s Opera Centre would’ve heard the final notes of Les Misérables ring out from the rehearsal room this morning. It’s just two weeks into preparation, and the cast of the Australian production, standing in choir formation in plain clothes, don’t miss a beat when they starting to perform ‘Do you hear the people sing’ in hushed, urgent tones. With only a piano behind them, the 30-strong group of men and women raise their voices to the rallying chorus of the finale. It’s a spine-tingling wall of sound. Even without the military tattoo drumming in time, for a moment we’re there on the barricades, defying soldiers and clinging onto freedom.

This is our first taste of the new Australian production of British theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s new version of Les Misérables. The world’s longest-running musical has seen several large-scale reinventions in its 29 years, but this one could be the most ambitious yet.… Read more

8 May

Wicked’s tenth anniversary tour

Posted by in Musicals

IMG_1283

When Aussie musical theatre royal Reg Livermore says that he was “frightened” when he first saw the set of Wicked for the upcoming Melbourne production, you know that this Oz-tastic musical isn’t skimping on scale.

If you saw the show when it was here six years ago, then you’ll remember the spindly staircases and steampunk cogs lining the stage and of course, the huge metal-plated dragon looming over the Regent’s proscenium arch.

Here at the media preview, the curtain rises and we’re back in the dorm rooms of Oz’s Shiz University, where oh-so-pretty blonde Glinda and green-skinned Elphaba aren’t too happy about the rooming arrangements. The performance of push-and-pull key-changey duet ‘What is this Feeling’ leaves no question as to the chemistry between the two leads. The plucky chorus isn’t half bad either.

For many die-hard Wicked fans, Perth’s Lucy Durack, who starred in the first Australian production as Glinda is right on par with Broadway’s original good witch Kristen Chenoweth.… Read more

23 April

The Rocky Horror Show

Posted by in Musicals

rock horror 2

You can gauge a musical’s effectiveness by how much you want to start high kicking. As the band strikes up, behind a giant roll of celluloid film atop the Comedy Theatre stage, it’s all this journo can do not to shove the cast out of the way emote through a round of ‘Sweet Transvestite’.

Great sign.

Better leave that to the professionals, though. Today at the media preview it’s young Kiwi stage actor Kristian Lavercombe as Riff Raff who leads the way. He may not have the imposing height of Richard O’Brien’s original in the 1975 movie, but he’s got the vulture-like gait down pat and a wicked screech to go with it. Erika Heynatz is something of an all-rounder performer, having been a model, pop singer, actress and TV presenter. She plays the vampy Magenta, although perhaps a touch too demurely for our liking. More thigh, Erika, more thigh.

On that note, we don’t want to be accused of objectification, but Craig McLachlan’s arse deserves a billing of its own.… Read more

1 April

The search is on for the child stars of Les Misérables

Posted by in Musicals

Les Misérables

If you’ve ever dreamed a dream of seeing your child perform in one of the biggest musicals of all time, then listen up. Auditions for the three lead child roles have just been announced for the Melbourne production of Les Misérables, coming to Her Majesty’s Theatre in June.

For many Les Mis devotees, the 2012 blockbuster film failed to capture the spine-tingling pathos of the live show. If musical nerds were unimpressed by the Hollywood stars chosen to represent iconic characters such as Jean Vanjean, Javert and Fantine, then they breathed a sigh of relief when the Melbourne leads were announced. The adult cast boasts Simon Gleeson (Mamma Mia!, Chess) and Patrice Tipoki (Wicked, The Lion King), and now the hunt is on for three undiscovered budding Broadway stars to play young Cosette, young Eponine and Gavroche.

Auditions are open to any child aged seven to 10 as long as they fit into the very tight height and voice requirements.… Read more

13 March

Once: A New Musical is coming to Melbourne

ONCE1

You’re walking into the Princess Theatre, ticket in hand. But instead of being led to your seat, you’re taken right up onto the stage, handed a beer, and warmly welcomed to a late-night lock-in at an Irish pub by a group of improvising musicians.

This is Once: A New Musical, and it’s one of the biggest new productions coming to Melbourne this year. After its 2012 debut, the musical became an instant blockbuster on Broadway and London’s West End, sweeping up eight Tony awards and a Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album. As of Monday March 17, tickets are on sale for its first-ever Australian season.

Once is based on John Carney’s 2006 film of the same name, and follows the achingly romantic tale of a struggling Dublin busker who finds love and inspiration when he meets an immigrant flower seller. Creating music is central to the story, as the two characters use their art to express love and longing.… Read more

19 November

First look at Chopper the Musical

Time Out Melbourne

L-R: Warren Wills; Les Twentyman; Frank Howson

Casting is soon to commence for the forthcoming Chopper the Musical. Yesterday, songs were aired to the media at the Royal Melbourne Hotel, which (appropriately) conceals an 1850s bluestone cellblock within its walls. The corridor was stuffed with TV crews and lit up with blue stage lights. At the far end of the stretch of cells a stage was set up with a huddle of singers sharing mics.

For this preview’s purposes, comedian Simon Palomares was the face of Chopper, while Mick Pealing (former frontman of ’70s country-rock band Stars) took on the voice of Chopper Read, launching into a song with the refrain “Harden the fuck up, harden…”

The chorus of girls behind him adopted the unlovely timbres of barflies and loose-larynxed addicts. Then there followed a lament from Uncle Chop Chop’s long-suffering lover, again backed by the wailing, hardnosed harridans.… Read more

9 July

Wicked returns to Melbourne in May 2014!

Wicked

It’s the musical that even non-musical people know. It’s launched plenty of Aussie theatre stars’ careers. And we still have ‘Defying Gravity’ stuck in our head. Yep, Wicked the musical is celebrating its 10th anniversary and returning to its original Australian home. The Oz-tastic musical will see Lucy Durack and Jemma Rix returning to their respective starring roles of Glinda and Elphaba, alongside Maggie Kirkpatrick, Steve Danielsen, Glen Hogstrom and Emily Cascarino.

Get on the waitlist now.… Read more