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.
In adapting the film to musical theatre, UK director John Tiffany (who is also directing the Australian production) felt that he needed to do away with the traditional separation of the band from the actors on stage. As a result, all the actors – including the two romantic leads – play their own instruments.… Read more
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. A few more numbers – all in a ’70s pub blues or alco-disco vein – and it was on to the serious stuff.
Reactions to the proposed musical fall into two camps, we were told: “Why the hell are you doing this pisstake?” and “This is going to be a smash.” But composer Warren Wills reckons Chopper the Musical will be a window into the bigger picture of Australia letting down its maligned communities, particularly the youth.… Read more
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.