upcoming_hot shoe shuffle

hotshoe

I’m absolutely thrilled to be working at Her Majesty’s Theatre as bump-in crew for the upcoming Australian musical Hot Shoe Shuffle.

Originally conceived, directed and produced by David Atkins OAM in 1992 it was choreographed by both Atkins and the now world-renowned tap choreographer Dein Perry. It chronicles the story of seven brothers who are left with a fortune after their father passes away. To receive the money however, the brothers must learn and perform their father’s legendary tap routine, the Hot Shoe Shuffle together – along with their completely dance-challenged sister.

Hot Shoe Shuffle runs throughout August, commencing on August 9. Tickets can be booked through Ticketek here.

debrief_a memory for millie juke

I had a wonderful time working with Your Show on AMT’s performance of A Memory for Millie Juke, shown at the picturesque Barrinja Cultural Centre.

With 10 radio mics and over 60 children (!) to manage across two performances, it was a long and sometimes hectic day. The Australian Musical Theatre school students were proving themselves to already being on their way to being little proto-professionals, with all the kids being very cooperative and listening to and following all my instructions easily and quickly, which made for a few hectic quick changes during the action flow smoothly with little stress.

It was particularly interesting for me having to troubleshoot a few issues with lost signal on mics during the shows – I have to admit I got caught out by the old “accidentally hit the mute switch while fitting the microphone” issue! Thankfully with the help of my lovely Sound Designer, Mack, the issue was sorted quickly (and filed away in my mind so I’ll never do it again!)

Thanks again to Your Show for the opportunity, and congratulations to AMT founders Katie and Keiran on teaching such wonderful skills to the next generation of musical theatre performers!

A Memory for Millie Juke (UK cast)

A Memory for Millie Juke (UK cast)

 

review_the last five years

After falling in love with Jason Robert Brown since my recent involvement in Oxagen’s production of Songs for a New World, I was thrilled to reunite with some of the Oxagen team to see Tall Trees rendition of the JRB cult favorite, The Last Five Years.

The idea of the show is simple enough – two young New Yorkers, Cathy (a struggling musical theatre actress) and Jamie (a bright new author on the verge of huge success) tell the story of their five-year long relationship. However the structure of the show alone was captivating – the stories are told in reverse, with Cathy starting from the devastating break up and working backwards through their story, and Jamie starting from the giddying excitement of their budding romance and moving forward through the fate we, the audience, already know will eventuate. The couple only meet once in the entire show – at their engagement – before spiraling off again on their own paths.

last52

Image courtesy of Tall Trees Productions.


last51

Image courtesy of Tall Trees Productions.

The cast of two, Angela Harding as Cathy and Luigi Lucente as Jamie were absolutely amazing, both completely captivating me with the heartbreaking juxtaposition of hopeful new love, and crushing despair at that love lost – and having to experience it not once, but twice as the stories diverge again.

Sharing the stage with them, almost as the third cast member, was a fantastic six-piece band led by MD Evan Englezos. JRB’s music absolutely blows me away with the incredible emotion and the story he tells within the music itself, and this show was no different. I was a little bit distracted at times by the lighting of the band, feeling it took away a little from the lighting on the action of Cathy / Jamie, but I understand with an intimate venue like Theatre Works placing the band at all was a tricky thing to stage, so in that case I think Tall Trees did well.

I loved the staging concept, with the story played out across Jamie and Cathy’s apartment – stacked with books and their love and life chronicled in photographs above the bed. I would have liked to have seen more made of the photographs – given the clever placement of black and white photos in the foyer prior to the show (instead of flyers or programs, which were available separately), I was disappointed that their only significance during the show was to have a couple taken down and put back up as the story evolved. I understand that the story, as with all of JRB’s musicals, is as much told in the lyrics and music as with any props or staging – but I’ve always been obsessed with the detail in the background (which is what drove me to stage tech’ing in the first place).

The lighting design was simple yet effective, with some great feature lighting in parts standing out. I particularly loved the deep blue wash over the stage as the couple danced to a tune you can’t quite place as either melancholy or romantic, plus a vibrant dynamic changing state as Jamie tells the fantastic story of the old tailor Schmuel, with the lights glowing as warm as the magical clock on Schmuel’s wall.

As Tall Trees’ first production, and my second foray into official JRB fandom, The Last Five Years was a stunning performance both technically and visually. I can’t wait to see what Tall Trees produces next!

For more information on Tall Trees, including to join their mailing list to keep up to date on upcoming productions, please visit their website here.

upcoming_a memory for millie juke

milliejuke

I’m very much looking forward to my next engagement with Your Show, as stage crew and microphone technician for Burrinja Theatre’s A Memory for Millie Juke.

Based on “Millie Story” written by Kathryn Daniels, with excerpts from some well loved musicals, Millie Juke is a well loved musical film star battling the oncoming descent into the mist of Alzheimer’s.

Assisted by her devoted grandchildren, Millie and her family find ways to keep the memories alive.

A Memory for Millie Juke will be shown twice at the Burrinja Theatre, once at 2pm and again at 6.30pm on Saturday 27th July. To purchase tickets, please visit the Burrinja Culture Centre website.

songs for a new world_debrief

Listen to the song that I sing,
Listen to the words in my heart,
Listen to the hope that I bring,
And you’ll start…
To grow….
And shine.”

Oxagen’s Songs for a New World finished with incredible success, with the final night another sell out event. I am absolutely indebted to the Oxagen production team who were so approachable, engaged and genuinely in love with this musical as I am, who made this such a rich experience for me.

Spending production week in the space and walking the stage was a excellent place to learn; being able to experience the creative process between Director Penn Valk and LD Damien Calvert was an invaluable insight into the nature of bringing the vision of the work to life in the physical space.

Being able to assist with light rigging and patching was also a fantastic opportunity to put my skills into use in a new venue, and I was also able to operate a scissor lift professionally for the first time since I received my EWP license – a small thing in the grand scheme of a show, but an exciting first for me nonetheless!

I’d like to sincerely thank the Oxagen Committee and production team for engaging me in the incredible journey that Songs chronicles (and for introducing me to Jason Robert Brown’s works in general!) and sincerely hope to work with Oxagen again in the near future.

songs for a new world_reviews

Feedback for Songs has been overwhelmingly positive, with our first two nights selling out and few tickets remaining for the final two performances.

TheatrePeople has written a glowing review here, giving the show 4 out of 5 stars. With such a limited run, word of mouth travelling fast and closing night upon us all too soon, get your tickets as soon as possible so you don’t miss out!

Director Penn Valk and musical director Rapheal Wong prove themselves a match for Jason Robert Brown’s mini epic. Valk truly digs deep into the heart of the piece with her crisp, compassionate and stylish direction, and my hat goes off to Wong for his incredible achievement in making his cast equal to the phenomenal vocal demands of the score. Also, how nice it is for every singer to articulate so clearly that none of the moving lyrics are missed.

…Valk has wisely decided to keep the stage mostly bare, using only minimal but effective props and costume. The differentiation between the times rely heavily on the lighting and the ever reliable Damien Calvert acquits himself nicely in establishing the mood.

– Darby Turnbull, TheatrePeople

songs for a new world_opening night!

songs

Music & Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Originally produced by the WPA Theatre, New York City, 1995
Original orchestration by Brian Besterman and Jason Robert Brown

By arrangement with Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd, exclusive agent for Music Theatre International (NY)

July 11 – 13 2013
The Open Stage, 757 Swanston Street

Director: Penn Valk
Musical Director: Raphael Wong
Choreographer: Amy Jenkins
Production Co-ordinator: DJ Pearce
Production Co-ordinator: Catherine Worsnop
Stage Manager: Sam Hornstein
Set Designer: Amy Jenkins

PERFORMANCE DATES

Thursday July 11, 8pm
Friday July 12, 8pm
Saturday July 13, 3pm
Saturday July 13, 8pm

TICKET PRICING

Adults                        $30
Concessions & Groups*     $25

* A group rate of $25/person is available for groups of seven (7) or more. Please contact the ticket secretary, Catherine Worsnop (catherine@oxagen.com.au or 0425 854 741) to organise a group booking.

With only a limited number of shows and tickets already almost sold out for Friday’s show, book your tickets quickly here!