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Melbourne theatre and musicals in November

From mega-musicals to indie plays – we've got you covered for onstage highlights

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Meow Meow Apocalypse Meow Crisis is Born Malthouse 2019
Photograph: Magnus Hastings

This November is a great time for theatre-loving Melburnians, with shows in just about every corner of the city; and just about every entertainment box ticked. Melbourne Theatre Company is donning its dance shoes for Kiss of the Spider Woman, while Malthouse is taking on Christmas with the help of cabaret chanteuse Meow Meow. There's plenty of indie theatre happening in our smallest and most daring venues and some international comedy superstars headed our way.

Scroll on for a full account of what to see where this month on Melbourne's stages.

Recommended: How to get cheap theatre tickets in Melbourne.

Musicals

Caroline O'Connor in Kiss of the Spider Woman
Photograph: Justin Ridler
Theatre, Musicals

Kiss of the Spider Woman

icon-location-pin Southbank Theatre (Melbourne Theatre Company), Southbank
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This musical from Kander and Ebb (the songwriting team behind Cabaret and Chicago) has never before had a professional mainstage production in Australia. This new production stars Australia’s own Broadway and West End star (she played the leading role in Chicago on Broadway), Caroline O’Connor. 

Come from Away 2019 Comedy Theatre
Photograph: Jeff Busby
Theatre, Musicals

Come from Away review

icon-location-pin The Comedy Theatre, Melbourne
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When Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins premiered in 1990, George Bush Sr was in power and the Gulf War was underway. Audiences during war time weren’t really ready for a musical about the dark heart of the American dream, and it closed early. In 2004 it was remounted on Broadway and won four Tonys. Its time had come. Come from Away feels like the reverse: a musical that suits its time, is perhaps even flattered a little by it.

Time Out says

Mainstage and mid-range

Meow Meow Apocalypse Meow Crisis is Born Malthouse 2019
Photograph: Magnus Hastings
Theatre

Apocalypse Meow: Crisis is Born

icon-location-pin Malthouse Theatre, Southbank
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Cabaret chanteuse, and master of pandemonium, Meow Meow stars in this fabulously shambolic show. She’ll come wandering into the Malthouse at each performance looking for room in the Inn. Yes, she’s taking on Christmas. 

Theatre, Drama

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

icon-location-pin Princess Theatre, Melbourne
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The first rule of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is that you don’t talk about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Safeguarding spoilers is an expected responsibility for anyone who attends the Potter-verse’s first on-stage outing. There’s even a hashtag: #KeepTheSecrets. But in truth (as far as theatre critique is concerned, at least), JK Rowling needn’t have worried. 

Time Out says
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Photograph 51 Melbourne Theatre Company 2019 supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre

Photograph 51

icon-location-pin Arts Centre Melbourne, Southbank
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Nicole Kidman starred in the West End premiere of this play by Anna Ziegler about scientist Rosalind Franklin, who played an integral role in the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA but is often overlooked. 

Independent

Exit Strategies Mish Grigor Aphids Arts House 2019 supplied
Photograph: Mick Bello
Theatre

Exit Strategies

icon-location-pin Arts House, North Melbourne
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It’s time to say goodbye to Mish Grigor. Not that her career is over or anything, but her next darkly funny performance piece is all about grand exits. Teaming up with contemporary art organisation Aphids (Lara Thoms and Eugenia Lim), Grigor will perform a series of exits on repeat; she’ll leave the stage, leave the building and maybe even leave the country.

The Year of Magical Thinking fortyfivedownstairs supplied 2019
Photograph: Jodie Hutchinson
Theatre

The Year of Magical Thinking

icon-location-pin fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne
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On January 30 2003, legendary writer Joan Didion’s life changed forever. On Christmas Day, her beloved only daughter, Quintana, had been hospitalised with an unknown and rapidly escalating illness. Then, five days later, after returning from visiting the now-unconscious Quintana, Didion’s husband, the novelist John Gregory Dunne, suffered a massive heart attack and died. 

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Due West Arts Festival Footscray Community Arts Centre supplied 2019
Photograph: James Henry
Art

Due West Arts Festival

icon-location-pin Footscray Community Arts Centre, Footscray
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Melbourne’s west is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country and home to a whole range of vibrant communities and artists making edgy, provocative and inspiring work. That’s why Footscray Community Arts Centre launched Due West Arts Festival last year to celebrate just about every aspect of Melbourne’s west with an eclectic and wide-ranging program of arts and entertainment. 

Opera

Faust Opera Australia 2019
Photograph: Georges Antoni
Theatre

Faust

icon-location-pin Arts Centre Melbourne, Southbank
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This Covent Garden production, by noted Scottish director David McVicar, is finally coming to Melbourne with Teddy Tahu Rhodes as the devil and Maria Mudryak as Marguerite. The opera is gorgeously tuneful and tells the story of Faust, a man who makes an unlikely deal with the devil. 

Turandot Opera Australia 2019
Photograph: Georges Antoni, Simon Rae
Theatre

Turandot

icon-location-pin Arts Centre Melbourne, Southbank
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This Graeme Murphy production of Turandot is one of Opera Australia's great evergreens, having debuted in 1990. It still looks fabulous, driven by dance and and an otherworldly design. Lise Lindstrom will sing the title role opposite Walter Fraccaro as Calaf – who sings Pavarotti’s greatest hit, ‘Nessun Dorma’. 

Comedy and cabaret

Judith Lucy Vs Men Melbourne Comedy Festival 2019
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy

Frocking Hilarious

icon-location-pin The Alex Theatre, St Kilda
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Australia’s leading mistresses of mirth come together on November 23 as part of ActionAid’s annual comedy extravaganza, Frocking Hilarious. Judith Lucy, Claire Hooper, Libbi Gorr, Kirsty Webeck, Annie Louey, Geraldine Hickey, Rose Callaghan, Jude Perl and Gillian English are just some of the female comedians who will hit the stage.

After something a little less dramatic?

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