In 2011, when The Book of Mormon first opened in New York City, it was a risky bet. It’s notoriously difficult for original shows to survive on Broadway – roughly four out of five shows fail to turn a profit – and a parody of religious fervour, packed with anarchic, puerile humour, written by ‘the South Park guys’, Trey Parker and Matt Stone? Not a sure thing.
One of the most successful musicals to hit Broadway in the last two decades was an adaptation of John Waters' 1988 film Hairspray, which was itself turned into a blockbuster movie starring John Travolta in 2007. Broadway producers tried to replicate that success a few years later with Waters' 1990 movie Cry-Baby.
Main stage and middle range theatre
We could watch Genevieve Lemon read a shopping list and be enthralled, so to see her in this half-forgotten 1950s British domestic drama will undoubted be glorious. Written when playwright Shelagh Delaney was just 19 years old, the play caused a stir with its portrayal of single motherhood, interracial relationships and teen pregnancy when it debuted in 1958.
Neil Armfield brings his directing talents back to the Opera House with a new Australian piece by playwright and Ngarrindjeri man H. Lawrence Sumner. With a superb cast including Jada Alberts and Wayne Blair, this four generational saga set in a coastal Australian town follows archaeologist Simone (Alberts) who, after two long years of searching, has finally discovered her great-grandfather’s bones, jumbled in a dusty box.
Young Australian playwright Kendall Feaver picked up a prestigious European playwriting award for this story charting the relationship between a mother, Renee, and her mentally ill daughter Anna. Anna, now aged 20, wants to try coming off her pills and prescriptions, to find out where her illness ends and her identity begins.
Reg Livermore's new one-man show is created around an ageing actor, clown and raconteur Arthur Kwick, a performer who never made it big. Instead, he’s a jobbing jack-of-all-trades, hosting stag nights and clowning for children’s parties. “He’s right at the end of his so-called career but then he gets an offer that revives his enthusiasm and his imagination,” Livermore explains.
Operas don't come much bigger than Verdi's Aida. Opera Australia has performed Aida before, but the confines of the Sydney Opera House have presented some challenges. This new production will be packed full of spectacle, but much of it will be conjured up through state of the art video technology.
After something a bit less dramatic?
Consider this your hit list for eye-candy and brain fuel.