Look sharp, triple threats! Sydney is a hotbed for showstoppers, with major musicals passing through our theatres every month, including both homegrown gems and large-scale spectacle from Broadway and the West End. These are all the biggest shows that are either currently playing or coming our way in the next year or so – from Disney's latest blockbuster to the long-awaited Australian premiere of Hamilton.
This event has been cancelled due to the government ban on mass gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic STATEMENT "Sadly, the intimacy and immediacy of a performance at Hayes is incompatible with social distancing recommendations and the health and wellbeing of our performers, staff and patrons has to be of the upmost priority right now. We’re devastated by the impact being felt right across the creative community and the loss of opportunity for our incredible artists. Making art is hard; this goes far beyond that.We’re not stopping working at Hayes. We’ll be putting our energy and resources into creative development and when the time comes to welcome audiences back, we promise to have wonders in store for you.If you have tickets to any of the three productions, a member of our box office team will be in touch to organise a full refund (including booking fee). We’d like to ask that you consider converting the value of your tickets to a tax-deductible donation to Hayes, if it’s within your means. Support from individuals is a huge part of our income and the only way we can put our musicals onstage. To lose that support as well as our box office income for the next three months would be a terrible blow to the company and our future productions." REVIEW Musical theatre is a great fit for a love story. Romance opens itself up easily to music. Scenes and scenery fly away in whirlwinds of revelations and suddenly you’re lost in song. The Bridges of Madison County, now open at the
There are few shows that have made as big an imprint on the landscape of musical theatre as Michael Bennett’s 1975 masterpiece about a group of hopeful dancers auditioning for a role on Broadway. He famously created the show by interviewing real-life dancers, who spilled some extraordinary stories which made it into the show. It went on to pick up a Pulitzer Prize and an astonishing ten Tony Awards, beating Chicago to the Best Musical gong. Now the musical which spawned ‘What I Did For Love’ is getting a rethink thanks to choreographer Amy Campbell, who is finally making her directorial debut at Darlinghurst Theatre Company. She’s assembled a fabulous ensemble cast of triple threats led by Tim Draxl and Angelique Cassimatis, who'll perform this new production in the intimacy of Darlinghurst Theatre Company's Eternity Playhouse. Campbell says the space will make the 20 dancers feel like 100 as they perform her new choreography. "You’ll feel their sweat, pain and joy in every row," she says. "You’ll be up close and intimate with these characters who, by their very nature, expose all their vulnerabilities and talent for the chance to be seen and heard. The physical energy is going to be electric."
PLEASE NOTE: on March 20, 2020, the producers of 9 to 5 the Musical announced that the Australian seasons will be postponed due to COVID-19. New dates are yet to be announced at this stage. Tumble out of bed and stumble to the theatre: Dolly Parton's stage version of hit 1980 comedy 9 to 5 is making its Australian debut in April 2020 at the Sydney Lyric Theatre. The musical features an entire score of Dolly songs, including the landmark title track '9 to 5', and follows the plot of the film pretty closely: workmates Doralee (played by Parton in the film), Violet (originally Lily Tomlin) and Judy (Jane Fonda) have been pushed to the edge by a narcissistic boss. So they hatch an elaborate plan to extract their revenge, and hilarity ensues. The book is by Patricia Resnick, who penned the film. The show opened on Broadway in 2009 and wasn't an enormous hit. But when it was reimagined for London's West End earlier this year, it became an immediate smash, scoring rave reviews and extending its run multiple times. That's the production Sydney audiences will get to see.
If you've seen the Pitch Perfect movies, you already know how impressive and entertaining a capella (vocal music without any instruments) can be. This theatre show, like the films, combines comedy with unbelievable music made entirely with people's mouths. The premise is this: singing aliens from the planet Voca have crash-landed on Earth, and need to refuel their spaceship with our songs. What ensues is a crash course through humanity's musical history, from Mozart to Madonna and Bruno Mars, with chuckles and crowd participation along the way. The Israel-based ensemble has already toured 44 countries and racked up 80 million YouTube views with its amazing vocal arrangements. The range of sounds the six singers and two beatboxers are able to produce is staggering, and their setlist is a crowdpleasing mix of old and new music that makes this a show suited to audience members of all ages. Have a peek at their jaw-dropping skills here. The Vocas will play just one show (apparently that's enough gas to get them to Melbourne) at the State Theatre on May 1; tickets are available now.
After picking up nine Sydney Theatre Awards, this bold and provocative production is returning to Sydney. Alexander Berlage's staging premiered at Hayes Theatre Co in May 2019, and will have its return season at the Sydney Opera House in June 2020. Ben Gerrard will reprise his role as Patrick Bateman alongside a company of new and returning cast members. American Psycho, written by Bret Easton Ellis (“the thinking man’s shock jock”) is brutal. A once-banned novel that now has some currency as a social satire, it’s the story of Patrick Bateman, an investment banker dripping in designer gear and the blood of his victims. Yes, his life is so empty that he gets his kick from brutal murder. His targets are largely women and their deaths are sickening, but the male business rival who has a better business card and the coveted Fisher account could also be getting the actual axe. If you remember Bateman, you’re more likely to do so because of the 2000 film, written by queer actor and writer Guinevere Turner and directed by Mary Harron. The two massaged the empty cruelty of the novel into commentary on toxic masculinity while skewering Ellis’s clearer targets: American excess, narcissism and greed. The sharpened satire of the film and the dreamy, near-mastubatory effect of the book collide in American Psycho The Musical, which had a successful run in London before bombing on Broadway. Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and with songs by Duncan Sheik, the show struggled to find itself.
Legendary songwriter Jim Steinman is best known for writing Meat Loaf's biggest hits, including every track on his best-selling album Bat Out of Hell, but for his entire life Steinman has been working on various iterations of a musical based around his own songs. Bat Out of Hell is the most recent and most successful of his stage endeavours and features songs from all three Bat Out of Hell albums, including 'You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth', 'Bat Out of Hell', 'I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)', 'Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad', and 'It's All Coming Back to Me Now'. After successful seasons in London and New York, the musical will have its Australian premiere as a large-scale arena rock musical. You can expect plenty of spectacle, with a dazzling light show, special effects and plenty of fire. The post-apocalyptic musical is a loose retelling of Peter Pan, set in a futuristic city which used to be known as Manhattan. The forever young Strat, the leader of 'The Lost', falls in love with Raven, the daughter of a tyrannical leader. Bat Out of Hell will have its Australian premiere at Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena on June 4 before touring to Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Tickets go on sale December 6 at noon.
Here's an announcement for every Elsa and Anna in Australia: the Broadway musical based on Disney's hit movie Frozen will have its Australian premiere in July 2020 at the Capitol Theatre. The musical premiered on Broadway in March 2018 and features all the characters and songs from the movie – plus a few new tunes by the songwriters behind the film (Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez). And what makes this announcement really exciting? Sydney will be the first place Frozen is seen outside of Broadway; not even the West End has it yet! The show has been selling brilliantly on Broadway, but the reviews haven't been as ecstatic as Disney might have hoped. But hell, the chance to hear somebody belt the bejesus out of 'Let it Go' while an entire icy castle materialises around them is always enough to make us part with our hard-earned cash and buy a ticket. Time Out New York wrote, in a three-star review: "This Frozen is like Elsa in protective gloves; it plays things safe, and perhaps that will be enough for fans of the movie who want to see some version of it on Broadway. But in its reluctance to embrace its own potential enchantments, the show will likely leave many people lukewarm." The Australian cast has yet to be announced, but tickets are now on sale.
For so long, depictions of young queer lives focused predominantly on the coming-out narrative, often wrapped up with trauma. It's a refreshing sign of rapidly changing times that we're starting to see what happens next, plus a whole heap more joy. Which is why we're hyped that Sydney Opera House has fired the glitter cannons, announcing the Australian premiere of gloriously upbeat West End hit musical Everyone's Talking About Jamie, which opens this July. Based on a true story, rising star James Majoos (Fan Girls) plays our titular hero, a sweet-sixteen, working-class Northern English schoolboy. Already out and proud, he has the invaluable backing of his supportive single mum (Helen Dallimore, Legally Blonde The Musical) and loyal bestie Pritti, (Shubshri Kandiah, Aladdin). Instead of coming out of the closet, he's diving headlong into one – packed with the dazzling array of glitzy looks required of a would-be drag star, tutored by fabulous mentor Hugo, aka Loco Chanelle, as played by beloved star Simon Burke AO (Mary Stuart). There is a whipsmart book and lyrics by BAFTA and Olivier Award-nominated screenwriter and playwright Tom MacRae and brilliant hip-hop choreography from Kate Prince, but it's not all sequins and boas; there's dramatic tension too, care of Jamie's AWOL father. However mostly, it's heart-warming stuff not unlike big-screen hit Love, Simon by way of Billy Elliot and Kinky Boots. In other words, it's a show that's unashamedly heaps of fun, with a seriously
Come from Away is set to open at Sydney's State Theatre in August after wrapping a massively successful run in Melbourne throughout 2019 and early 2020. The musical has been a bit of an unexpected hit in North America, set in a small Canadian town in the days following the September 11 attacks. Written by Canadians Irene Sankoff and David Hein, it tells the true story of Gander, where 38 international flights carrying 7,000 passengers were forced to land, effectively doubling the population of the town with stranded passengers for several days. The vibrant score has Celtic flavours, and the show's cast recording was nominated for a Grammy Award. The musical started out with a 2013 Ontario production, and then went on to tour the US before landing on Broadway in early 2017. It was nominated for seven Tony Awards last year and picked up the award for Best Direction of a Musical for Broadway veteran Christopher Ashley, who'll be overseeing the local production.
Australian musical theatre fans have been waiting for several years to see Fun Home, a deeply moving Tony Award-winning musical about a young woman discovering her sexuality and grappling with a difficult relationship with her father. She’s played by three actors at different stages of her life. “It comes from the world of Alison Bechdel, who is such an extraordinary graphic novelist and a feminist pioneer in terms of thinking about how we construct narratives and character,” Sydney Theatre Company artistic director Kip Williams says. Jeanine Tesori’s sweeping score and Lisa Kron’s book and lyrics have been lavished with praise – when Fun Home opened on the West End in 2017, Time Out London declared it the best new musical they’d seen since Hamilton – and the pair became the first female team to win the Tony for Best Original Score. “One of the things that’s so exciting about this production – aside from Dean Bryant directing it, who is one of the great musical theatre directors who we’re lucky enough to have in Australia – is this cast,” Williams says. “Having Lisa McCune back on our stages, but also having Maggie McKenna, our Muriel, back on our stages too, playing the college-aged Alison.” The cast also includes Ryan Gonzalez, Lucy Maunder, Adam Murphy and Chloe Zuel.
Opera Australia has a long history of bringing classic musicals to local audiences, but generally they've been faithful and traditional productions (and in some cases literally 60-year-old productions). But Opera Australia is doing something a little different as part of its 2020 season: Fiddler on the Roof performed entirely in Yiddish. Don't worry, there'll still be English surtitles to guide you through, but this production goes for authenticity above all else. Directed by Oscar and Tony winner Joel Grey (still known best for playing the Emcee in Cabaret), it premiered in New York last year to rave reviews and is enjoyed a return season due to popular demand. Casting is still to be confirmed for the Australian production, which will play the Sydney Opera House's Joan Sutherland Theatre from September 3.
Recently announced shows
Sydney: are you ready to be in the room where it happens? By “it”, we mean Lin-Manuel Miranda’s record-smashing hip hop musical Hamilton, which is officially heading our way.
Praise the musical theatre gods: three massive shows have just been announced for Sydney over the next two years. That means it’s time for local musical nerds to start saving up their pennies.