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Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and with still many question marks likely hovering over producers’ heads, saying that things are back to business as usual for Australia’s musical theatre producers would be disingenuous. But, while there will undoubtedly be more shows announced in the coming months (and knowing my luck, there will be a significant announcement the moment this goes live), there are a variety of musicals already confirmed and/or already touring worth being hyped about.
Here are just four of my personal picks, which I will definitely be reviewing when they come to Queensland (or I decide to travel to see shows again).
Moulin Rouge! The Musical
From the creative team at Australian-based Global Creatures, Moulin Rouge! The Musical is the latest of Baz Luhrmann’s feature films to be adapted to the stage – following the downright incredible adaptation of Strictly Ballroom many years ago.
While it doesn’t appear to have the Australian campiness that made SB so amazing all those years ago, what it does have is international accolades… lots and lots of accolades. Based on the Tony Awards in 2020 alone, it walked away with ‘Best Musical’, ‘Best Direction’, ‘Best Choreography’, ‘Best Orchestrations’, ‘Best Scenic Design’, ‘Best Costume Design’, ‘Best Lighting Design’ and ‘Best Sound Design’. Accomplishing all this is amazing to say the least.
Following a surprisingly short (and sold-out) season at the Melbourne Regent Theatre, where it will be returning in August 2023, Moulin Rouge! The Musical will commence a Sydney season from 28 May 2022, with tickets available HERE. No other legs have been announced, but given the more than a year gap between the Sydney and second Melbourne season, I argue it is only a matter of time before seasons in Brisbane, Adelaide and perhaps other states are announced.
9 to 5 the Musical
With its Australian tour well and truly underway and about to conclude its inaugural season in Sydney before heading to Sydney, excitement is imminent! 9 to 5 the musical is a production that musical theatre fans have had to wait a long time for, being confirmed many years ago and having to be cancelled last minute as the COVID-19 pandemic sunk its claws into the worldwide performing arts industry.
But I think what has me most hyped is not the cast of talented Australian performers (Headlined by Marina Prior, Eddie Perfect, Casey Donovan and Erin Clare). Nor is it being based on a popular film that was itself based on the iconic song. Instead, it is the involvement of Dolly Parton, the best definition of a ‘Wonderful Human Being’ who has spread the joy of reading to millions of children around the world, been involved in many philanthropic pursuits over the years and much more. A couple of years ago, when there were discussions about tearing down confederate statues in the United States, it was a popular community suggestion to have statues erected of her instead. Sure that might have been a joke, but really… is it such a bad idea?
Plus, while the musical does feature several songs by Dolly Parton, it appears to be far off from a ‘disco musical’, and has what seems to be an enticing narrative.
9 to 5 the Musical is about to close in Sydney before commencing on a multi-stage Australian tour which includes Brisbane from May (Lyric Theatre, QPAC), Melbourne from July (State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne) and Adelaide from October (Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre). Information on how to book tickets for each venue or to be added to the Adelaide waitlist can be found HERE.
SIX the Musical
Even those with only a rudimentary knowledge of British history would likely know of Henry VIII and his six ill-fated wives. First performed at the Edinburg Festival Fringe in 2017, SIX the Musical has now seen prominence on stages across the world – from West End and Broadway to the ongoing Australian tour, which recently concluded at the Sydney Opera House.
Bringing the historical figures to a modern-day pop culture/concert environment was a stroke of genius from what I have seen, and looks to be an incredible means of delivering a history lesson combined with catchy music (I have listened to the soundtrack so many times), messages of female empowerment, and a run-time leaving it devoid of fluff and getting straight to the point. To say that I am excited for the opportunity to see SIX the Musical for myself finally would be an understatement.
Having recently concluded its season at the Sydney Opera House, SIX the Musical will undertake an extended Australian tour starting with Canberra Theatre Centre a couple of days ago, Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide in May 2022, the Comedy Theatre, Melbourne in June 2022 and subsequent New Zealand and Brisbane seasons. To book tickets or be added to waitlists for any leg in the tour, visit the show’s official website.
Launching at the Sydney Lyric Theatre next month with subsequent seasons yet to be announced (although I would argue they are highly likely to), the winds are changing and blowing Mary Poppins back onto Australian stages once again.
This production is a co-presentation between Disney Theatrical Productions and Michael Cassel Group (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Australia, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Kinky Boots etc), and is the first time that Mary Poppins has received a formal Australian tour since concluding its last one in 2012.
While there have been many local productions (such as this one by TACGC/HOTA in 2016), fans should expect the whole shebang when it comes to the Disney stage magic, and perhaps, even more wonder since it was last performed in 2012. With a talented cast that includes Stefanie Jones, Jack Chambers, Tom Wren, Lucy Maunder and Nancye Hayes, among others, it seems like they have the casting magic down pat.
You can purchase tickets for Mary Poppins at the Sydney Lyric Theatre via the show’s official website. While no Australian tour has been announced, keep an eye out for news in the coming months to see if one eventuates.