On the town

Hayes Theatre Co, May 7 IN February 2012 The New York Times published a short article about Dogfight, which would have its Off-Broadway premiere six months later at Second Stage Theater. This is how Patrick Healy’s report ended: “… Lincoln Center Theater originally commissioned and developed the musical but passed on producing it because the…

Distinctions and evaluations

Les Misérables, Capitol Theatre, Sydney, April 26; Aida, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, Fleet Steps, Sydney, April 27 A COUPLE of years ago I interviewed Stephen Sondheim ahead of the Melbourne season of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and I’m afraid I really didn’t get anything out of him that he…

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo

Hayes Theatre Co, Sydney, February 10. WILLY Russell isn’t a great lyricist and not much more than a journeyman composer but he’s no slouch with a heart-tugging story as his life-affirming plays Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine prove. The 1983 musical Blood Brothers also mines gritty British working-class life, although with a darker purpose. There…

There will not be light

Next to Normal, Doorstep Arts in association with Hayes Theatre Co, Sydney, January 15. Sweet Charity, Sydney Opera House, January 16, 2015 IF there is a choice to be made between darkness and light, musical theatre will tend to go for the latter. It’s just how it is. Indeed, Next to Normal, a musical in…

In which I fail to stop my list at 10

THIS year I saw more than 200 performances and, over the past week or so, have written about the people, plays, operas, dance works and musicals that spoke to me most strongly. Now I cull the list to 14 – just because that’s how it turned out – and a supplementary, the last being something…

Naming names: looking back on 2014

I’VE avoided making neat lists of 10 of this and 10 of that in my survey of 2014, which is good when it comes to the individuals who made the deepest impression on me. I decided not to divide the names by art form or vocation. There are dancers, opera singers, actors, actresses, directors and…

Opera and musical theatre in 2014

MUSICAL theatre in Sydney got a boost in 2014 with the arrival of Hayes Theatre Co. When Darlinghurst Theatre Company won the residency at the lovely new Eternity Playhouse, a group of music-theatre producers collectively known as Independent Music Theatre took over the Darlinghurst’s former premises, a small theatre in Greenknowe Avenue, Potts Point. They…

Two cautionary tales

Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage. Lyric Theatre, Sydney, December 3, 2014 Beyond Desire, By Neil Rutherford and Kieran Drury. Hayes Theatre Co, Sydney, November 26. WHO can tell why a modest little rom-com such as Dirty Dancing wins a passionate and lasting following while others are tossed on to the cinema scrapheap within…

Raise the roof

Hayes Theatre Co, Sydney, October 22 GLORY hallelujah! Miracle City has been resurrected. It is alive and it is well, if a little in need of fine-tuning. An explanation for those not steeped in music-theatre lore: in 1996 Nick Enright and Max Lambert’s show had a short season at Sydney, Theatre Company and it was…

Tragedy, Tragi-comedy and lots of Sondheim

The Glass Menagerie, Belvoir, September 30 Howie the Rookie, Red Line Productions in association with Strange Duck Productions and Sydney Independent Theatre Company, Old Fitzroy Theatre, October 2 Sondheim on Sondheim, Squabbalogic Independent Music Theatre, Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre, October 3 EAMON Flack’s production of The Glass Menagerie for Belvoir is very beautiful; perhaps too…