Turning 21 is a milestone in anyone’s book, and Melbourne’s Production Company is justly proud of its achievements as it enters its 21st year. Jeanne Pratt AC, chairman of The Production Company, marked the occasion with a garden party at her home in Kew which included an introduction to some highlights of the offerings for 2019. Julie Houghton, Classic Melbourne’s Music Theatre Editor, was on the guest list for a sneak preview and reported back enthusiastically…
The 2019 season could be described as eclectic, with a tried and true classic musical, a newer groundbreaking Broadway hit and a contemporary rock musical. Something for everyone, perhaps?
Kicking off the season on May 18 at the Playhouse is Lazarus, the musical penned by rock star David Bowie and Enda Walsh, based on the book The Man Who Fell to Earth. With an intriguing storyline about an alien stuck on earth who can’t die, the dramatic possibilities are impressive, and the musical features many of Bowie’s hits – in fact, Lazarus was Bowie’s final project and was first staged in New York in 2015. With a rock band accompaniment, Lazarus should appeal to the younger generation of theatregoers and of course the many David Bowie fans. The cast includes Iota, Emily Milledge, Phoebe Panaretos and Mike McLeish, all directed by former head of the Malthouse, Michael Kantor, with musical direction by Jethro Woodward.
Jumping ahead to winter, Thoroughly Modern Millie takes over the State Theatre from August 3. It’s a feel-good musical set in the roaring 20s that has memorable tunes and is sure to attract a crowd. An excellent choice to get Melburnians to leave their cosy homes in winter and come to the theatre. Newcomer Annie Aitken as Millie has incredible vocal chops and stage charisma to burn. In the character role of Mrs Meers is crowd favourite Marina Prior, with Evita star Michael Falzon as Trevor Grayden, and Claire Lyon as Dorothy Brown. Direction is by Chris Parker, and Production Company stalwart Peter Casey is at the helm of the orchestra.
The final offering is one to excite every musical theatre buff – the Australian premiere of Ragtime, a Broadway hit set in the early 20th century that follows three distinct groups of people in their goals of finding a wonderful new life in America. The music from Ragtime is spectacular, and The Production Company has assembled some top music theatre names in Josh Piterman, Evita’s Kurt Kansley and Chloe Zuel. One of Australia’s best directors, former Melbourne Theatre Company head Roger Hodgman, is directing, which should guarantee a fine show. It’s at the State Theatre from November 2.
See you at the theatre!
Head to artscentremelbourne.com.au for bookings and all details.