My day began with the launch of The Production Company’s 2017 season, this company stages 3 musicals a year, which they have done for the past 19 years, theses productions only have a couple of weeks run, but what its main aims are, is to give the people of Melbourne the chance to see a classic or a show that has never had a commercial run in this country.
It also gives actors, directors, choreographers, set designers, costume designers and stage managers the chance in a lifetime to be part of a major musical, which then often leads them to the big leagues internationally.
These productions are pared back for cost reasons, and with short rehearsal times, but the talent on all leaves is there! This concept is only made possible by the very generous support by the wonderful Jeanne Pratt, who with her Pratt Foundation has given The Production Company the financial support to make this magic happen.
Back to the launch… and Jeanne opens the doors to her home Raheen which is an historic home in Kew , just over the Yarra, it’s incredible just walking through the gates, the gardens, and then the building appears WOW!
Jeanne and her artistic director Ken Mackenzie-Forbes greet you at the front door, then you move into the ballroom, AMAZING.
Ken, introduces Jeanne to the media then she announces the three productions for this season: Hello Dolly, Jesus Christ Superstar and Brigadoon, with outstanding performances from the stars of each show…unbelievable!
I left Raheen on cloud nine.
But my day of musical theatre didn’t finish there, that night was the opening night of “Ladies in Black” the best new Australian musical in years, from the book by Carrolyn Burns, music by Tim Finn (yes, that Tim Finn, from Spilt Enz), and Director, Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert).
I was lucky to see it last year, but it seemed to slip in and out of town, even though it was a sell-out season, but that goodness the Marriner Group have co-produced and are staging this production at their beautiful Regent theatre, I spoke with Jason Marriner on my Sunday Arts Magazine radio program on JOY94.9 about this production and he said that it’s an Australian gem and he just had to support and bring it back to Melbourne.
Just walking through the doors of the Regent theatre is a treat, this theatre is a work of art in itself and to think just 20 odd years ago it was derelict, thank you Marriner Group for saving it. I’m not going to review the show, but I loved it! Wonderful style, as it’s set in a department store, 1959 “ cocktail frock” department and of course all the shop assistance wore black, it’s funny, great songs and some lovely intertwining stories.
So what a day, wonderful architecture, incredible voices, amazing productions…just another day in Melbourne!