A GRAND WAY TO RING IN THE NEW
This week we get into the Christmas spirit with QPAT, look ahead to what’s on in 2015, and celebrate the best the past year has given us
For all those still wanting a slice of festive cheer, Brisbane’s QPAT is staging Spirit of Christmas tomorrow at 7pm and Saturday at 2pm and 7pm. Guests include soloists Simon Burke ( The Sound of Music, Les Miserables and, more recently, La Cage aux Folles), Christie Whelan-Browne ( The Rocky Horror Show), the QPAC Choir, Brisbane Chorale and the Brisbane Birralee Voices and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Simon Kenway. It’s at the Concert Hall – sounds like a lovely way to celebrate the season. No shows on in local theatres this week, but lots of stuff in rehearsal. The big news on the Coast this week was the Gold Coast Area Theatre Awards, held in style at the Paradise Room, Arts Centre Gold Coast on Tuesday night. Celebrity guests included Simon Gallaher, Sheila Bradley and MC Ian Stenlake. A capacity crowd applauded the winners and everyone had a jolly good time! It’s a great opportunity for what we like to call “the Gold Coast Theatre Community” to get together and compare notes and this year’s shows. Tickets went on sale on the night for a fabulous trip for two to New York as part of Spotlight’s 60th Anniversary Year celebrations. Tickets will continue on sale throughout 2015, and will be available at all performances in the theatre during the year. Some of the local productions for 2015 were unveiled at the Awards show on Tuesday night. GCLT’s program includes Patrick White’s Signal Driver, directed by Noella Johnson; Mike Leigh’s comedy Abigail’s Party, directed by Dawn China; Jerry Herman’s Jerry’s Girls, directed by Yours Truly; Noel Coward’s intimate comedy Private Lives, directed by Roger McKenzie; Jack Hibberd’s Dimboola, directed by Dorothy Henderson; and Roger Hall’s Social Climbers, directed by Helen Maden. Javeenbah is presenting Rupert Holmes’ Accomplice, directed by Nathan Schulz; Woody Allen’s Play it Again Sam, directed by Roger McKenzie (and also elected to the committee of Spotlight); Rabbit Hole directed by Barry Gibson; Hannie Rayson’s Hotel Sorrento, directed by Joan Stalker Brown; Gentlemen Prefer Blondes directed by Amy Louise Anderson; and Holmes for the Holidays directed by Jim Dickson. Spotlight Theatre’s 2015 is firmly planted in its youth membership, with the January pantomime Cinderella followed by Disney’s High School Musical. Marie Nicholson and David McNevin preside over opera La Traviata, then The Wizard of Oz comes in May. July is a contemporary pantomime Dreamland directed by Terri Woodfine, followed by Legally Blonde and, to end the year, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. It’s Spotlight’s 60th anniversary year, which will also be celebrated by a huge cocktail party at the Southport Yacht Club in May. Quite a coup, 60 years of presenting shows – hopefully the local audience members will support this hardworking and innovative group as they celebrate their milestone. At this time of the year, it’s worth looking back over some of the highlights of my theatregoing (outside the local awards). January brought Michael Boyd’s Mystique show at Sea World – a terrific night’s entertainment for someone who doesn’t care for musicians; an excellent professional development workshop run by the Singing Teachers’ Association (featuring Simon Gallaher, Dr Irene Bartlett and Tim O’Connor from Harvest Rain); The Ultimate Vegas Show at Jupiters Hotel & Casino; Helen Reddy in Concert at QPAC; the Adelaide Cabaret Festival featuring so many outstanding Australian performers; Strictly Ballroom in Sydney, a revelation in tulle; and Broadway offerings like Kinky Boots, On The Town, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. Theatre is a constant source of joy, a magical world to escape into for an hour or two ... why wouldn’t you love it! This will be my last column for the year. Thank you to all my readers – those who send info to be published, those who disagree with my statements, those who – like me – are grumpy old women who would like to see a little more etiquette and good manners in our theatres (particularly from the audience). And those who, also like me, would like to find some way to keep cameras and phones out of the theatre. Merry Christmas, and great theatre-going in 2015!
Simon Burke stars in QPAT’s
Spirit of Christmas
musical celebration this weekend.