FROST’S WICKED WIZARD
Gold Coast musical favourite Simon Gallaher lands a plum role in WICKED but that’s not the only excitement on stage planned for 2015
Leading Australian theatre producer John Frost today announced that the role of the Wizard for the Brisbane and Perth seasons of the Broadway musical WICKED will be played by much-loved musical theatre star Simon Gallaher. Since he first trod the musical theatre stage in 1984 in The Pirates of Penzance, Gallaher has starred in numerous productions including Hello Dolly, The Student Prince, My Fair Lady, The Mikado, HMS Pinafore, The Merry Widow, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum and most recently Hairspray and Spamalot in Brisbane. As well as being a leading star of musical theatre, Simon is an award-winning TV star, concert performer, musician, pianist, songwriter and theatrical producer. WICKED plays at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC from February 12. We were lucky enough to catch a Christmas week performance of Australian Outback Spectacular’s new show High Country Legends. Presented by R.M. Williams, a legend is born as entertainment soars to fresh new heights with the introduction of this stunning show. In the multi-milliondollar production, guests experience a captivating journey to the snow-peaked mountains of the high country where enchanted whispers and legendary yarns come alive. As always, the night is filled with Australiana of the best sort; the singer on the back of the dray, the big hats, the excellent dinner – served brilliantly by efficient and totally professional wait staff. The hitech lighting, spectacular sound and music by Lee Kernaghan, Christine Anu with a new musical score by John Foreman makes for a breathtaking slice of Aussie outback life every time. Yours Truly, every time, is moved to tears by the skill of the horsemen and women, particularly the finale with the Driza-Bone coats and the Aussie flags. It’s a winner. For more information visit outbackspectacular.com.au or call 13 33 86. First show off the grid in 2015 is Ballina Players’ Alice in Wonderland opening January 16 and running until the 31st. In the 160th year since its publication, Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic comes to life once again. Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr is based on the 1951 animated film, and it tells the story of an unflappable young heroine who takes a tumble down an enchanted rabbit hole to an off-kilter world where nothing is as it seems. Audiences are invited to join her on her journey. The junior production is a 60minute version perfect for young performers and audiences. Ballina Players is one of the oldest continually operating amateur theatre groups in Australia and Alice in Wonderland is its first production in its 60th year. Directed by Geoff Marsh with musical director Max Foggon, it will be staged at the Players Theatre until January 25. Book online at ballinaplayers.com.au or at Just Funkin Music, 6686 2440 where a booking fee will apply. Next up is Javeenbah Theatre’s Accomplice, by Rupert Holmes, directed by Nathan Schulz. We can’t say too much about this one without giving stuff away, but basically it begins as a conventional English thriller set in a country house in the 1970s, where a wife and her lover plan to murder her stuffy husband. The husband is subsequently murdered ... but then reappears. The comedythriller originally starred Jason Alexander ( Seinfeld) and Michael McKean ( This is Spinal Tap). This one is for a mature audience as it contains a lowlevel sex scene, partial nudity, mature adult themes, smoking, drinking, loud noises … and plenty of concentration. Season runs from January 16 to 31. Call 5596 0300 or visit javeenbah.org.au for tickets. GCLT’s first offering for the New Year is Signal Driver, directed by Noella Johnson. A static set was created by Ian White (son of the recently late Billie White). This clever little Patrick White play has a sterling cast including Noel Thompson, Jacki Simmonds, Shane Caddaye and Jann Alcorn. The show opens on January 24 and runs only until February 7. GCLT have an issue with their online booking system at present – book instead on 5532 2096. GCLT’s second show is Abigail’s Party, directed by Dawn China. The opening date is March 13, and the cast have been in rehearsal for a month already! My show, Jerry’s Girls, goes on in May/June. We don’t even audition until February 21. Nice to hear that local set designer and long-time TV worker Glenn T has scored 14 weeks’ work on Pirates of the Caribbean, doing something clever with costumes …. Let’s hope the love (and work) is spread evenly throughout the GC entertainment community when the time is right. Yours Truly will take a couple of her own badgers to the opening night of The Wind in the Willows at La Boite’s Roundhouse Theatre on January 8. This classic tale will be performed by Play School’s Luke Carroll and have a limited season. Lots of stuff coming up this year – watch this space. The Gold Coast is certainly the place to be for theatre in 2015.
Australian Outback Spectacular’s new show
High Country Legends
is not to be missed.