THEATRE: COMING IN 2019
Whether it’s disco fever, Muriel Heslop, or chocolate manufacturing, there’s something for everyone in theatres in 2019. And plenty of gay stuff, too.
off the New Year in Melbourne is the much-anticipated Harry Potter And The Cursed Child Parts 1 And 2. What’s unique about this production is that it’s viewed in two parts – matinee and evening, or over two days. The cast of 42 performers includes Gareth Reeves is Harry.
Opening the New Year in Sydney is the Aussie premiere of Roald Dahl’s Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. Paul Slade Smith plays Willy Wonka, with Tony Sheldon as Grandpa Joe and Lucy Maunder as Mrs Bucket.
Big touring productions in 2019 include Jersey Boys, School Of Rock, Saturday Night Fever, Muriel’s Wedding and Billy Elliot, celebrating its tenth anniversary.
Handa Opera will perform an outdoor version of West Side Story on a pontoon in Sydney Harbour.
The eagerly awaited Broadway production of Come From Away will premiere in Melbourne. This musical tells the true story of the stranded airline passengers resulting from the 9/11 flight lockdown, and the tiny town in Canada that played host.
Everyone’s favourite Hogwarts teacher, Miriam Margolyes stars in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s The Lady In The Van by Alan Bennett. Maggie Smith played the lead role in London and Margolyes will bring her own pith and poignancy to the homeless heroine.
The Sydney Theatre Company will revive Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof with Hugo Weaving, Pamela Rabe and Zahra Newman as Maggie “the Cat”. Who’ll play the repressed homosexual, Brick, made famous by Paul Newman in the 1958 film, is yet to be announced.
Sydney’s small but renowned Hayes Theatre has a busy 2019 planned with Monty Python’s Spamalot, and American Psycho: The Musical starring Ben Gerrard.
Brisbane’s QPAC will present Arthur Miller’s classic, Death Of A Salesmen with Peter Kowitz as Willy Loman, and a unique adaptation of the classic Aussie film, Storm Boy with some masterful puppetry bringing Mr Percival the pelican to life.
The Black Swan Theatre in Perth is presenting Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer prizewinning drama Our Town. It brings to life the fictional town of Grover’s Corner, but in a special twist the characters are played by real their life counterparts – a teacher plays a teacher, an undertaker an undertaker, a policeman a policeman, etc.
On London’s West End this year, look out for Coming Clean, which delves into the polygamous lives of Tony and Greg, thrown into chaos with the arrival of drop-dead gorgeous Robert. Another to look out for is Everybody’s Talking About Jamie which, based on a true story, features Jamie New, gay and 16, living on a Sheffield council estate and about to become an entertainment sensation. While Tina: The Musical continues to rock the West End, 9 To 5 The Musical is set to bring the corporate lives of Doralee, Violet and Judy
Coming Clean looks at the polygamous lives of Tony and Greg, thrown into chaos by dropdead gorgeous Robert.”
to the stage with a score written by, of course, Dolly Parton.
Also opening in London is Leave To Remain, written by Block Party’s Kele Okereke. It tells the story of a young gay couple facing an uncertain future in the age of Brexit and features a score of West-African electronic dance music. Could it be the next Hamilton? The track Not The Drugs Talking has already enjoyed chart success. And for something outside of the square, Six features the six wives of Henry VIII who, through music, sing their tumultuous stories of divorce and beheadings. This is a modern girl power twist on Tudor England.
Also worth catching is a new production of Matthew Bourne’s ever-popular all-male Swan Lake. This Olivia and Tony Award-winning re-imagining of the classic production replaces the female corps-de-ballet with a menacing male ensemble. It’s very easy on the eye!
Get in quick if you want to catch The Inheritance, directed by Stephen Daldry, which spans different lifetimes of gay men and the legacy left from previous generations. Playing in two parts, it includes Vanessa Redgrave in the cast, and must close 19 January.
The new “big” thing on Broadway is our very own King Kong, which premiered in Melbourne back in 2013. It’s been re-vamped with songs by Eddie Perfect, who also wrote the score to the new film adaptation of Beetlejuice.
Also leaping from screen to stage is Tootsie with Santino Fontana in the role of Michael/ Dorothy, and Moulin Rouge! with Karen Olivo as Satine. Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song is back with hotties Michael Urie and Ward Horton, with Mercedes Ruehl in the role of Mrs Beckoff.
Big names appearing on Broadway this year include Daniel Radcliffe in the Lifespan Of A Fact, Bryan Cranston in Network, Ethan Hawke in True West and Glenda Jackson in King Lear. One surprise is Snoop Dogg, making his theatrical debut in Redemption Of A Dogg, celebrating the 25th anniversary of his debut album, Doggystyle. John Lithgow and Laurie Metcalf star in Hillary And Clinton.
Another musical gaining great momentum is Prom, which tells the story of a gay student not permitted to bring her girlfriend to the school prom. It’s an emotional trip in a face-off with small town bigotry, and an ending that according to Variety makes you, “think your heart is about to burst!”
Now that’s good theatre!
Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
Come From Away.
Ben Gerrard in American Psycho.
Miriam Margolyes in Lady In The Van.
Harry Potter And The Cursed Child.
Remain To Leave’s Kele Okereke.