Left - Simon Gleeson. Cover - James Millar & Rosemarie Harris
This newly devised revue, uses the premise that while there are many shows out there that may have had less than successful Broadway runs (some wags may use the term 'flops'), some have produced memorable tunes. Another Opening, Another Show is a showcase for some of these song-writing talents.
The show boldly opens with the title song from one of the most celebrated (and costly 'flops') of recent times, 1988's Carrie the Musical (yes it was based on the infamous horror film, and is currently being workshopped for a tentative revival). Strongly performed by Rosemarie Harris, the audience soon has an idea of what's in store.
Interesting pieces of trivia and information link the songs and sometimes the background histories, such as two separate productions of the same story (The Wild Party) premiering during the same season, and neither one a box office success, to Peter Allen's disastrous attempt at writing (and playing a gangster in) the ill-fated Legs Diamond.
Some terrific moments that stand out include Danielle Matthews with A Quiet Thing (from Flora the Red Menace) to Simon Gleeson's Larger than Life (from My Favourite Year), and James Millar's I Won't Send Roses (from Mack & Mabel).
Musical Director Vicky Jacobs gets in on the act with a brief, but very funny, summary of some of the silliest ideas put together for show/song, starting with Annie 2 and ending with Meatloaf's grandiose effort Dance of the Vampires. While I never had the misfortune of seeing this particular epic, I fondly recall its consistently appalling (but hilarious) reviews. The show became one of the most expensive flops in history.
Sondheim's Assassins gets a look-in with the well staged, and beautifully lit, Gun Song, performed by the ensemble. Simon delivers a wonderful rendition of I'll be There (from The Pirate Queen) and Rosie Harris once again shines with Diary of a Homecoming Queen (from Is there Life after High-school?).
Music theatre lovers should flock to this limited season, and experience glimpses of interesting shows, some of which may never be performed here.
Another Opening, Another Show is lovingly put together by musical theatre practitioners. Director Christopher Parker ensures his performers sparkle, while the simple staging works well with an excellent lighting design.
Manilla Street Productions presents
Another Opening, Another Show
Director Christopher Parker
Venue: Chapel off Chapel | 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Dates/Times: Wednesday 3rd March - Sunday 7th March 2010 at 8pm
Tickets: Adult $35, Concession $25
Information & Bookings: (03) 8290 7000 | www.chapeloffchapel.com.au