In the stunning surrounds of Raheen, her historic 19th-century home, a fortunate few eagerly awaited Jeanne Pratt AC stepping up to the podium to announce the shows that would form The Production Company’s 20-year anniversary season.
For inspiration, Simon Gleeson need only have looked outside moments before singing his first few lines because “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” in Melbourne to learn that Rogers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma will be the first of three musicals the Company will produce this year. Joining Simon Gleeson as Curly for will be Anna O’Byrne as Laurey the legendary Robyn Nevin, Elise McCann, Bobby Fox, Ben Mingay and Richard Piper. Revolutionising the American musical, the show won a Pulitzer Prize and set the standard for modern musicals. Directed by Chris Parker, conducted by Guy Simpson and with choreography by Amy Campbell, Oklahoma will play 11 performances at the State Theatre from May 26.
Next up, and featuring many of Peter Allen’s best loved hits, The Boy from Oz also turns 20 this year and it feels fitting that The Production Company brings it back to the stage in 2018. Rohan Browne, takes on the role of Peter Allen, Caroline O’Connor will play Judy Garland and Matthew Manahan Greg Connell. Dazzling, funny and moving, The Boy from OZ is the story of a beloved Australian entertainer and his rise to global stardom as a performer and multi award winning songwriter. Directed by Jason Langley, musical direction by Michael Tyack and choreography by Michael Ralph, this iconic Australian musical will open in Arts Centre Melbourne’s State Theatre on August 11 for a season of 11 performances.
The third and final show is a drop-dead musical comedy about penniless clerk Monty Navarro. Discovering he is ninth in line to be the Earl of Highhurst, bizarrely eight family members, also in line to be Earl, start dying from unnatural causes! A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder ran on Broadway for three years and in 2014 won four Tony Awards including Best Musical. In this Australian premier, Mitchell Butel will star as all eight members of the same family, Chris Ryan will be playing Monty, Amy Lehpamer is Sibella, Genevieve Kingsford, Phoebe and Nancye Hayes, the mysterious Miss Shingle. Roger Hodgeman returns to The Production Company to direct, musical direction will be from Kellie Dickerson and Dana Jolly will choreograph. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder opens in Arts centre Melbourne’s Playhouse Theatre on October 27 for a season of 18 performances.
In reflecting on 20 years of creating extraordinary opportunities for Australian musical theatre makers and performers, Jeanne Pratt AC humbly said she “Couldn’t be more proud.” Since 1999, The Production Company has delivered the best of Broadway and the West End to Melbourne while simultaneously fostering the very best of Australian talent. The posters featuring the three leading men of this 2018 season will make fine additions to the billboard depicting those of two wonderful decades. Congratulations TCP – If the fabulously slick performances delivered in Raheens’ beautiful Ballroom are indicative of what’s to come, then Melbourne has a great year of musical entertainment to look forward to – we will absolutely “See you at the Theatre”
The Production Company 2018 Season
Oklahoma! – 26 May to 3 June
The Boy From Oz – 11 August to 19 August
A Gentleman’s Guide To Love & Murder – 27 October to 11 November