Theatre

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Suddenly successful

Making a Difference, a single from the new musical Suddenly Single by Brisbane's Peter Pinne and Paul Dellit, is for sale at Middle 8 Music. It features vocals by tenor Greg Moore. Surely a premiere production of the show itself can't be far away? Of course, if Brisbane had more than the one suitable venue (which is now closed for renovations), such a thing might be possible in the work's home state...

Farewell, Harold Pinter

The great British plawyright, director and screenwriter Harold Pinter has succumbed to cancer at the age of 78. More here.

The other Queen's speech

A clever marketing ploy by the producers of the upcoming London production of Priscilla musical and their sponsors:

La Boite: Thinking outside the box

Along, I assume, with hundreds of others, I have received an email from David Berthold, the new artistic director of Brisbane's La Boite theatre. Amid other news, and promises of good things to come, it mentions that, as a result of the loss of the company's Australia Council triennial funding, one production scheduled for next year, Debra Oswald’s The Peach Season, won't go ahead. It is to be replaced by a smaller "but not slighter" play to be announced on January 29. I feel for Berthold, who has only been in the chair for a month, but I can't help thinking that the La Boite board has badly mishandled the replacement process for his predecessor, Sean Mee. The company has been well and truly beaten to the pre-Christmas discretionary arts dollar by other companies which announced their 2009 seasons at the usual time. Now, with the deepening recession (which, admittedly, the board could not have foreseen), Berthold really is going to have to pull a few rabbits out of his artistic hat - and hope that a lot of people respond to his email's call for donations. If you've got something left to give, click here.

Star Wars, the musical

How rich does George Lucas want to be? Very very rich apparently, because he's now putting Star Wars on the stage. The Star Wars "musical", featuring the London Philharmonic Orchestra, will tell the story of all six films in just two hours, with narrators linking the iconic (and "painstakingly rewritten") music of John Williams. More here. It's opening in London, a European tour will follow, and I'm sure it will be in a galaxy not so far, far away sometime soon. It'll make a fortune. If I was running an Australian orchestra, I'd be chasing the rights right now.

Another serving of Felafel

He Died with A Felafel in his Hand is making a comeback - but not to La Boite, where the comedy based on John Birmingham's novel has had two hilarious seasons. Instead, it will be at the Brisbane Arts Theatre, which has been facing something of a financial crisis in recent times. The idea is to try to attract a younger audience. It runs from March 27 to May 2. Details are, or will be, here.

Clowning around

One reason to see Cirque du Soleil's Dralion? It stars one of my favourite Brisbane actors, Hayden Spencer, as a clown. Spencer follows in the big footsteps of Queenslander Stephen Bishop, who appeared in Cirque's Varekai. More here.

Circus of the stars

As reality television has taught us, the definition of "celebrity" can be fairly loose at times. Here's a list of the "names" who will be attending the official op-ening of Cirque du Soleil's Dralion in Brisbane on Thursday night:

Some of the VIPs attending the premiere event include Mick Doohan; Wayne Grady; Craig Lowndes; Australian Kangaroos Captain Darren Lockyer; The Veronicas’ Jess Origlasso; Gold medal diver Matthew Helm; Olympic medalist Sam Riley; The Grates’ Patience Hodgson and John Patterson; Powerfinger’s Ian Haug, John Coghill; Brisbane musical royalty, Katie Noonan and Maggie Noonan; legendary didgeridoo player William Barton; Brisbane Lions players Simon Black, Clarke Keating, Beau McDonald, Jarrod Molloy, Luke Power and outgoing coach Leigh Matthews; Brisbane Broncos’ Corey Parker and former great Shane Webke; Australian rugby greats Tim Horan, Tony Shaw and Chris Handy; iconic fashion designers Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson from Easton Pearson; Project Runway Runner-Up, fashion designer Leigh Buchanan; Lisa and Grant Curry-Kenny; Tania Zaetta; political and business leaders, television and radio stars….. and Warwick Capper

PS: The media release failed to mention that this will be the first Cirque opening in many years without me.

Alas, poor Andre

Doctor Who star David Tennant has belatedly granted a dead man's wish - by using his skull as Yorick's in a new stage production of Hamlet. Polish pianist and Holocaust survivor Andre Tchaikowsky, who died of cancer aged 46 in 1982, had bequeathed his skull to the Royal Shakespeare Company in anticipation that it would be used in the famous graveyard scene. Of course, he would never have heard of Tennant, who has only shot to fame recently. More here.

The show goes on

The secret to success in showbusiness is timing. Thus, the Cirque du Soleil folks must be pleased that they have only just arrived in Brisbane and are pitching their grand chapiteau (enormous tent) after the huge storms. Dralion opens on November 27.

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