On the Couch with Joanna Weinberg

Joanna Weinberg oncWho is Joanna Weinberg?
I am a challenge seeker with a restless mind, continually searching , writing songs, inventing new shows, exploring ideas for musicals, chucking them out, beginning a new one. I can’t bear sitting still, doing nothing, I get bored easily. I love workshopping ideas with people and I like to bite off more than I can chew.

What would you do differently to what you do now?   
Spend more money on lingerie. I’m a mother and somehow these things come last.

Who inspires you and why?
In terms of musicals; Sondheim because he is so ruthless with himself in the search for lyrical perfection and because his musical stamp is so unique. Adam Guettel because of his capacity for beauty and the way he enters so totally into the musical world of who and what he is writing about. William Finn because he writes urban contemporary musicals with noisy inner worlds which I can relate to.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I would like to see a government department devoted to promoting creative play in all institutions including itself. How good would that be? Creativity in the public service. A.T.O. the musical? We could transform our happiness level. I believe the arts are woefully underfunded in Australia and that the arts reflect and polish the soul of a country. On a practical level, I work part-time in aged care with dementia patients. Music makes a bright splash in the greyness of their day.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I like to go to places which have deep complex history. I’m not so much into quiet holidays.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
I do love the ferry rides on the harbour , the Opera House and a walk across the bridge to the Rocks markets.

What are you currently reading?
The Signature of all things by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s about plants I think, I’m still at the beginning.

What are you currently listening to?
The news. A source of constant amazement.

Happiness is?
Purpose.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m doing my most recent one woman show again, Baroness Bianka’s Bloodsongs. Directed by Lisa Freshwater, produced by the Theatre Division last year, it got wonderful reviews and I’d like to keep it going. I’ll be at the Camelot Lounge in May with that. After that I have a new piece I’m working on so I’ll keep on till it’s done.

Joanna Weinberg is the co-writer and songwriter of the Australian musical film Goddess, 2013 for which she was nominated for an Australian critics circle award; the composer and writer of Every Single Saturday (the soccer parent musical); and the composer and writer of the musical, Lifeforce which won the pick of the Fringe at the 2013 Sydney Fringe Festival.

Joanna has written and performed ten one woman shows including the critically acclaimed Baroness Bianka’s Bloodsongs which played in September 2014 at the Hayes Theatre in Sydney. She has released four albums of original songs, the most recent of which, The Piano Diaries, has received critical acclaim in the US.

Before emigrating to Australia in 1997, Joanna was a well known actress in South Africa, making world headlines in the historically significant production and subsequent film of Othello, directed by Janet Suzman and available on Amazon.com. She has a large body of film and theatre credits, accessible on imdb.com Outside of theatre and film, Joanna is also the musical director of Choir Rocks in the Rocks in Sydney.

Joanna is currently appearing both as accordion player and actor in Squabbalogic Independent Music Theatre’s production of Man of La Mancha at the Seymour Centre from 25 February 2015. For more information, visit: www.seymourcentre.com or www.squabbalogic.com.au for details.

Image: Joanna Weinberg

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