Only Heaven Knows

Hayes Theatre Co Only Heaven Knows Ben HallFollowing the welcomed announcement of a new 30th anniversary production of Alex Harding’s beloved Australian musical Only Heaven Knows at Hayes Theatre Co later this year, Luckiest Productions is thrilled to reveal their leading actor and hero images.

Rising star of stage and screen and WAAPA graduate Ben Hall, fresh from playing series regular Ned Willis on Neighbours and touring the country in Les Miserables, will play the leading role of Tim, joining a stellar cast including Matthew Backer (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Blazey Best (Miracle City) and Hayden Tee (Les Miserables).

On choosing to use two hero images, producer Lisa Campbell says “One shows our lead character Tim on his arrival in Sydney, full of hope and optimism of the life ahead of him. The second shows Tim getting ready to celebrate New Year’s Eve 1944 at a flamboyant toga party, full of the bacchanalian sexuality and fun that coursed through Kings Cross during the Second World War. Both are integral parts of the production, so it made sense for us to have both images to give a fuller picture of the story.”

Only Heaven Knows is a beloved musical set in the 1940s and 1950s, telling the story of one young man’s discovery of love and life in Sydney. Tim, a teenage playwright, leaves an unsupportive family in Melbourne and arrives amidst the bohemian by-way of Kings Cross in the summer of 1944 where women and gay men are enjoying unparalleled freedoms after five years of war.

Tim soon finds love and a new family in Cliff his ocker lover, Guinea the tough but big-hearted nightclub singer, the flamboyant but sensitive Alan, and proud and fabulous Lana, a poor man’s Robert Helpmann. The Sydney bacchanal soon fades however as the cold winds of intolerance brings in the Menzies era and Tim and his friends must learn to survive hostility in a time before a visible gay community existed.

This production will be a welcome return of the piece to Sydney stages. There have been various productions over the last 30 years, most notably the sell-out season at the Stables, which transferred to the Sydney Opera House in 1995, starring David Campbell as Tim. David’s company Luckiest Productions is behind this new production.

Shaun Rennie returns to Hayes Theatre Co to direct Only Heaven Knows after his highly successful seasons of Rent and You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. Daniel Edmonds will be the Musical Supervisor, swapping the massive musical for the intimate having recently been Musical Director on such extravaganzas as Strictly Ballroom, King Kong and Dream Lover. Tony and Helpmann Award-winning scenic designer Brian Thomson (The King and I, The Boy From Oz, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert the Musical) has joined the creative team as Set Designer.

Having long felt that Only Heaven Knows was an ideal fit for Hayes Theatre Co, I am thrilled to be working with Luckiest Productions to reexamine this classic Australian Musical,” says director, Shaun Rennie. “With it being set in and around the streets of Kings Cross, it is a unique and rare thrill to get to work on a story that is so deeply entrenched in this city we love.”

“At it’s heart Only Heaven Knows is about community and the family we choose. By looking back it reminds of how far we have come, but also forces us to see how far we have yet to go.”

Director: Shaun Rennie Featuring: Matthew Backer, Blazey Best, Ben Hall and Hayden Tee Musical Supervision: Daniel Edmonds Set Design: Brian Thomson Writer and Composer: Alex Harding

Only Heaven Knows
Hayes Theatre Co, 19 Greenknowe Avenue, Potts Point
Season: 26 May – 1 July 2017
Information and Bookings: www.hayestheatre.com.au

Image: Ben Hall as Tim in Only Heaven Knows (supplied)

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