Umbrella Events in association with Creative Universe is delighted to present the world premiere season of Driftwood – The Musical at Alexander Theatre, Monash University and Chapel off Chapel, Prahran, this May.
Based on Eva de Jong-Duldig’s critically acclaimed memoir, Driftwood – The Musical tells the inspirational story of the renowned Austrian/Australian sculptor Karl Duldig and his artist/inventor wife, Slawa Horowitz-Duldig.
We follow their romantic and artistic lives in pre-war Vienna, Slawa’s ingenious invention of the foldable umbrella, and an incredible chain of events after miraculously escaping the Holocaust and rebuilding their careers as artists in Melbourne.
A magical story of art and creativity, survival and perseverance, family, freedom and love. It is also the story on of one woman’s ingenuity, invention and adaptability.
This epic story has been adapted for the stage by award-winning playwright Jane Bodie. It features original Music and Arrangements by Anthony Barnhill with Lyrics by Tania de Jong AM and Jane Bodie. Acclaimed director Gary Abrahams (Admissions, YENTL) brings a stellar cast to the stage.
Karl Duldig and Slawa Horowitz-Duldig’s granddaughter, acclaimed Soprano Tania de Jong AM performs the lead role of Slawa.
“The work poignantly explores the loss that families encounter when they are dislocated by war, whilst illuminating an immigrant experience that is uniquely Australian,” said de Jong. “Driftwood captures the universal narrative of seeking safety for yourself and your family, the lingering effects of intergenerational trauma.”
“The plight of refugees during wartime and the themes of loss, escape, migration, internment and resettlement remains relevant today. They are dramatically illustrated through this uplifting true story of survival. I am so inspired to be playing the role of my extraordinarily creative and resilient grandmother.”
Anton Berezin who recently performed with Opera Australia in EVITA and whose theatre credits include Sweeney Todd, Wicked, The Producers, Side Show Alley and How To Succeed in Business, plays the role of Karl.
Playing Slawa’s sister Rella is celebrated jazz songstress and musical cabaret powerhouse Michaela Burger (A Migrant’s Son, Exposing Edith).
Sara Reed whose musical theatre credits include Billy Elliot: The Musical, Jane Banks in Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins and Bielke in Fiddler on the Roof (opposite Anthony Warlow) plays Eva.
Troy Sussman (Aladdin, Les Miserables – Australian and West End productions) plays multiple roles, rounding out the all-Jewish cast.
The production’s Composer and Musical Director, Anthony Barnhill, has conducted performances at renowned opera houses around the world including Berlin State Opera and Sydney Opera House as part of the 2019 international tour of West Side Story (Opera Australia, GWB entertainment, BB group).
His other musical theatre credits include Chicago (GFO), EVITA (OA) and Oklahoma! (The Production Company). Barnhill has recently been named Music Director for Opera Australia’s 2022 season of The Phantom of the Opera.
Selected for the VCE drama list, Driftwood is more than a memoir. It is an inspiration. Eva de Jong-Duldig weaves her remarkable story of escaping the Holocaust and overcoming its ghosts to find the key to freedom.
Director: Gary Abrahams | Featuring: Anton Berezin, Michaela Burger, Tania de Jong AM, Sara Reed, Troy Sussman | Composer / Musical Director: Anthony Barnhill | Designer: Charlotte Lane | Playwright / Lyricist:Jane Bodie | Producer / Lyricist: Tania de Jong AM | Producer: Neil Gooding
Driftwood – The Musical
Alexander Theatre – Monash University, 48 Exhibition Walk, Clayton
Season: 13 – 14 May 2022
Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Season: 18 – 28 May 2022
Image: Slawa Horowitz-Duldig and her sister Rella Horowitz pictured in Austria in 1938 – photo courtesy of Duldig Studio