Australian producers John Frost and Suzanne Jones have announced that Australian superstar Jason Donovan will be joining the cast of the multi-award winning, record breaking musical Chicago this December in Melbourne. Playing the role of the cunning and charismatic lawyer Billy Flynn, this will be the first time Jason has appeared on stage in a musical in Australia.
“I am very excited about coming home to Melbourne this December to play Billy Flynn in a brand new production of Chicago,” said Mr Donovan. It’s a role I’ve always wanted to play since watching my father do such a great job with it back in the early 80s.”
“Quite simply, I’m a massive fan. The music, the story, the choreography, the energy of the piece… just awesome! Possibly one of the greatest musicals of all time. Bring on the Razzle Dazzle at Arts Centre Melbourne this summer!”
Jason Donovan’s over 30 year international career has made him one of Australia’s most successful performers. He was catapulted into homes in Australia and the UK in 1986 when he first appeared on Neighbours starring opposite Kylie Minogue. They soon became Australia’s sweethearts which helped launch their pop music careers here and in Europe.
Jason’s debut album was a platinum selling record in Australia and was the highest selling album in the UK in 1989. Since then he has sold over 13 million albums worldwide and continues to tour with his live shows to adoring audiences.
The multi award winner made his defining musical theatre debut in the lead role of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on the West End in 1991 which also earned him an Olivier Award nomination.
He has since starred in many West End musical theatre productions including Priscilla Queen of The Desert, The Rocky Horror Show, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Annie Get Your Gun and The Sound of Music to name but a few. Jason is currently starring on the West End as the Pharaoh in the new production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
“We are so privileged to have Jason Donovan join the cast in his hometown of Melbourne to be part of the legendary Broadway institution that is Chicago, said Frost and Jones. “Jason has truly shown he is a force on stage with his internationally successful music, TV, acting and stage career.
“We are so thrilled we get to bring him home to star in his very first musical on an Australian stage. He will join a stellar Australian cast who are all sure to bring All That Jazz and more to Melbourne’s Summer Musical.”
Sharing the stage with Jason Donovan in Melbourne in this sassy musical, will be some of Australia’s most talented performers. Starring as the irreverent and determined Roxie Hart, is one of our most versatile entertainers, Natalie Bassingthwaighte and joining her as the empowered and glamorous Velma Kelly is musical theatre star Alinta Chidzey. Much adored Casey Donovan joins the duo as the tough and sassy prison warden Matron ‘Mama’ Morton.
Starring alongside this star studded cast is musical theatre stalwart Rodney Dobson playing Roxie’s charming and vulnerable husband Amos Hart and J. Furtado as gossip hound Mary Sunshine. The wonderful ensemble cast includes Amy Berrisford, Andrew Cook, Todd Dewberry, Samantha Dodemaide, Ben Gillespie, Chaska Halliday, Travis Khan, Hayley Martin, Kristina McNamara, Joe Meldrum, Tom New, Jessica Vellucci, Romina Villafranca, Rachael Ward, Zachary Webster and Mitchell Woodcock.
The Kander & Ebb musical has been seen by over 31 million people worldwide in 36 countries and is the winner of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and a Grammy Award. Chicago continues to play on Broadway and around the world in multiple languages and is the longest running American musical in Broadway and West End history.
Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, Chicago is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer Billy Flynn to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today’s tabloids.
Based on the 1926 play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, Chicago has a legendary book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. The 1996 Broadway revival of Chicago is choreographed by Tony Award winning Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse and is directed by Tony Award winner Walter Bobbie. Chicago features set design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by William Ivey Long, lighting design by Tony Award winner Ken Billington, and sound design by Scott Lehrer.
Whether you’re looking for your first Broadway musical, whether you’ve seen the Academy Award-winning film and want to experience the show live on stage, whether you’ve seen it before and want to recapture the magic or whether you are after a perfect night of pure entertainment, Chicago always delivers.
Chicago the Musical plays the Capitol Theatre, Sydney from 20 August, before playing Lyric Theatre – QPAC, Brisbane from 2 November and the State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne from 14 December 2019. For more information, visit: www.chicagothemusical.com.au for details.
Image: Jason Donovan – photo by Matt Crockett
Note: Tom Burlinson will play the role of Billy Flynn in Sydney and Brisbane seasons of Chicago.