New musical BLOOM set for world premiere

MTC-Bloom-Frankie-J.-Holden-Vidya-Makan-and-Anne-EdmondsMelbourne Theatre Company’s new Australian musical, Bloom, is heading into its final week of rehearsals ahead of its first preview audience at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse on Tuesday 18 July 2023.

From Tom Gleisner (Working Dog) the co-creator behind some of Australia’s most beloved films (The Castle, The Dish) and TV shows (Utopia, Have You Been Paying Attention?), in collaboration with singer, actor and composer Katie Weston, Bloom is a new authentically Australian big-hearted musical comedy that celebrates the power music has to connect us across generations.

Directed by Dean Bryant, and dripping with Aussie satire and humour, Bloom sees comedian Anne Edmonds star alongside Vidya Makan, Frankie J. Holden, Evelyn Krape, Maria Mercedes, Eddie Muliaumaseali’i, John O’May, Christina O’Neill, Jackie Rees and Slone Sudiro.

Reflecting on the show’s origins, Gleisner commented, “Bloom was inspired by a news story I read about an aged care home in the Netherlands that was offering local uni students free board in return for them helping out as carers.” I remember thinking “that could make the basis for either a Royal Commission or an excellent musical”. I went with the musical!

“Katie and I first met on a Wednesday in August 2019. We started writing together a few weeks later. Over the next few years, I would send Katie lyrics and she would – quite miraculously to me – somehow turn them into fully formed songs. In all that time we have only had one fight. She refused to let me add a syllable to a certain line in one of our musical numbers. But we’re still talking.”

“Having written mainly for film and television, creating a musical has been quite a steep learning curve. I think my first draft of Bloom had close to thirty people in the cast. And a car chase. But after several workshops, multiple re-writes, and a lot of generous advice from people far more experienced than I, the show we now have has taken shape,” said Gleisner.

Bloom tells the story of Finn Bailey, whose arrival at Pine Grove, an aged care home run by the cunning Mrs. MacIntyre (Anne Edmonds), sets off a chain of events that intertwine romance, rebellion, and a remarkable residents’ choir.

As Finn (Slone Sudiro) clashes with the hardworking carer Ruby (Vidya Makan), the duo’s journey becomes a testament to the unexpected lessons and connections that can bloom when people from different walks of life come together.

Speaking to Bloom’s ability to turn one of the nation’s recent – and ongoing – failures into story with vision of hope and possibility, Melbourne Theatre Company’s Artistic Director and Co-CEO Anne-Louise Sarks said:

Bloom spectacularly holds a mirror to modern Australia’s societal and political short comings in aged care, reminding us that theatre has the power to respond in real-time and give voice to topics that we find difficult to discuss as a nation.”

“With the support of Melbourne Theatre Company’s NEXT STAGE development, Bloom has blossomed into a beautiful soul-stirring piece of theatre that I have no doubt will continue to be talked about for years to come,” said Sarks.

Bloom’s creative team includes Tom Gleisner (Book and Lyrics), Katie Weston (Music), Dean Bryant (Direction / Production Dramaturg), Zara Stanton (Music Director / Arranger / Orchestrator), Andrew Hallsworth (Choreography), Dann Barber (Set Designer), Charlotte Lane (Costume Designer), Amelia Lever-Davidson (Lighting Designer) and Nick Walker (Sound Designer).

Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 22 July – 19 August 2023 (previews: 18 – 21 July)
Information and Bookings:

Image: Frankie J. Holden, Vidya Makan and Anne Edmonds star in Bloom – courtesy of MTC