Renowned theatrical producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh today unveiled a Melbourne Arts Walk plaque he generously purchased to honour publicist Suzie Howie for her contribution to the Melbourne theatre scene.
Currently in Melbourne for the launch of his production Les Misérables which opens this Thursday (3 July), Mackintosh worked for many years with Suzie on productions including The Phantom of the Opera, Cats and Les Misérablesand was thrilled her career could be recognised in such an exceptional and enduring fashion.
“For more than three decades – beginning with his first Australian production, Oklahoma!, through to Mary Poppins – Suzie worked on Cameron Mackintosh’s shows here and in New Zealand, in Asia and the Pacific, and in South Africa,” said Suzie’s husband and partner Paul Taylor.
“She admired Cameron tremendously but she also had deep affection for him. This plaque, I’m sure, reflects his respect and feelings for her,” he added.
Suzie Howie, who lost her battle with cancer in October 2012, was an Australian publicity legend who managed the publicity for the majority of Australia’s best-selling musicals and theatre productions, including Cats, Les Misérables, Mary Poppins, The Phantom of the Opera, Jersey Boys, Wicked and many more.
Described as “the best publicist in the southern hemisphere” by Barry Humphries, she also publicised international film blockbusters such as Crocodile Dundee, The Man from Snowy River and The Man from Snowy River II.
“We are delighted to honour Suzie’s contribution to the arts industry through the Melbourne Arts Walk,” said Louise Georgeson, Executive – Development and Strategy, Arts Centre Melbourne.
“In the spirit of Suzie’s great work promoting the world’s best artists, every cent of all the Arts Walk plaques donated goes into an endowment fund which enable more artists to perform here in Melbourne, which will enrich an already thriving arts scene.”
The Melbourne Arts Walk – a series of crafted plaques honouring the arts which are embedded into the footpath surrounding Arts Centre Melbourne’s famous buildings are an Australian first and feature quotations from famous artists celebrating the creativity and passion of the performing arts in Melbourne. They can be purchased for $25,000 each.
Taking the idea of Hollywood’s Walk of Fame a step further, each plaque features an inspiring, uplifting quotation from a leading artist or renowned creative, recalling their experience of performing in Melbourne. Notable performers who have provided quotes for the Melbourne Arts Walk include Guy Pearce, Olivia Newton-John, Paul Kelly, Tina Arena, Silvie Paladino, Robert Lepage, Cliff Richard, Marina Prior, Reg Livermore and many more.
Designed by Victorian artists Simone LeAmon and Edmund Carter, the design of the plaques take their inspiration from an imagined spotlight shining down from Arts Centre Melbourne’s famous spire, casting pools of light onto the walk ways below.
For more information about the Melbourne Arts Walk, visit: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au for details.
Image: Sir Cameron Mackintosh and Paul Taylor with Suzie’s plaque – photo by Tsari Paxton (courtesy Arts Centre Melbourne)