The Nick Enright Songbook

The Nick Enright Songbook_editorialNick Enright occupies a special place in the history of the Australian musical. He was the most experienced professional Australian lyricist of his generation and arguably the most influential.

Currency Press has released The Nick Enright Songbook bringing together fifty of the best songs from ten musicals for which Enright wrote the lyrics, and the music of five gifted composers. Across this work, Enright’s characteristic use of Australian imagery and language shine brightly, intertwined with the themes of resilience, lost love and religion that are familiar in his work.

Together the songs display the proficiency and craft he brought to the Australian musical theatre. The book includes songs from The Venetian Twins, Variations and Summer Rain written with composer Terence Clarke, Buckley’s! with Glenn Henrich, Orlando Rourke with Alan John, The Betrothed, Mary Bryant and The Good Fight with David King, and Miracle City with Max Lambert.

Also included are two songs from On the Wallaby, one of which has music by Enright himself, and a cabaret song written with Max Lambert. Composer and academic Peter Wyllie Johnson writes a commemorative foreword and also edited the book.

Nick Enright (1950–2003) trained for the theatre at New York University School of Arts after early experience in Australia including with Nimrod and MTC. He was an actor, director and teacher as well as a writer. His plays include On the Wallaby, Daylight Saving, St James Infirmary, Mongrels, A Property of the Clan, The Quartet from Rigoletto, Blackrock, Good Works, Spurboard and A Man with Five Children.

With Justin Monjo he adapted Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet for the stage. He has also written for film and television, including co-writing with George Miller the screenplay for Lorenzo’s Oil which was nominated for an Academy Award. He has written a number of musicals including The Venetian Twins and Summer Rain with composer Terence Clarke, and wrote the book for the Australian production of The Boy From Oz.

Among many awards were two Green Room Awards for Best Play, and four Gold AWGIE Awards, the 1998 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award and the NSW Premiers’ Special Award. As well as being a prolific writer, Nick was a noted acting teacher, particularly at NIDA and WAAPA.

The Nick Enright Songbook is available from all good bookstores and online at:

Image: The Nick Enright Songbook