Celebrating their 21st year, The Production Company (TPC) have announced their 2019 Season to be presented at Arts Centre Melbourne that features two Australian premieres: David Bowie’s Lazarus and Ragtime, as well as the all time Broadway favourite, Thoroughly Modern Millie.
“The premiere of David Bowie and Enda Walsh’s music theatre masterpiece, Lazarus, will open our season,” said Jeanne Pratt AC, Chairman of The Production Company. “It’s a great pleasure and an honour for The Production Company to be staging David Bowie’s final masterpiece with an outstanding creative team headed by the acclaimed director Michael Kantor.”
“I love to feature a comedy in our seasons and there are few shows more joyous than Thoroughly Modern Millie – a fun-filled ride into the heart of the roaring twenties. Our third musical, Ragtime, is a sweeping musical portrait of early twentieth century America, based on the bestselling novel by E. L. Doctorow.”
“We couldn’t have done this for the past twenty years without our musical loving audiences. Thank you, Melbourne. This is a not to be missed season by Melbourne’s lovers of musical theatre,” Mrs Pratt added.
Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne: 18 May – 9 June 2019
Lazarus was David Bowie’s final project and was first staged in New York in 2015. It’s a ground breaking music theatre work featuring eighteen David Bowie songs including Changes, Heroes and Absolute Beginners.
Inspired by the Walter Tevis novel, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Lazarus is about an alien Thomas Newton, as he remains on earth, unable to die. We follow him during the course of a few days when the arrival of another lost soul might finally set him free. David Bowie co-wrote Lazarus with Enda Walsh – who also wrote the book for the award winning musical, Once.
Chris Ryan, whose performance as Monty Navarro in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder wowed Melbourne last year, takes on the lead role of Newton. Chris is a multi Green Room Award winner as both a performer and playwright. His works have appeared in Australia, Europe and NYC.
Iconic singer iOTA makes his debut with The Production Company in the role of Valentine. Emily Milledge (La Cage aux Folles) returns to TPC in the role of Girl, Phoebe Panaretos (Strictly Ballroom) is Elly and Mike McLeish (Beautiful) makes his TPC debut as Michael.
The distinguished creative team is headed by Director Michael Kantor (The Shadow King) – who was Artistic Director of Malthouse Theatre from 2005 to 2010. Multi award winning Melbourne composer Jethro Woodward is Musical Director. Stephanie Lake is Choreographer, Anna Cordingley is Set and Costume Designer, and the ARIA Award winner, Natasha Pincus (Gotye) will create unique film sequences to integrate into Kantor’s staging.
Thoroughly Modern Millie
State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne: 3 – 11 August 2019
It’s the height of the jazz age in the roaring 20’s, and small-town girl Millie Dillmount has just arrived in New York City, ready to make her dreams come true. Millie’s plan is simple: find a job as a secretary for an eligible bachelor, and then marry him. It doesn’t take long for Millie’s “thoroughly modern” plan to go awry.
Annie Aitken is featured in the starring role of Millie. Annie’s recent performance in Candide with the Sydney Symphony was hailed as “a show-stopping tour-de-force” (SMH). Australia’s favourite leading lady, Marina Prior is conniving landlady and part time slave trader, Mrs. Meers – a dragon lady audiences will love to hate. Michael Falzon (Evita) is Millie’s boss and dream husband, Trevor Graydon, and Claire Lyon (Phantom of the Opera) is her best friend and aspiring actress, Miss Dorothy Brown.
The winner of six Tony Awards including Best Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie is based on the 1967 Academy Award-winning film and was Broadway’s most awarded new show in 2002. Songs include Not For The Life of Me, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Forget About the Boy and Gimme Gimme.
Director Chris Parker (Oklahoma!)returns with Maestro Peter Casey (The Sound of Music)conducting The Production Company Orchestra. Renowned tap king, Christopher Horsey (Swing on This) is Choreographer, with Costumes by Isaac Lummis (A Gentleman’s Guide), Set by Christina Smith (The Boy From Oz) and Lighting by Gavan Swift (Mamma Mia!).
State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne: 2 – 10 November
At the dawn of a new century everything is changing… and anything is possible. Set in the melting pot of New York, three distinctly American tales are woven together – that of a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant, Tateh and the daring young Harlem musician, Coalhouse Walker Jr. and his fiancee, Sarah. Together they confront history’s timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice and what it means to live in 20th Century America.
The winner of the 1998 Tony Awards for Best Score, Book and Orchestrations, and both the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical and Best Score, Ragtime is filled with pageantry, emotion and hope. A truly unique and powerful portrait of America, Ragtime is sure to inspire.
The score draws on many musical styles: the ragtime rhythms of Harlem and Tin Pan Alley, the Klezmer of the Lower East Side, brass band marches and delicate waltzes, from up-tempo banjo tunes and expansive anthems. Songs include Wheels of A Dream, Goodbye My Love, Your Daddy’s Son, Back to Before and Make Them Hear You.
Kurt Kansley stars as Coalhouse Walker Jr – who Melbourne critics have hailed for his recent performance as Che Guevara in Evita, Chloe Zuel (Dusty, Beautiful) plays Sarah, while Josh Piterman (Beautiful) plays Tateh.
TPC Founding Director Roger Hodgman (A Gentleman’s Guide) will stage this modern American classic with Dana Jolly’s Choreography. Costumes will be designed by Isaac Lummis (A Gentleman’s Guide), Set by Christina Smith (The Boy From Oz) and Lighting by Nigel Levings (Hello, Dolly!).
Subscription packages are now available, with single ticket sales available from 8 April 2019. For more information, visit: www.theproductioncompany.com.au for details.
Image: Lazarus, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Ragtime – courtesy of The Production Company