STAGES with Peter Eyers
Summary: STAGES is the podcast that accesses a variety of people whose professional life is about connecting with an audience. A host of creative artists and practitioners reflect on their career, their process and what matters - to them. Some have made the arts a lifetime pursuit, some explain how their career became a happy accident ... but all describe the challenges and demands - and ultimately celebrate why there's no business like show business! STAGES talks to talent from front of house and backstage - directors, designers, drag artists and doormen ... performers, producers and publicists ... teachers, technicians and talent! Whatever stages it takes to engage and affect an audience - or whatever it takes to carve out a career in the arts - we'll examine it in STAGES. STAGES is the recipient of the Best New Podcaster Award at The Australian Podcast Awards in 2019.
Jeremy Waters is the Artistic Director of Outhouse Theatre. As a theatre-maker he has nearly twenty years of performing, producing and teaching experience. He has appeared in national and international stage and screen productions and recent credits include Janet King (Season 3), Jade of Death, The Combination 2, Harvest (Richard Bean), Jerusalem (Jez Butterworth), 4 Minutes 12 Seconds (James Fritz), A Man With 5 Children (Nick Enright) and The Aliens (Annie Baker). He also works as a voiceover artist and is an ecstatic Dad. Outhouse Theatre was formed by Jeremy and Nick Stevenson, two Australian actors who stumbled over each other whilst living in New York City. The Company was created with "a mission of showcasing Australian theatre artists in New York, telling the stories that resonated with us and building a community of like- minded convict collaborators". With Jeremy returning to Australia and Nick staying put in the Big Apple, the cross- cultural spirit still drives the company. The backgrounds and experiences of the creators in the US and Australia have fused into a unique theatrical DNA, blending the strengths of both countries' theatrical traditions to produce muscular and vibrant work; with a big, beating, bloody heart at its core. Outhouse has presented an impressive repertoire of productions that have provided actors and audience vivid visceral and intellectual experiences. Plays have included John, The Flick and The Aliens by Annie Baker, Trevor by Nick Jones, The Rolling Stone by Chris Urch, Four Places by Joel Drake Johnson and Ride by Jane Bodie. Next week they present the ferocious comedy Ulster American by David Ireland. A long planned conversation finally came to fruition with Jeremy joining STAGES to record this insightful episode in which we cover a broad range of subjects that include Independent theatre, the craft of acting and fatherhood. The STAGES podcast is available from iTunes, Spotify, Whooshkaa or wherever you get your favourite podcasts.
A theatre foyer would not be complete without the presence of Michelle Guthrie. She has worked in the entertainment industry for over 30 years and has been present at a vast array of entertainments as a performer, publicist or producer. Since her youth she has been an avid participant in any experience involving the business called show. She was always destined to contribute to the making of theatre. Creating Neglected Musicals in 2010, Michelle has presented 21 musicals over the past 10 years. She is the Associate Producer of the critically acclaimed and Award winning Calamity Jane, which toured Australia in 2018 and Monty Python's SPAMALOT touring in 2020. Michelle is also a board member of Hayes Theatre Co. She has produced the Coogee Carols for Randwick City Council for 18 years and each year provides Christmas Entertainment events across Sydney . With over 20 years as one of Australia's leading Entertainment Publicists, Michelle has managed the media for Cyndi Lauper, Barry Humphries, The Dali Lama, CATS, The Graduate, The Phantom of the Opera, Guys & Dolls, Bernadette Peters, Kristin Chenoweth, The Helpmann Awards and more. Previously Michelle has been General Manager of Peter & Ellen Williams Presents at the Sydney Opera House, director of Australian Creative Management, Client Manager with the Harry M Miller Group, Publicist with Mollison Consulting and The Really Useful Company Australia before setting up MGM Publicity & Promotions in 2002. It is a wealth of opportunity that has garnered tremendous experience and placed Michelle at the top of her game. This year she oversees two more additions to the Neglected Musicals repertoire. STAGES was delighted to learn more and to be engaged by the effervescent and highly informed Michelle Guthrie.
Peter Ford is one of Australia's pre-eminent entertainment reporters. For over 30 years he has been breaking the news and sharing insight on the people and product that grace an array of stages. Whether they be real stars or reality stars, legitimate legends or legends in their lunchbox, Hollywood royalty or House of Windsor, red carpet or red face; Pete keeps us informed using his vast sources and impeccable charm. Commencing his career as an office boy with Radio 3UZ in Melbourne, he had a valuable vantage point to observe a world he longed to be part of, and the many personalities that inhabited that world. Forays into producing for radio and then TV, at the age of 21, producing Good Morning Australia, then hosted by Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Gordon Elliott, quickly followed. In such experiences he was beginning to garner terrific insight to celebrity and the shenanigans, shine and schmooze of showbusiness. It was entertainment legend Bert Newton who first recognised Ford's potential as an on-air talent and provided the encouragement and opportunity to develop this skill. Other mentors have included comedienne Joan Rivers, who Peter met in the most surprising of circumstances. Entertainment reporters create a range of personas to take on the flamboyance and glitter of the industry they profile. Ford has maintained a mantle as a reporter who has investigated with integrity and honesty. Perhaps that's why he is the best and most widely heard entertainment reporter in Australia and NZ. "Allegedly". So says his twitter profile. A platform he inhabits for work and to satisfy his thirst for the news cycle. But navigation of the twitterverse comes with its share of personal attacks. He elaborates on recent attention. Peter rarely gives interviews but graciously agreed to this conversation, recorded in his studio at Channel 7 in Melbourne. He is a marvel to watch in action. A consummate pro who knows his content, knows his audience and knows how to share a story. Here's my breaking story, with Peter Ford. The STAGES podcast is available from iTunes, Spotify, Whooshkaa or wherever you get your podcasts.
Lesley and Bruce Scott are a dynamic duo. They have championed the careers of countless performers and guided them in the pursuit of career and craft; providing invaluable experiences on tours and on stages. They launched their own company, Dance Encore Productions in 1980, supplying professional entertainment to Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, Japan and South Korea. Theatre productions of Cinderella and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs contributed to their enormous output, with the two of them effectively completing many of the creative and producing tasks required. The pair were perfectly equipped as they came to the business extensively schooled as performers in the business! Bruce commenced his professional career in 1966 in J.C. Williamson's production of Funny Girl as a dancer, and followed this with the appointment as Principal Dancer in their next production, Fiddler on the Roof. A sojourn to the U.K followed with gigs that included Humpty Dumpty on Ice, several West End revues and two years at the Lido in Paris. Returning to Australia he danced in the musicals Charlie Girl and Pippin. At the age of 9, Lesley made her first professional stage appearance in The Johnny O'Keefe Show followed by numerous Australian tours of the pantomimes Snow White, The Flintstones and Peter Pan. Performing in the Australian and West End seasons of the musicals My Fair Lady and Irene added to her growing resume; and for the Australian Opera, Lesley was the Principal Dancer in productions including The Merry Widow, La Boheme and Nambucco. Soon after meeting, the pair formed an adagio/acrobatic/contortion act and toured the world performing in some of the most famous theatres, nightclubs and cabarets. It is a delight to feature Lesley and Bruce Scott in this episode of STAGES. Theirs is a life rich in experience, wisdom and so much more; gathered from a dedication and life traversing vast stages.
Nicholas Eadie's resume boasts an impressive list of high-profile television production that we affectionately embrace as key moments in Australian television consumption. He gained success and fame in Australian television series' such as Cop Shop, The Henderson Kids, A Country Practice and Medivac. He won The Australian Film Institute's Best Actor in a Mini-Series award in 1987 for Vietnam, in which he co-starred with Nicole Kidman. He played a dashing horseman in The Man From Snowy River 2 and was nominated again for his portrayal of World War II Academy Award-winning cameraman Damien Parer in John Duigan's Fragments of War, and in 2002 for Halifax f.p. He is the son of ABC radio announcer Mervyn Eadie, and is a graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art. Nicholas Eadie has worked with all the major Australian theatre companies with over 45 credits to his name. He has appeared in leading roles in plays as diverse as Tennessee Williams: The Glass Menagerie as The Gentleman Caller and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as Brick. He has played John Proctor in three separate productions of The Crucible. And partied hard as Don in David Williamson's Don's Party. In Sydney's Botanical Gardens, he performed for three seasons as Oberon/Theseus in A Midsummer Night's Dream. He played Sam in the original cast of Mamma Mia! in Australia for two years. He has been in the world premiere productions of Michael Gow's Furious, Hannie Raison's Two Brothers, Tommy Murphy's Holding The Man and the highly acclaimed Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America by Stephen Sewell. It is a career of many triumphs but it has not been without its challenges. Nick talks candidly about the work he has navigated and reflects on a career that has often rewarded and sometimes disappointed. Here's my chat with the charming Nicholas Eadie.
Eddie Perfect is one of Australia's most diverse, respected and prolific writer/ composer/ performers. His most recent work as Composer of Beetlejuice - the Musical on Broadway won him a nomination for Best Original Score at the 2019 Tony Awards. He has made his mark in the fields of comedy, music theatre composition and book writing, playwriting, screenwriting, classical music, jazz and acting for stage and screen. He has won multiple awards for his work both as a performer and writer and has worked with top creatives from Baz Luhrmann and Global Creatures (Strictly Ballroom the Musical, King Kong on Broadway), Simon Phillips and Neil Armfield (Shane Warne The Musical, Keating! The Musical), Richard Maltby and David Shire, Jason Robert Brown, Andrew Lippa (Adelaide Cabaret Festival) to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO Town Hall Proms), Victorian Opera (The Threepenny Opera), Opera Australia (South Pacific), the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (Symphony Under The Stars), Malthouse Theatre (Babes In The Wood, Drink Pepsi Bitch, The Big Con) the Australian National Academy Of Music, Iain Grandage and UK's Brodsky Quartet (Songs From The Middle). In this captivating episode of STAGES, Eddie provides insight to the gestation of Beetlejuice - the Musical and generously shares his approach to composition. It is a fascinating process and a brilliant career. 'Say his name!" Here's Eddie!
Roger Kirk is a Tony Award-winning set and costume designer for theatre, film and television. He has designed costumes on world stages for productions that have included The Boy From Oz Arena Production with Hugh Jackman, The King and I, 42 Street, Jesus Christ Superstar and King Kong - the Musical. He began his career in television in Australia, working in the costume department of the Sydney ABC studios where he graduated to design television productions that included The Marcia Hines Show and The Norman Gunston Show. Prior to television he had worked in London's West End for three years managing the props. for stage productions. While working in the costume department at the ABC an opportunity lead to design costumes for the Sydney Theatre Company and their landmark production of Chicago; a production that boasted an entirely Australian creative team in the construction of the seminal Broadway musical. He has designed sets for Elton John's 1986 Australian tour, sets and costumes for the Australian TV version ofGladiators and awards shows such as the AFIs. Roger was the costume designer for the most recent filmed production of Jesus Christ Superstar, and has worked extensively on set and costume design for Opera Australia. Other credits include Andrew Lloyd Webber's Whistle Down The Wind in the West End; Silver Rose, Le Corsaire for Munich Opera House, Dusty - The Original Pop Diva, and Shout!. In 1996 Roger received the Tony Award for Best Costume Design for his work on the Broadway production of The King and I. He also received the Drama Desk Award, the Friends of New York Award, and the Outer Critics Circle Award for the same production. In 2001 the highly acclaimed production of The King and I took centre-stage at London's Palladium Theatre. For Opera Australia Roger has designed costumes for Manon Lescaut, The Gypsy Princess, Pirates of Penzance, My Fair Lady, A Little Night Music, Iolanthe, HMS Pinafore, Trial by Jury, Manon, and Graeme Murphy's production of Aida. Further credits include Sweeney Todd for Victorian Opera, and sell-out shows in Sydney and Melbourne for Hugh Jackman's Broadway to Oz: Hugh Jackman Live in Concert. It is a vast career and Roger shares terrific anecdote and insight in this fascinating episode of STAGES.
Anni Finsterer graduated with a Bachelor of Performing Arts from the University of Western Sydney. She was awarded an AFI Award in 2009 for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Movie for Three Acts of Murder. Other film credits include Johnny Ghost, To Have and To Hold, The Boys are Back, Prime Mover, The Clinic, Strange Fits of Passion and Sweet Country. She has appeared in numerous television series including City Homicide, All Saints, Home and Away and Love My Way. In theatre, Anni has worked for both major and independent companies including the Sydney Theatre Company, Australian People's Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company, Company B Belvoir, Queensland Theatre Company, Griffin and Bell Shakespeare. She has played major roles in Macbeth, Hamlet, The Women of Troy, Othello and Antony and Cleopatra. Two major car accidents might have prevented her vast experience as an actor. Tremendous determination and resilience have supported her in the realisation of an ambition. She is the author of a new book titled Radical Rock and Roll Resilience. A succession of challenging experiences contribute to the content of the book and Anni generously reflects on those in this absorbing conversation with STAGES. Check out: www.annifinsterer.com
Originally from Queensland, Michaeljon Slinger moved to the United States in 2004 after winning the Australian Dancer of the Year Award and receiving full scholarship to attend American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. He went on to attend the B.F.A Dance program at the prestigious Julliard School in New York City, making him the first Australian to be accepted into either one of these programs. In 2009, Michaeljon made his Broadway debut as an original cast member and Dance Captain of the revival of West Side Story, directed by Arthur Laurents. He continued his career on Broadway as both a performer and Dance Captain, appearing in the Broadway companies of Billy Elliot the Musical, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Evita, Side Show, and Matilda. His performing career culminated in the role of Dance Captain for the 2017 revival of Broadway's Hello Dolly! Starring Bette Midler. Michaeljon's career shifted in 2018, when he made his West End debut as Associate Director and Choreographer of the brand new musical, Mythic. He continues to thrive as a Choreographer, most lately working alongside Lorin Latarro, first as Associate Choreographer on Michael Mayer's World Premiere of La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera, and following in quick succession as Assistant Choreographer and Dance Captain of the Roundabout Theatre and Fiasco Theatre production of Merrily We Roll Along in New York. The pair are currently collaborating on two Broadway-bound shows with Michaeljon serving as Associate Choreographer for both Almost Famous and Mrs Doubtfire. When not performing, Michaeljon promotes the importance of Arts Education and hopes to continue to share his knowledge and experience with the next generation of young performers. Check out: www.michaeljonslinger.com
At 19, Laneikka Denne is an award-winning playwright, actor, and filmmaker based in Western Sydney. Her debut play Dead Skin was awarded the State Theatre Company & Flinders University Young Playwright's Award and is published by Australian Plays. She is currently developing a new work titled Shithole for Q Theatre. In 2020, Laneikka ventured into screen with her debut short Mitsuku. The script was selected by producer Liz Arday on behalf of ScreenJam Productions in the UK to be produced in 2021. In addition to this, her other short, Feed Me Bubbe is in pre-production in Sydney. Young queer women are at the heart of all of her work, as she seeks to represent real women with agency and intrigue. Dead Skin will premiere at the King's Cross Theatre (KXT) on April 2nd and run until the 17th. Written at the tender age of seventeen, the play is a hybrid text of queer and hetero love stories that challenge what it truly means to love and be loved at seventeen. It is a coming-of-age story of a mother and daughter navigating the toxicity of their own relationships, in search of that 'thing' we will never have with any other human, the truest form of love; an inherent, maternal connection. Check out: http://www.kingsxtheatre.com/dead-skin
Lyndon Terracini is the Artistic Director of Opera Australia. He has also enjoyed a highly successful, international opera career; and received accolades as an actor, director and writer. He is a renaissance man! Lyndon was appointed Artistic Director and CEO of the Queensland Music Festival in 2000 and directed the 2001, 2003 and 2005 festivals. He was appointed Artistic Director/CEO of Brisbane Festival in 2005 and Artistic Director/CEO of Major Brisbane Festivals in November 2007. He is the recipient of many awards including an Honorary Doctorate in Music Theatre by Central Queensland University, a Fellowship by the Music Fund of the Australia Council for the Arts, an Honorary D. Univ. from Southern Cross University and the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Cultural Leadership Award by the Australian Business Arts Foundation (AbaF). In 2005 Lyndon Terracini was also appointed Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland. In 2007 he was awarded a D.Univ. from Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Lyndon was also a member of the International Jury for the Venice Biennale for Music and Savonlinna Opera Festival, and delivered the 2011 Peggy Glanville-Hicks address. His service to the performing arts as an opera performer, director and administrator was recognised in 2014 with a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours. In 2018 Lyndon was awarded one of the highest civilian honours in Italy, Commander of the Order of the Star of Italy (Commendatore dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia). It is an impressive list of accolades and they make him admirably equipped to steer the cultural flagship of Opera Australia. The 2021 season of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is about to commence with a lavish production of La Traviata. Lyndon elaborates on his introduction of this elaborate staging of opera and how it has grown to become one of the most anticipated on the cultural calendar. He also describes navigating the company through a pandemic and reflects on a sterling career as performer and producer, in this joyous episode of STAGES.
Listening to Michael Cassel's early forays into DIY producing, it is apparent that a career as a major player on stages was his destiny. As an avid letter writer he sought advice and opportunity from anyone prepared to listen to his ambition and passion. At 14 he galvanised a community to support him in his first vision of a live entertainment - the Kiama Carols by Candlelight Christmas Spectacular. The success of the show cemented his hungry pursuit and quest to succeed in a precarious industry. An apprenticeship in a variety of offices and theatres, guided along the way by a masterful faculty of mentors such as Harry M. Miller, James Thane, John Frost, Thomas Schumacher, Michael Eisner and Cameron Macintosh built determination, experience and resilience. Learning on the job provided him with a multitude of creative skills and business acumen. Cassel rightly fits the label of Showman. His enthusiasm for the job is palpable. He surprises with his calm demeanour and extensive knowledge of all aspects of production - personnel and craft. He is respectful of heritage and keen to blaze a way into what live entertainment might be in the future. He formed his company, the Michael Cassel Group, to produce and present the world's greatest musical and theatrical productions, live entertainment experiences, marquee events and concert attractions. It is well on its way! Productions have included the triumphant 19-month Australian and international tour of Les Misérables, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, the 10th Anniversary Tour of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, the Australian premiere of Cyndi Lauper's Kinky Boots and the Australian and Asian tour of Singin' in the Rain. Broadway and West End co-producer credits include DreamWorks' The Prince of Egypt, Pretty Woman: The Musical and The Cher Show. Next week he premieres the Australian production of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton at the Sydney Lyric Theatre. Michael provided Stages with access to 'the room where it happens' to discover his remarkable story, his passion for the work and some hint at the future, in this most excellent episode of STAGES.
A serial entertainment entrepreneur, a dynamic Master of Ceremonies and an accomplished musical theatre performer, Darryl Lovegrove was a member of the original Australian casts of Les Miserables and Chess. He is also known for his celebrated portrayal of Jesus in the Australian and New Zealand tours of Jesus Christ Superstar. He featured with Sarah Brightman in the Australasian tour of The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and received critical acclaim as John Lennon in the New Zealand national tour of Looking Through a Glass Onion. In 1998, Darryl co-created the operatic global phenomenon The Three Waiters which became, and remains to this day, the most-booked corporate entertainment act in the world. The business established offices in Sydney, London and New York, and the act has been seen by more than 3 million people in over 80 countries. In 2009, Darryl formed 'Lovegrove Entertainment' which produced Australasian corporate entertainment favourites The Leading Men and Jersey to Motown. In 2012 Darryl and his then 12 year old daughter, Harmony, known as Darryl & Harmony were awarded the Australian Event Awards 'Entertainer of the Year'. Darryl has recently released a book titled 'Why Haven't I Heard Of You?' The book details his experiences on stages and in the business world. He also examines the creation of new work and generously gives advice to performers. Maintaining a passion and striving for longevity in a precarious industry can present challenges. Darryl speaks with passion and wisdom born from a rewarding ride in the business we call show.
The two tools crucial to a performer are the voice and the body. We tell stories with the spoken and sung word - and communicate through movement - shapes, attitudes and gesture! STAGES has featured episodes where we have discussed vocal care with singers and teachers - today we examine movement - which is so important to creative story-tellers. Indeed effective movement to all of us is important - especially as we get older. A method of movement which has figured prominently is that pioneered by Joseph Pilates. Originally created in the early twentieth century when Joseph Pilates was interned as an 'enemy alien' at the outbreak of war while living in the UK, it was soon developed as a form a of rehabilitation for soldiers returning from war. Later it was embraced by dancers such as Martha Graham and George Balanchine to assist with the aches and pains acquired from the art form and to strengthen dancers' bodies. Today we'll look at why this method of training has supported so many with freer motion and strength. We also consider the work developed by Movement Practitioners, Rudolph Laban and Tadashi Suzuki in their support of performance. My Guest in this episode is a former Drama teacher who operates her own Pilates studio, 'Perform Pilates', in the Sydney suburb of Stanmore. She's very familiar with the practitioners mentioned and is a tremendous advocate for being kind to the body and supporting it with effective movement. Say hello to Ildiko Campbell.
Welcome back to part 2 of the STAGES' conversation with Entertainment Legend Barry Crocker. Possessed of a magnificent voice it wasn't long before he started to make his way professionally on Australian TV and stages - and enjoyed success in the American and UK markets. Barry describes many of his successes in this companion episode. It's time for some further nostalgia and continued insight to an industry now sadly passed. Regarded as one of the 'greats' of the Australian entertainment industry, Barry Crocker has fostered a respected and impressive career spanning several decades. Born in the suburbs of Geelong, Victoria, as a teenager he was enticed into joining a community Musical theatre company. He was quickly hooked and soon after found himself touring the State in a travelling variety show, providing him a salient apprenticeship in showbiz. In 1966 he starred in a TV musical comedy show called 66 And All That, followed by tremendous accolades with the eponymous The Barry Crocker Show on Channel 10 Sydney. This was followed by the musical variety show Say It With Music, also broadcast on Ten. Barry went on to become the presenter and leading performer on The Sound of Music TV series, taking over from entertainer Bobby Limb, which earned him a Gold Logie in 1970 as Australia's top (male) TV personality. His singing talents eventually earned him over 30 Gold records. He is known for his iconic Australian films during the 1970s The Adventures of Barry McKenzie and the sequel Barry McKenzie Holds His Own; and singing the theme tune to the Australian soap opera Neighbours. Barry has achieved what many aspiring entertainers have only dreamt of accomplishing. With a career encompassing an extensive recording history, countless television appearances in Australia, the UK and America, as well as numerous national and international concert performances, Barry's immense talents as an engaging singer, comic, impressionist and dramatic actor have continuously captivated and wowed audiences across the globe.