'Sparkle Darlings!' - Betty Pounder Remembered with Kevin Coxhead

STAGES with Peter Eyers show

Summary: Kevin Coxhead celebrates the memory of dynamic J.C. Williamson's Showmaker, Betty Pounder, in a facebook group titled 'Sparkle Darlings!'. The phrase, was a famous expression favoured by 'Pounder' to prompt the best from her trusted stable of dancers and leading performers. Betty Pounder died in 1990 but has left a legacy that we continue to benefit from today. She was a unique practitioner - entrusted by 'The Firm' to travel abroad to view scheduled shows and then re-create them in Australia. She became expert in the styles of the great Broadway choreographers, Fosse, Champion, Kidd and Robbins. Her vast repertoire of shows includes The Pajama Game, Funny Girl and Sweet Charity. Her role extended to the maintenance of shows for their commercial seasons and whilst 'on the road'. She acted for 'The Firm' as a Casting Director and suggested to the producers that an all-Australian company for The Pajama Game would prove to be a winning gamble. It was - and altered the reliance for international performers to take roles in local production. The careers of stars like Lamond, Perryman and Hayes quickly followed. A mentor of many performers, she was pivotal in launching careers, defining an ownership of product by local talent and contributing to an excellence and discipline maintained by the country's finest. She also made a notable step in Australian ballet history with her creation of the ballet Jazz Spectrum for the 1965 season. Kevin worked with 'Pounder' in Williamson's production of Gypsy, featuring Gloria Dawn and then Toni Lamond in the role of Rose. The show impressed upon him a great passion for the theatre and an enormous respect for the woman conjuring such magic. He joins Stages to share insight and reflection on the legend that is Betty Pounder.