'I Wanna Be a Producer' - Impresario John Frost, Part 2
Summary: In Part 2 of the Stages' conversation with Producer John Frost, he describes the rise of the Gordon Frost Organisation and, after the tragic loss of his co-founder Ashley Gordon; the necessary task of taking the helm as C.E.O. of the company. G.F.O. launches onward and finds success with shows like Big River, South Pacific, Hello Dolly! and Smokey Joe's Cafe. Frost's production of The King And I, rewards with considerable triumph, scooping several Tony Awards after the production transfers to Broadway. The show hadn't been produced in Australia for 20 years. It was a major win for Frost, and opened many doors internationally. A West End production followed, with Elaine Paige playing Anna Leonowens. There have also been the theatrical misfires that confirm the business gamble of producing commercial product. Frost ponders these missteps and responds to the comments that have often questioned his choices of show, his casting decisions and his development of original product. He is loyal to a legion of performers who were on the ground floor of our industry and is enthused by any opportunity to develop a new 'star'. He is happiest when he's making theatre and still gets star-struck when finding himself working with idols like Julie Andrews, who directed his 60th Anniversary production of My Fair Lady. During the early 2000s, Frost partnered with James Erskine and Basil Scaffidi's Sports Entertainment Ltd (SEL) and expanded the notion of entertainment, creating arena spectaculars with Grease and The Main Event featuring Olivia Newton John, Anthony Warlow and John Farnham. Eventually re-forming GFO, he gave us The Sound of Music (starring Lisa McCune), The Wizard of Oz (starring Nikki Webster), Annie (starring Anthony Warlow) and Footloose. The repertoire goes on with productions of Wicked, The Producers, Phantom of the Opera, Dream Lover and Legally Blonde. The list is extensive. In 2020, The Gordon Frost Organisation presents Chicago, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Shrek, The Book of Mormon, Nine to Five and Waitress throughout Australia. In part 2 of this absorbing conversation with impresario John Frost, he relishes the triumphs, analyses the disasters and contemplates the future of Musical Theatre and Entertainment. He is indeed evidence of a boy who had a dream, pursued it, and won.