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Rehearsed reading of original musical: Billy Buckett E-mail

Billy Buckett is set in Britain in the late 1950s, when the world was awakening to the teenage revolution and the music that drove it wild. It’s a love story between a struggling young musician and the daughter of a rich man, who must overcome social and economic pressures to be together.

Billy Buckett was first performed in Britain in 1988, where it was warmly received. Recent renewed interest prompted Jay and creative partner (and wife) Cath Mundy to spend hundreds of hours reworking the script and songs. They’re now looking to road test the revamped musical.

“I knew I had the core of a good show, but I became aware that certain elements of the script weren’t working,” Jay said. “With help from script editor Katrina Graham, and Cath, I dissected the entire story and all the characters. It was like taking a car apart and putting it back together again – both scary and exhilarating!”

Jay said while Billy Buckett was set in the 1950s, it wasn’t like other period musicals where the plot was just an excuse to showcase hit songs.

“Billy Bucket has a strong story with an inherent social commentary playing alongside a delightful British sense of humour. Along the way, we investigate the social and fiscal position of women in the 1950s, the tensions between teens and the older generation, class, poverty, wealth, love and self belief.  There’s moments of high drama and pathos and yet there’s plenty of laughs.”

The show features all original music, written by Jay. “British rock’n’roll developed it own distinctive sound, and I wanted to reflect that in my show.”

Based in Waterford, Jay said Phoenix was the obvious choice to approach about a rehearsed reading. “Phoenix has a reputation for high quality work and is well known particularly for its musicals. The company is local to us and we really love the idea of working with local talent to incubate the play. We have lots of fabulously artistic people in Logan!”

Rehearsed reading performances will take place at the Pavilion Theatre, James St, Beenleigh on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 April at 7.30pm. Tickets will be available at the door. Phoenix members free, non-members $10.

Cast includes: Scott Johnson, Kate Doohan, Jack Henry, Deb Taylor, Joel Mikkelsen, Bec Hundy, Brea Robertson, Hannah Crowther and Scott Young.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 April 2012 18:17
Relive the music of the 90s

What do Nirvana, Alanis Morissette, Coolio and John Farnham have in common?

They were all superstars of the 90s, the decade that gave us grunge and a slew of groundbreaking new bands. It also gave us Britney Spears...

Music lovers can now re-live the highlights when Phoenix Ensemble presents I'm too sexy for the 90s, an original show of 90s music, over five weekends in March.

90s-cast-smallDirector Joel Mikkelsen has captured the essence of the decade in a dynamic production featuring a six-piece band, 15-strong cast of singers and dancers, and an upgraded sound and lighting system that promises to deliver a true rock show experience.

Joel said the biggest challenge with the show was choosing the final song list. The search started with 1,000 songs, which were whittled down to 200. Five meetings later – and much discussion to ensure as many genres as possible were covered – and the list was finalised...at least until rehearsals.

"Some people blew us away with the songs they auditioned with. In many cases those songs were on our shortlist but had been bumped in favour of something else. They're now back in.

"We've worked tirelessly to create the best representation of each of the songs, trying to capture all the fun and zaniness of this unique period. We know we're going to get people coming up to us and saying 'I can't believe you didn't put "X" in a 90s show!' But we couldn't put them all in or the show would've gone for a week!"

The music and mood of the 90s was eclectic, and audiences can expect the same sort of mix with the 90s show. "Some songs are blatant self parody, but others are sombre and serious...and we've spent hours on scoring on harmonies."

Joel said that aside from the live band and strong vocal cast, the show also featured "some of the most intense choreography seen in any Phoenix show".

"Our cast has been simply amazing in its dedication and hard work. Braving 35 degree plus heat in our shed for full-day choreo rehearsals ... this will be the fittest cast in the country by the time we open!'

Unlike past original revues produced by Phoenix, I'm too sexy for the 90s doesn't have a dramatic/comedic context or MC narration. It's all about the music – and the stage production.

Joel is full of praise for his musical directors Nick Ng and Casey Chadwick (aka The Chad), and choreographers Alex Burrie and Laura Baker. "Nick is simply a musical genius, and The Chad is just all over the material like she's been studying it her whole life. Alex and Laura are just my rocks. They are just amazing with work with."

The director can't wait to see how audiences respond to the show.

"I'm extremely excited to see the reaction we get from the audience to the hours and hours of polishing we've been putting into our numbers. Expect awesomeness."

I'm to sexy for the 90s

Venue: Pavilion Theatre, Beenleigh Showgrounds, James Street, Beenleigh

Times: 7.30pm: 2, 3, 9, 10, 15, 16, 23, 24, 30, 31 March 2012

Tickets: $18 - $26



Adam Bartlett

Alex Burrie

Alicia Caruana

Darcy Morris

Erin Hutley

Jason Lawson

Joanna Mikkelsen

Julia Lefik

Laura Baker

Lisa Killeen

Matthew Angelino

Michell Phair

Natasha Prasek

Scott Johnson

Taylor Williams

Last Updated on Monday, 06 February 2012 17:30
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