Just published in Ausdance Victoria’s Kinesis Magazine, check out my article on musicals in Melbourne – take a look behind the scenes of West Side Story, Mary Poppins and Hairspray. Here’s the first paragraph to tempt you to follow the link….
Musical fever is running high in Melbourne; Mary Poppins is delighting audiences at Her Majesty’s Theatre, West Side Story is burning up the Regent Theatre on Collins Street, and Hairspray is set to do the same in early October. Onstage it may look like fun and games, but backstage it’s another story — one that involves its fair share of blood, sweat, and tears.
Almost 1,000 adults and over 300 children auditioned for the lead roles alone in Mary Poppins. The panel had to know exactly what they were looking for. “We needed people who could be quite inventive,” resident choreographer Lisa O’Dea explains. “For instance, one of our biggest numbers Step in Time required a very androgynous energy from the chimney sweeps, whereas Jolly Holiday, another big production number, needed the females to be quite feminine, like the Edwardian women of the period in which the show is set. So we required people who could do that cross-over.”
Over at the Regent, co-dance captain Brendan Yeates remembers his audition for West Side Story well. “It was short, but very intense. I was auditioning as a Jet, and we learnt the major dance breaks from the number “Cool”, which has to be one of the hardest numbers in the entire show.” After the first cut was made, Brendan and the other dancers had to do a ballet combination and sing a song from the show. Then came the wait to hear if he had been called back for the final day of auditions.
Find the rest of the article here