If you are not interested in learning ABOUT musicals and just want to SEE some, then this is for you!
There are 11 electrifying performances spread across 5 days in various venues, truly offering something for everyone.
WEDNESDAY 19 MAY
“Glitter” An Onstage Soiree is a chance to see the beautiful Princess Theatre in a new light.
The 2021 Festival kicks off in the home of theatre in Launceston, the elegant, Princess Theatre – but not as you know it.
A limited number of guests will be treated to this exclusive event, enjoying a glass of wine and a series of songs from the unique vantage point, on the stage of this local treasure.
WHO: Simon Gleeson, Natalie O’Donnell, Brittany Shipway, Natalie Gamsu, John Xintavelonis.
A Performative Workshop
FRIDAY 21 MAY
Around the world, Musical Theatre is having an identity crisis. With continuing cultural developments and an increased reach of social movements, every art form is required to adapt or lose resonance. In the past few exciting years, the male lead of ‘Bobby’ in Company has been transformed into the female, ‘Bobbie’, the end of ‘My Fair Lady’ has been transformed with a nod to the #metoo movement, and ‘Oklahoma’ on Broadway has again become alarmingly daring.
This interactive workshop is a chance for theatre practitioners to investigate and interrogate how we might reinterpret classic text’s, through performance, looking all the time for ways to maintain the writer’s intentions while ensuring the form works towards greater inclusivity. Facilitator, Tyran Parke.
TIME: 7pm - 8.30pm
WHO: Tyran Parke
THE SOUND OF MUSICALS
SATURDAY 22 MAY
The jewel in the crown of our performance program returns after a spectacular debut in 2019 featuring the best of Broadway combined with local artists in a celebration of Musical Theatre through the ages.
From founders such as Jerome Kern and Rodgers and Hammerstein, to the modern leaders in Stephen Sondheim, Janine Tesori and Adam Gwon this concert features something for everyone as we recreate the great moments from Musical Theatre in the stunning Princess Theatre.
TIME: 8pm - 10.30pm
WHO: Callum Francis, Natalie Gamsu, Simon Gleeson, Natalie O’Donnell, Tyran Parke, Brittanie Shipway, John Xintavelonis, Deone Zanotto and others
NEW MUSICAL PRESENTATIONS
SUNDAY 23 MAY
In 2021, The Festival has made a firm commitment to developing new work and investigating our national voice in Musical Theatre and this is best represented in our developments of two new Australian Musicals.
The first, ‘Bearded’is written by Sean Donaghue and Nick Waxman;
Set in Australia, Bearded is a comedic bildungsroman that focuses on the lives of two teenage queer best friends, Ace and Bet, as they grapple with their identity and self-acceptance. Bet’s world is overtly queer-phobic; she attends a private girl’s Jesuit college and her father is a conservative politician fronting a campaign that focuses on ‘family values’. Ace represents the opposite; his social and cultural environment is inherently progressive and yet his shame is self-inflicted. The pair decide to ‘date’ one another in an effort to be seen as ‘normal’, however, things fall apart as Ace falls for an older boy. Amongst the lies, miseducation and adultery, truths are revealed and hearts are broken. Despite the show’s queer context, it is ultimately a story about family, given and chosen, that is enhanced by scenes, songs and staging that often mirror one another, offering parallels throughout. Bearded is a satirical critique on the difference between progressive and progression.
The second, ‘Yellow Rock’ is written by indigenous artist, Brittanie Shipway and developed with support from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.
Every year, the cousins return to Yellow Rock to visit. This trip, Sammy is determined to get answers from her grandfather Ngaji about where she really comes from. But when she arrives at the island, she discovers Ngaji is missing. Joining forces with her cousins Tom and Mae, Sammy must weave her way through the Dreaming to find Ngaji before he reaches the Muurrbay tree; for once he tastes the golden fruit from the tree of life, he may never return home to the land of the living.
‘Yellow Rock’ is a celebration of culture, country and kin. It seeks to share Dreaming stories both old and new with the next generation of deadly kids.
TIME: 1.30pm - 3.30pm
"ONCE IN A BLUE MOON"
A Celebration on Australian Musical Theatre
THURSDAY 20 MAY
In 2021, The Australian Musical Theatre Festival lives up to its name with a unique celebration of our own home-grown musical theatre.
From ‘The Boy from Oz’ to ‘Strictly Ballroom’, our all-star cast will combine with local talent to celebrate the great moments of Musical Theatre in this country and introduce audiences to a world of new gems from the likes of Tim Minchin, Eddie Perfect and Nick Enright and introduce you to local writers at the start of their careers.
Starring Simon Gleeson, Natalie O’Donnell, Deone Zanotto, Natalie Gamsu, John Xintavelonis and Tyran Parke this night is not to be missed.
TIME: 8pm - 10pm
WHO: Simon Gleeson, Natalie O’Donnell, Deone Zanotto, Natalie Gamsu, John Xintavelonis and Tyran Parke
Hosted by star of Kinky Boots, Callum Francis.
FRIDAY 21 MAY
Ever had a hankering to play a great role but traditional gender roles have prevented it?
Well, welcome to Launceston’s answer to the Kit Kat Club where Callum Francis, star of Kinky Boots around the world will host a late-night evening where you can express your own take on a coveted role.
Put on your high heels or your bowler hat and take to the stage in a wonderful celebration of your uniqueness accompanied by Amanda Hodder.
TIME: 10pm - 12am
WHO: Callum Francis, Amanda Hodder and various
With Roger Hodgman
SUNDAY 23 MAY
With over fifty productions with the Melbourne Theatre Company, which he helmed for twelve years, fourteen musicals for the Production Company and many commercial ventures all over the world; this insightful conversation piece is a gentle but informative start to the final day of the festival with a man whose career has seen him direct in many forms; Musicals, Opera’s, Plays and Television all over the world and who now resides in Tasmania.
TIME: 10am - 11am
WHO: Roger Hodgman, Tyran Parke
HEART AND MUSIC
SUNDAY 23 MAY
International Musical Theatre stars Simon Gleeson and Natalie O’Donnell share not just the stage…. but a life and two children. Simon Gleeson, best known for his acclaimed portrayal of Jean Valjean in ‘Les Misérables’ is a leading man with credits that span the main stages of Australia and London’s West End. Natalie O’Donnell most recently delighted audiences as Donna in ‘Mamma Mia!’
Join them and Maestro Michael Tyack as they come together for an afternoon of classic songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein through to The Greatest Showman with some Billy Joel thrown in.
‘Heart & Music’ offers an intimate afternoon of song and storytelling, which celebrates the music that has shaped both their careers and lives together. An elegant musical finale to our 2021 Festival with two of our most acclaimed artists.
Photo Credit: Chris Parker
TIME: 1pm - 2.15pm
WHO: Simon Gleeson, Natalie O’Donnell, Michael Tyack
FRIDAY 21 MAY
There is a superstition that if an empty theatre is ever left completely dark, a ghost will take up residence. To prevent this, a single ghostlight is left burning centre stage.
In 2020, the lights of the world’s theatres were turned off and most still remain ‘dark’ lit only by a solitary ghostlight.
This specially curated tour takes you backstage, around and on top of Launceston’s Princess Theatre and brings to life many of its previous inhabitants through song…
TIME: 6pm - 7pm
JACK AND GIN
SATURDAY 22 MAY
Destined to become an early sell-out, this event is a new spin on matching gin with food, instead matching a range of Tasmania’s best Gin offerings with songs from the Musical Theatre Catalogue.
Jack Lark is one of those overachiever types. He is not only an established Musical Theatre performer; he also comes from a family of distillers – oh and he was also on ‘Junior MasterChef’.
The combination of these skills combined with the song stylings of international Song Chanteuse; Natalie Gamsu is sure to provide a delight for all the senses.
TIME: 3pm - 4.30pm
WHO: Natalie Gamsu, Jack Lark
WHEN I GROW UP
SUNDAY 23 MAY
Come meet the next generation of stars in a special showcase of Festival talent.
Having worked with our guest tutors, including Natalie Gilhome, experienced children’s director and casting director, this concert designed for all those under 16 as a celebration of the future of this art form in this country.
TIME: 11.30am - 12.30pm