Williamstown Musical Theatre Company Inc is thrilled to announce our 2015 Production Season.
Production Team details and further information will be released soon.
The 2014 Music Theatre Guild Nominations have now been released. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the below mentioned people but also congratulate ALL of you who have been a part of our amazing 2014 performance year for Williamstown Musical Theatre Company.
We are extremely proud of the year that we have achieved and thank you all for the hard work and team effort that you have all put in over the last 12 months.
Production of the Year
Shaun Kingma, Frankenstein
Jason Bovaird & Deryk Hartwick, Frankenstein
Male Performer in a Leading Role
Mark Doran, The Creature, Frankenstein
Male Performer in a Supporting Role
Lee Threadgold, Herbie, Gypsy
Female Performer in a Supporting Role
Sarah Kate Hanley, Louise, Gypsy
Barbara Hughes, Tessie Tura, Gypsy
Jessica Barlow, Justine, Frankenstein
Robbie Smith, Tulsa, Gypsy
Andrew Roberts, Uncle Jocko, Gypsy
The Ensemble, Frankenstein
For further information on the Music Theatre Guild of Victoria please visit their website here.
Theatre People.com.au had a quick catch up with Shaun Kingma (Director) and Tyson Legg (Musical Director) for Williamstown Musical Theatre Company’s upcoming Australian Premiere production of Frankenstein, A New Musical before heading into their production week next week.
We also got the chance to talk to cast members Scott Mackenzie (Victor Frankenstein), Mark Doran (The Creature), Katie Weston (Elizabeth) and Jessica Barlow (Justine).
Shaun: After Tyson and I last worked together on the Williamstown Musical Theatre Company’s production of Next to Normal, we wanted to do something again with the company and with a bit of grit and darkness within the genre of horror. Both of us are big movie buffs, especially in the horror vein. So after a few meetings we came across a recording I have had for a few years of this tiny little off-Broadway show that was done in the mid 2000’s. After a few listens, it seemed to be both a perfect match for that “something different” we were wanting, and for the creative freedom that WMTC and its theatre space allows. The show is also extremely well-constructed. Its story moves at a cracking pace and rarely lets up. Along with some very clever and carefully placed narrative structures, it is a great classic tale, told very well.
Tyson: We were looking for something scary. A legitimate horror musical. Shaun was already aware of the show and once he played the music for me I was sold. The show is written in a cinematic style, so being the big film nerd that I am it really made an impression after our first read/ listen. When the news came through that it was available to be staged we couldn’t resist and luckily WMTC trusted us enough to back our choice.
Shaun: It is a daunting show. A first glance it may seem quite intimate (and at times it most certainly is), but as a whole it is quite epic in scope. Although told through a small cast of 15, its story and ideas are very large. Due to the pace of the show, there is barely a moment to catch a breath for the cast (and possibly for the audience in some cases). So, to ensure the story telling was clear was most important.
Thankfully we have been blessed with a superbly talented cast, who have pushed themselves to their limits willingly and gladly. It’s rare you can get a cast who are not only talented but that also want to push themselves to do something different and to do it without fear.
Tyson: Specifically to me there are very few challenges. The show has never been performed in Australia and will be completely new to 99% of audience so I don’t feel that pressure to recreate the score exactly from the CD to appease all the super-fans. It’s a liberating feeling to be free of that responsibility. If I want to take a phrase slower/ faster or play with dynamics I can just go ahead and do it.
Shaun: The design itself was the one area that took me the longest. The design certainly has pushed all of us to think more creatively and technically, than possibly we have before. WMTC has risen to the challenges in its usual relaxed, professional, mature and calm manner, and again I am so grateful for their hard work and dedication to this production. I certainly don’t believe in doing a show if you are just going to coast through it – I want to be challenged. That said, I cannot imagine the design being done any other way now.
Tyson: I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the score to this show. It has similar elements to other more well known shows like Jekyll & Hyde, Phantom and even some of Menken’s darker work with Disney, but while you could say it wears its influences on its sleeve to a degree, it has a character all of its own. It doesn’t pull any punches when it needs to be heavy and epic and its ballads are more complex than the first listen would have you believe. The singers have to work their butts off as well. Each character has their moment to vocally impress and each of our cast nails it ! There are also huge amounts of intricate harmony work for the ensemble which has been a lot of fun to teach and refine. I can’t wait to put everything together with the orchestra in the next week. It’s going to be massive!
Mark: On the surface, the show is about a man who discovers the secret of creating life and manages to reanimate a human being. What follows is him dealing with the consequences of playing God. For me personally, beneath that, the show is about what becomes of a man when he is never shown how to live with kindness and is never shown how to love, or be loved. It is almost a case of nature versus a lack of nurture.
Scott: My character Victor Frankenstein is a brilliant young scientist who discovers the secret of life after his mother dies. He attempts to make a perfect human to combat the pain and sorrow of death, but creates a nightmare beyond his wildest dreams. It’s a beautiful and chilling story of love and loss.
Katie: The narrative is beautifully taken from Mary Shelley’s dark classic novel. However, the audience is taken on a twisted journey through the retelling of story within the story within the story, achieved by clever timeline and theatrical devices. It’s dark and intense. (Like a good wine!)
Jess: It sees the tale of Victor Frankenstein and his family, as they are taken on a journey which centres itself on the conception of his ‘greatest achievement’ – the creature. This follows onto his downfall and the spectacular spiral of events that lead on from the ‘birthing’ of the creature. This mad lust for answers of science and the unknown drive Victor to a point of no return whereby everything close to him, is lost. I am a HUGE fan of the novel and an even bigger fan of the dark, the horrifying, the tortured and the unknown, so to be involved in the Australian premiere of this show is an absolute thrill for me. I quite simply, had to be involved!
Mark: Rehearsals have been fast paced and I have loved it. The cast have been given such an incredibly short period of time to learn what at times was up to 5 and 6 part harmonies, and then we would be blocking it on the stage whilst singing 15 minutes later. The talent in the cast has blown me away and some of my favourite stuff in the show is the choral singing produced by our cast. As a result of this level of talent and professionalism from all members involved, the rehearsal process has been a joy to watch and be a part of, and it is only getting more exciting as we approach opening night.
Katie: Fast paced and powerful. Just how I like it! I think we’d blocked the entire show 4 weeks out from opening. This was to ready us for what we have lovingly called #techmonth. Our cast is incredible!
Scott: Smooth and fast. When I first heard the cast sing together, that was an incredible first moment for me. It was like they had been rehearsing for months! Everyone has been so efficient & committed to what they are doing; it has made the whole process so wonderful to be a part of. Truly world class.
Jess: Ridiculously organised, wonderfully productive and fabulously rewarding. WMTC have such an incredible and well-deserved reputation and Shaun runs such a tight and reliable rehearsal.
Mark: To be truthful, Williamstown is quite a travel for me and I never thought I would be doing a show with them. However, seeing some of their recent shows and the quality they produced, I started to think maybe the travel aspect would not be so bad. When Frankenstein was announced, I was intrigued and researched the show, and found that I would be very keen to have a go at the role I am ultimately going to be portraying. Seeing Shaun’s name attached and having worked with him in the past was what inevitably sealed the deal for me to audition. I have not been let down or disappointed in anyway. Working with Shaun and Sallyanne again has been just as good as it was last time and Tyson is an exceptional musical director. As for the company itself, it has lived up to my expectations and I would recommend anyone to give themselves a chance to work with this wonderful company.
Scott: This is the first time working with Shaun as a Director. Big teddy bear that guy is but I couldn’t help but feel a little intimidated being next to him at times. He is just that good! Sal has been a wonderful support and Tyson is masterful behind the music. There has been no bitching or egos to deal with which is sooooooo good. Just passionate people getting together for the love of it and doing what they do really, really well! I would certainly work with WMTC again; it’s been an absolute blast!
Katie: I’ve always wanted to work with Shaun as a director. The talent and vision of the whole creative team is such a pleasure to be immersed in. I’m so excited to be back on stage at WMTC (my last show being Chicago). The producing team, lead by company President Marcus Cassidy-Anderson, run such a slick, supportive, professional and vibrant operation. As a cast, we feel completely at home and know that we are in the best of hands.
Jess: Perfection. Ever since I saw Shaun play Javert in Les Mis (dare I say, ten years ago) I’ve been an avid fan girl and follower. His directorial efforts are always so thorough, so precise, so intelligent and so professionally executed – I just knew Frankenstein with Shaun in the Directors role would be something I had to be involved in. The pre-production work that’s been put into getting this show up is beyond anything I’ve ever really seen – there’s so much passion for this piece and for creating a version of it that’s exciting, unique and a sensory ‘experience’ rather than just a bunch of people acting on a stage with a tree and some haze. And Tyson is an exceptional musical director – the two of them make a formidable team and it’s been a wonderful journey. I’m very proud of this production and I can’t wait for the first of our audiences to cast their eyes upon it.
Scott: I definitely think audiences will get their money’s worth with this one. They will be witnessing some exciting things on stage. You should come for the sound effects alone!
Katie: It’s such a special opportunity to be able to bring to life characters for the first time. I’m eagerly anticipating the many shades of reactions, from our premier audiences, to this thrilling production. I’ve been describing it to folk as Jekyll & Hyde meets Les Mis meets Phantom meets…? But you know what? Frankenstein definitely has its own thing going on. One thing is for sure, you won’t have seen another musical production like it!
Williamstown Musical Theatre Company’s production of ‘Frankenstein, A New Musical’ opens next Friday 7th November and is running until Saturday 22nd November 2014. For further information please click here or call 1300 881 545.
Article originally posted on www.theatrepeople.com.au on Friday 31st October 2014
Early Bird Tickets have now been released for our Australian Premiere Production of Frankenstein – A New Musical running from the 7th to 22nd November 2014 at the Williamstown Mechanics Institute Theatre.
From Friday 15th August to Friday 12th September, 2014
Dinner and Show Packages are also available, click here for further information.
With earnest ballads and soaring ensemble numbers, this compelling new musical brings the suspense and romance of the classic tale to life in a uniquely faithful, yet thoroughly innovative adaptation of Mary Shelley’s original novel. In his quest to discover the secret of life, Victor Frankenstein, a brilliant young scientist, creates a human of his own design that turns out to instead be a horrifying beast. This is no “Hollywood monster,” but a flesh-and-blood man who, while terrifying in appearance, grows to become articulate, cunning, and thirsting for revenge upon the creator who abandoned him. A tragic love story and exploration of humanity, Frankenstein – A New Musical, breathes new life into the world-renowned story of man and creator pitted against one another in epic battle. Authors Mark Baron, Jeffrey Jackson, and Gary P. Cohen have sought to create a work that was uniquely faithful to Shelley’s original novel while offering a bold, new experience for modern theatre audiences. The result is a thrilling “mindscape” that brings the timeless myth of Frankenstein to life as never before.
It’s fairly safe to say that rarely is there a child that has not been brought up hearing of the wonders of the adventures of Peter Pan in Neverland. That timeless story of the Boy that never grew up has been told to generations, even becoming a dream of sorts for children and adults alike; never grow up. For the cast and crew of Williamstown Musical Theatre Company’s Junior program, now in its fourth year, those dreams have become a reality with their upcoming production of Disney’s Peter Pan, Jr.
Last week I was fortunate to be able to have to opportunity to meet with Director Stuart Dodge, and Peter Pan himself, fourteen year old Campbell Bonello to have a chat.
Walking through backstage at the Williamstown Mechanics Institute Theatre, there was already a sense of magic in the air. It was the end of their final rehearsal before the madness of tech week, and the buzz of near-opening night was certainly in the air. There were fairies flying about, weaving between backstage and the dressing rooms, ready for the next scene while a beautiful harmonies of young voices singing ‘You Can Fly’. It was very clear from the beginning that this was a group that was madly in love with what they had created.
While waiting for a few last minute things to tidy up, I was lucky to be given a behind the scenes tour of the stage and set by Campbell (how many people can say that they were shown around Neverland by Peter Pan?). With a smile on my face, it truly felt as though I had stepped into Neverland, and was left completely in awe by the magnificent sets that truthfully have to be seen to be believed.
Being youth theatre, there was always going to be differences when it came to talking with cast and crew about the pressures facing them during last minute rehearsal and production week. When speaking to most adults, a common theme is the late nights and the harsh hours that go into making sure the production was ready for opening night. Upon asking both Stuart and Campbell how everything was going, I received a resounding ‘AMAZING’. It was nothing but smiles and praise for every aspect of the final rehearsal process.
My first question was regarding the choice of the performance.
“Disney shows are always popular, and really well known. This has are some amazing themes in it as well, courage, respect, trust and the importance of family.” Stuart said. “We looked for a kids show that will obviously appeal to both cast and audiences, and Peter Pan is one of the most loved movies of all time.”
Stuart is certainly no stranger to theatre, having been involved with theatre for seventeen years now, both onstage and off playing such roles as The Wedding Singer’s Glen Gulia, Chicago’s Amos Hart and Daddy Brubeck in Sweet Charity. In 2010, he and fellow director Ang Cuy (who returns to WMTC as Musical Director for Peter Pan), were approached to start the junior program at Williamstown. The program has since put on performances of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, High School Musical, Annie, and now Peter Pan.
But while his history with WMTC and its junior program is rich, so is his partnership with the boy who never grew up, Campbell Bonello. At age seven, Campbell made his musical theatre debut thanks to the insistence of his sister, when he starred as Abu in a production of Aladdin where Stuart was involved.
“He was tiny and cute, and came up to about my stomach…now he’s taller than me. It’s awful.” Stuart lamented, causing a laugh from Campbell. Just watching the interaction between these two proves the kinds of friendships that can be built through theatre. Though young in age, and set to play the boy who never grew up, Campbell does go against Peter’s character and is very wise beyond his years.
“He’s really taught heaps of us that he doesn’t like the words ‘that’s a good show for kids’. Cause although it’s a kids show, he still expects us to be like adults and that we still can be professional and that’s something I want people to get out of it.”
As well as the friendship these two share, they also share a love for Youth Theatre and the opportunities that it offers the performers of the future.
“If I look at how far this one (Campbell) has come, it’s pretty huge.” Stuart explained. “Kids are really appreciative of everything you give them, they work hard. You get amazing development out of the kids, and they’re just so excited and they build amazing friendships and you just see how much they get out of it…that’s why I love it.”
I asked Campbell what it was like to be able to play such an iconic and beloved character. He grinned brightly, with the same animation and mischievous delight that any Peter Pan should have.
“It’s such a fun role to play, it’s so different to any role I’ve played before. But I like playing it because so many people look up to him. And he’s the boy who never grew up, and that’s what I want to be.”
This production of Peter Pan shows the beloved Disney movie, with all the characters and music that people know and love, but with a few little twists and a few new faces.
The cast of thirty kids, aged from seven to seventeen is a broad and extensive group with a variety of experience, from new first time members, to old pros; with three cast members being veterans of all four of WMTC Junior Program’s shows; Peter Pan, Wendy Darling, and Tinkerbell.
“We’ve got three kids who have been in all four shows with us since we started here. We can see that they’ve had those friendships, but this cast haven’t been excluding anyone. You’ve got these people who have been friends for four or five years and lots of new people, with a lot of first timers to the cast, and you wouldn’t know.” Stuart said.
“I love the cast. And it’s good forming relationships with the cast and being really good friends and close to the cast, and that’s something I love about theatre; the relationships you form.” Campbell grinned.
Stuart agreed wholeheartedly. “It’s such an all-embracing group, they’ve been fantastic. No little cliques that you get. With these guys, it’s all in.”
I asked Campbell what he hoped the audience would get out of the performance.
“I think they should come and see the show, cause it’s a good show. I mean, the costumes are amazing the sets, lighting…just everything’s amazing.”
The Junior Program is a completely community based volunteer organisation, and it has astounded both cast and crew at how generous the community has been with their productions, particularly Stuart.
“It’s incredible the amount of work that people are willing to put in, and I feel that people go that little bit extra for the kids shows, because they can see just how much these guys get out of it, and how important it is to them and their lives. You know, it’s Glee essentially here, it’s true. You know, you might be an outcast, the daggy theatre kids, but here their talent and their personality are celebrated at every rehearsal.”
Once again, Campbell smiled and nodded his head, summing up this whole experience perfectly in a few simple words:
“I’m very lucky.”
Just before wrapping up the interview, I did have one request…to hear Peter Pan’s mighty crow. Campbell, though slightly rosy cheeked, held his hands on his hips in that proud Pan stance and crowed. But to hear it, you’ll have to see the show!
One thing that I have gathered by just half an hour with this company, is that it it’s a group of people doing what they love. It is so incredibly crystal clear that each individual member of the cast and crew adore every moment of putting on what is sure to be an incredible performance, using a whole lot of faith, trust…and yeah, perhaps a little pixie dust.
Truly, there is only one way to even begin to experience the magic yourself, and that is to come down to the Williamstown Mechanics Institute Theatre and see this incredible show.
Article by Taylor Kendal on Thursday, 7th Aug 2014 –
Originally posted on www.theatrepeople.com.au
Williamstown Musical Theatre Company Inc is pleased to announce the cast of our November 2014 Australian Premiere Production of ‘Frankenstein, A New Musical‘.
The production will run from the 7th to 22nd November, Early Bird Tickets released on Friday 15th August.
|Victor Frankenstein –||Scott Mackenzie|
|The Creature –||Mark Doran|
|Elizabeth Lavenza –||Katie Weston|
|Henry Clerval –||Bradley Dylan|
|Justine –||Jessica Barlow|
|Alphonse Frankenstein –||Paul Batey|
|Captain Walton/ Blind Man –||Peter Dennis|
|Agatha –||Britt Lewis|
|William Frankenstein –||Campbell Bonello|
|Caroline Frankenstein –||Bianca Bramham|
|Ensemble –||Marco Fusco|
Further information is available on the production by clicking here.
We are thrilled to present the Australian Premiere production of Frankenstein, A New Musical in November 2014.
We caught up with director, Shaun Kingma, to discuss the show and what the production team is looking for in the upcoming auditions.
Tyson and I were looking to work together again on a new project, having thoroughly enjoying working with WMTC in 2012 on Next to Normal. We, and the company, wanted to go somewhere a little more left of centre. Tyson and I share an affinity for horror films and have wanted to merge this into our stage work with a project that was dramatically and musically satisfying. Finding a good horror musical is not easy though – the pickings are slim, with only a small handful to choose from.
As luck would have it, I remembered a random recording I picked up somewhere for Frankenstein, A New Musical. Having another listen, I realised how much I enjoyed the originality of the show: the very clever use of storytelling and the unusual structure of the show. It felt fresh, new and incredibly raw and human at the same time. It seemed to cut away the typical black and white film version we have all come to know and brought the story back to its roots. On top of this, the music certainly left a big impression (it hasn’t left my playlist for months now).
WMTC seemed the perfect choice for this show – a supportive company that provides an environment where creativity can flourish and that is willing to take a risk on an unknown production.
As we are now nearing the end of our pre-production phase, we can’t wait to explore this new show with our cast. It is an epic piece of theatre and I think we are all going to be in for one hell of a ride!
‘We are looking for a small cast of 15. This is very much an ensemble piece, with many roles doubling, including
some of the principal roles. It will be a very busy show for all, so we are looking for people who enjoy the challenge of playing multiple roles and who want to flex their vocal and acting muscles.
As this is an almost completely new show (having only been performed off-Broadway and one or two other US locations) we are looking for people who want to share the experience of creating something new and different, not just a carbon copy of a Broadway production. There are no preconceived ideas for the show, no templates we have to follow. This is highly exciting for the production team and we hope our cast will help us in this journey.
Because of this, we also don’t have preconceived ideas of how each character should look. We are very open-minded at this stage for each role and what each performer may bring to it. That said, there are some specifics that would be required. (Please see audition listing for full cast breakdown.)
As the piece is almost entirely sung through, obviously vocals are important. But equally important is the ability to tell the story clearly through these songs and musical interludes.
The show itself is set in the late 1700’s, however this will not necessarily be a period piece. We will not be looking to stage a melodrama. We want to create a show that is fresh and modern, that has a rawness and a definite edge to it. The cast is integral to achieving this.
The show follows the story of Frankenstein (remember Frankenstein is the creator, not the creature) and his Creation. The story initially leads you to believe it is all about revenge, but it soon reveals itself to have a much more powerful meaning. The show very cleverly uses some interesting storytelling devices which ensure that the audience members are always on the edge of their seats, not knowing where the story will lead next. This is quite an accomplishment, given how well we all know the story of Frankenstein. The music drives the narrative forward at every moment, with minimal stops for applause (which also allow the audience to take a well deserved breath as well).
We are extremely lucky to have the support of the composer and writer of the show, allowing us artistic freedom in the development of this staging. We are hoping to incorporate one or two extra songs from their original drafts and cannot wait to workshop these pieces.
There are definitely some things I will be keeping very tight lipped about. The set itself is most certainly a first for this company and it contains many, many surprises. I don’t want to give too much away, but I have been working on the design for the past six months and it has certainly been the most challenging concept to devise but, now that it is finished, the most satisfying.
As the show constantly moves from location to location and jumps back and forth in its time line, it requires a filmic approach; one of constant action. Though not necessarily a horror story (it has more to say about humanity than horror or science fiction), fans of horror films will certainly get a kick out of it as well.
It is not only the look of the show that will set its tone, but its soundscape. This is almost a character in itself and I hope this will add yet another layer to a very different, but thrilling, evening.
Four very friendly faces!
We want you to do your best – we are on your side. Remember that all of us on the production team are also performers who know exactly what it’s like standing there. We are rooting for you!
All we ask is for you to do your best. Try to choose songs that show you off in the best possible way and are suitable for the show (a tiny bit of research beforehand pays off in a big way….).
We are not asking for monologues (we can hear the collective sigh of relief), just a sing and a chat and possibly a small read.
Those notified of any callbacks (if required) will also have plenty of time and information to prepare.
Enjoy and relax.
Last but not least, we wish all our auditionees the best of luck! We hope that you enjoy your audition experience and look forward to seeing you in July.”
Auditions for Frankenstein, A New Musical will be taking place from Sunday 20th July.
Click here for further information and a breakdown of audition requirements.
Production photos by Carol Rosegg.
Original Article posted on TheatrePeople.com.au – June 2014
We are excited to announce the cast of our August 2014 Junior Program Production of ‘Peter Pan Jr’.
|Peter Pan –||Campbell Bonello|
|Wendy Darling –||Madison Peake|
|Tinkerbell –||Phoebe Hogarth|
|Captain Hook / Mr Darling –||Matthew Bullock|
|Smee –||Luey Kemp-Mykyta|
|John Darling –||Oliver Palamara|
|Michael Darling –||Tom Umseher|
|Tiger Lilly / Treasure Hunter Tracey –||Belinda Barichello|
|Chief Tiger Bamboo / Red Beard –||Darcy Ward|
|Mrs Darling / Gunpowder Gertie / Brave Willow –||Cassandra Byleveld|
|Iridessa / Aquata –||Mia Decleva|
|Silvermist / Andrina –||Tennile Adams|
|Fawn / Arista –||Amelia Leach|
|Lyria / Alanna –||Kaitlyn Barasso|
|Vidia / Adela –||Keely Bowker|
|Rosetta / Atina –||Paris Valentino|
|Fox –||Ella Crowley|
|Cubby –||Alyssa Ivkovic|
|Skunk –||Thalia Osegueda|
|Hop –||Freya Cantwell|
|Racoon Twin –||Jorjah-Rose Sharp|
|Racoon Twin –||Molly Dale|
|Clubfoot Cookson / Brave Walnut –||Lily Belford|
|Mean Murphy / Brave Weed –||Chloe Taylor|
|Simple Minded Noodler / Brave Shrub –||Madeleine Checketts|
|Sweet Skylights / Brave Twig –||Emma DeMarchi|
|Nana / Petunia the Plunderer / Brave Seedling –||Rhiana Eastland|
|Nana / One Eyed Wanda / Brave Sapling –||Romy Cantwell|
|Cockney Flint / Brave Pine –||Lucas Ivkovic|
|Scottish Jukes / Brave Oak –||James Howe|
Tickets for our August 2014 production of Peter Pan Junior have now been released.
Book your tickets before Friday 13th June and save!
Click here for further information.
From Friday 16th May to Friday 13th June, 2014
After Friday 13th June 2014 prices revert to: