Posts Tagged ‘John Bucchino


David Campbell and John Bucchino in Concert


David Campbell and John Bucchino in Concert

QPAC & Queensland Cabaret Festival

QPAC Concert Hall

June 6 2014


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


These two talented entertainers are old friends and it shows. There is such a delightful energy between David Campbell and John Bucchino. Whether or not the music is familiar, this is an enjoyable show and a great, relaxed night out.




I love the music, which we got to know very well during Bucchino’s last visit to Oz in 2011, when he joined Georgia Stitt and Jason Robert Brown for a tour of concerts and masterclasses. Bucchino’s CD It’s Only Life has been a favourite in the car ever since and if you consider for a moment how much driving I do that is high praise indeed! The new album, a collaboration between Bucchino and Campbell is out now (and has joined the collection in the car). During Bucchino’s Brisbane masterclass it was fascinating to hear a bit of background – the secrets behind the songs – and observe cabaret magic happen as Bucchino practically handed the vocalists the keys to unlock each song. This we see happening again, but it’s our mate, David Campbell, sharing the intricacies and intimacies of each story, with the perfect example being the opening number, Sweet Dreams. This is a catch-in-your-throat song if ever we heard one. It’s one of my favourite sad songs of all time. It sets a slightly sombre tone for the evening, giving die-hard fans the chance to reimagine the bittersweet stories behind the lyric and newbies (many, I suspect, being television morning show fans) just enough gentle time perhaps to adjust any pre-conceived notions. The mood lifts with the upbeat number that follows, and so begins our rollercoaster evening, punctuated by some super slick shtick and very funny apologies from both Bucchino and Campbell for their over-indulgence in comfortable chat and private jokes to make us feel as if we might be in one or the other’s living room.


I enjoyed the pair’s easy repartee, and felt it added to the intimacy of the show. My mum, and others I suspect, might have preferred to hear more of the music! If you know Bucchino you’ll know his music is not exactly all-Broadway and it’s not quite “cabaret” either, but what is that now, anyway? (Campbell explains his take on contemporary cabaret to arts writer, Elissa Blake, here). It’s somewhere in between, and it gives someone like Campbell the perfect opportunity to flex his performance muscles. He’s a born entertainer – we knew this already – but it’s in the portrayal of a character from Bucchino’s Broadway show, A Catered Affair, that we see once again Campbell’s natural acting ability. He steps forward and slips into the role of the father of a reluctant bride and I make a mental note: tell Lisa (Campbell) to get this guy back into musical theatre. (And I do, immediately after the show via Instagram). Campbell even references Shout! The Legend of the Wild One and for half a second it seems that were a musical theatre option brought to the table he might just let an arm be twisted. In stark contrast, it should be noted that Campbell just as effortlessly takes Bucchino’s hit song from the DreamWorks animated movie Joseph: King of Dreams and makes it his own. He makes this little story, one of the complete ones, soar and sear our hearts.


It helps that there is so much in the music to share. Bucchino is a precise lyricist and a gifted storyteller, but not in the traditional sense of the word. In fact we almost get just as much story in those apologetic interludes as we do in the songs, as he takes great pains to establish the context of each, remembering and describing the people and places that have served as inspiration. The songs themselves become just snippets! But what intriguing snippets, what delectable morsels they are. (Warning: foodie references to follow). Sometimes they start and end with just a feeling, pure intensity, making me think, inexplicably, of Silky’s Pop Cakes, filled with honey, which she serves with Toffee Shocks and Google Buns to unsuspecting guests in her cosy home at the top of The Faraway Tree. (I found a recipe for Pop Cakes here! Wheeeee!).




Of course all composers will claim their songs come from pure feeling but these are different, defining a core feeling from very few words, or from many more words than we might expect. Even when the story “ends”, we can hear that beyond the song the story goes on. The evening is basically a banquet of exquisite tasting plates, just like we find at a couple of our favourite spots that deserve a shout out here, Ole (Little Stanley Street) and the Spice Bar (Mooloolaba Esplanade). Unexpressed and Feels Like Home are lovely, light, warm and delicious little dishes that give us an appetite for something more, something like Puddle of Love. Sweet Dreams and Playbill offer an entirely different taste, like Zumbo’s caramel salted somethings (this is not Zumbo – I know ’cause I finally met him this year at Noosa International Food & Wine Festival! But if you wanna’ try making his macarons this vid is GOOD! REMEMBER- DO NOT OVER PULSE AND DO NOT OVER BAKE. JUST SAYING). On My Bedside Table is the laughter that goes with liquor and cigars at the end of a great night. Taking the Wheel is genuinely joyous; full of zest, and Grateful brings the evening to a gentle, not-too-sentimental close, sending us out with satisfied smiles.


This concert is an intimate insight into a long-lasting friendship and two very different – but maybe not so much – creative careers. Bucchino and Campbell are masters of song and story. I feel privileged to have been a guest at what feels like a living room post-show champagne and canapé party around the piano. This is fun, fascinating and truly entertaining cabaret, and it’s touring so get onto it! Tour dates below.




Friday 6 June Brisbane QPAC Concert Hall
Friday 13 June Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Saturday 14 June Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Wednesday 18 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Thursday 19 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Friday 20 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Saturday 21 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Sunday 22 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Wednesday 25 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Thursday 26 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Friday 27 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Saturday 28 June Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Sunday 29 June Riverside Theatre, Parramatta




summer of the seventeenth doll

Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

Belvoir & QTC 

QPAC Playhouse 

23.02.12 – 11.03.12

Everything is temporary…

– John Bucchino

Opening night of Belvoir’s touring production of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll and QPAC’s Playhouse buzzed… with La Boite type energy! Unheard of! After many a quiet, conservative evening out at QPAC (Rock of Ages not included!), it was a pleasure to be amongst another city crowd who got genuinely, noisily, excited about theatre. Bet the board is happy about that. But then, La Boite and QTC are talking more and more and somebody at QTC this year is really good at getting us talking…

Steve Le Marquand and Alison Whyte. Image by Jeff Busby.

What’s not to get excited about? C’mon! You may have studied it to death, but Ray Lawler’s iconic play, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, in this revival by Neil Armfield for Belvoir, is of the highest calibre, like all my dad’s butterflies; captured and neatly killed in a jar of ethyl acetate, perfectly preserved and pinned down, and ending up in a Perspex box on the wall to be admired and wondered at (my dad’s an entomologist so we grew up getting just as excited about dead insects as living ones). Look, this will probably be the best you’ve seen the Doll done. You might not love it but I think you’ll find that, like a fine wine, this is a play that’s getting better with age (the further behind we leave something, the easier it is to look upon it with nostalgia? Of course, this doesn’t apply to Mt Isa and certain ex-boyfriends). Lawler’s classic could be considered the Grange Hermitage of Australian drama and if you miss this vintage, you’ll probably be left to wonder why you didn’t get in on the deal earlier. On the other hand, you might wonder what all the fuss is about. You should see it if only to work out whether or not to join the staunch likers or the wandering, wondering I-don’t-knowers, who are still smiling and nodding.

I’m in two minds about it. I think in Queensland, contrary to our laid-back reputation, we are a fairly excitable bunch. I didn’t get to writing about the Doll earlier because I was so excited about seeing this production that seeing it turned out to be not quite as exciting as the anticipation of seeing it. And I’ve been thinking about it since. And this, wrapped around a bit of a review, is what I’ve been thinking…

Though the cane-cutting days are over, to a certain extent the story still stands, at least in terms of its look at the mundaneness of daily life and the relationships within a strained household. It’s the same these days but different. The characters loom large, like paper dolls; exquisite 1950’s colour cutouts. The wardrobe choices are fabulous. Truly, these are some of our most recognisable Aussie types. There’s the jaded Roo (Steve Le Marquand) and his comical best mate, Barney (Travis McMahon), the cane cutters from Queensland, who spend the long months of the layoff each year at old Emma’s house down south. This year, the seventeenth (I know you’ll count the kewpie dolls too), the group dynamics are a little different, with Olive’s stuck-up city friend, Pearl, coming to stay, Bubba (Eloise Winestock) from next door all grown up and Roo’s rival from up north, Johnnie Dowd (James Hoare), dropping in and upsetting the apple cane cart.

The women in this cast are so strong that, collectively, they outshine the male talent, though fans of Le Marquand will disagree. I disliked his Neanderthal jaw, which seemed to set in stone his character, which was more a caricature than the real guy with real hang-ups and real self-loathing beneath. On the other hand, Alison Whyte as Olive (for the first half of the Brisbane run) is more believable, surviving with and without her Roo. She has her life with him and her independent life, which is just fine thank you very much, without him. Where Le Marquand’s emotion seems overplayed, Whyte’s is – mostly – spot on. There’s a bit of Blanchett in her subtlety and it suits her. If you’re going to borrow, borrow from the best. Helen Thomson as the prim and proper Pearl, with her Julia-doing-her-best-to-emulate-Ita pitched voice, almost steals the show. I adore her. I must practice chortling just like her. But then there is Robyn Nevin as Emma, a study in sublime confidence and the nuance of character. Of course we expect nothing less from Nevin. She is our Judi Dench, our Meryl Streep and the price of a ticket is worth seeing her performance alone. These tough women remind me of my mother’s family, sisters under different matriarchal roofs, the mother and the grandmother I hear so rarely about, the daughters learning how to survive together and apart. The stories are sobering reminders of how lucky we are now. Theirs was a different, more difficult, era.

Obviously, being so young myself and not having had the chance to hear it authentically at the time, I find the language and the slang within it, the nasality, the phrasing and inflection on stage all real enough, though at times the acting is too much. We can only hope that the nauseating dialect, for which we are well known as a nation, thanks largely to this play, is a dying sound, reserved for use in the theatre. Rarely. Would somebody tell Gillard? And Hollywood? Thanks.

There is terrific use by the actors, of space offstage, with voices coming from the wings, as if in another part of the house and, at least to the carnivorous amongst us, the appetising smell of sizzling bacon, creating a fourth dimension and lulling us into a false sense of security before the storm. Act 3 is suddenly and dramatically stripped bare; the shock of Armfield’s high walls (like Olive, I hate their colour) brought from his “little corner” at Belvoir, made more imposing than cosy. For a production so intent on its detail, it’s strange to have a kitchen window through which the breeze blows, but out of which we see only black, no matter the time of day. Strange too, to have a set of stairs in Emma’s house, leading to the bedrooms, that appears to be constructed from steel and concrete rather than timber. The working pianola gives us the sense that Emma will not always be around but her legacy will live on and the past will always linger. Are they deliberate attempts to place this play nowhere and at the same time, within an otherwise exact design, precisely “then” and eerily “now”? When I think on them, these ill-fitting elements, along with the over-fought fighting, the over-crawled crawling, the over-shaken shaking etc, work their way into my head like wood rot, spoiling the naturalistic style Armfield would otherwise have me embrace.

This is old-fashioned storytelling but not like the telling of a fairytale, in which we can, through long-practiced habit, lose ourselves in the fantasy. We don’t so much get involved in the lives of these characters as watch and wonder at what’s happening, the way I marvel at the people who inhabit my mother and my aunt’s stories without being able to relate to them. We abhor the treatment of women-at-home and the demands of men-at-work (no matter that the women, in their perfectly applied red lipstick, are away every day pouring beer at the pub for the lazy bastards who are off work for five months and sitting around somebody else’s house without lifting a finger, drinking somebody else’s beer or painting somebody else’s town red). We wonder at the traditions and tawdry expectations of a time gone by. No doubt there is a generation of theatre goers who know these scenes all too well.

We wonder if so much has changed.

Or perhaps we don’t. Perhaps we admire the high production values and relish seeing some of our top actors on a stage in lil’ ol’ Brisbane. I wonder. I can’t help but think what did we need this very expensive, highly regarded piece of theatre to do? And, with regard to the story, the essence of which we think is long-gone; I can’t help but think, with so many friends electing to take on work with mining companies, I’m seeing the same thing happen here now. The men fly in, fly out, leaving the women at work in the home to bring up the children and run a small business to boot! Too bad if she has a notion to continue studying or take up Flamenco dancing! She’s tired and faded and preparing dinner and perfectly applying bright red lippy for when the husband comes home so he sees how much his hard work is appreciated by the Doll he married. It’s a reflection of the saddest aspects of a working class life. Do we have that still? Not like our parents and their parents did. Now we get our red lippy from the Chanel counter! Now we go for drinks and tapas by the water! Now we’re not putting up with the same bloody curtains for sixteen years! Now it’s retro-trend to arrange the flowers in a re-cycled beer bottle! Frankie says so! Everything is temporary, perhaps more so now than ever before. We just can’t bear to live out the long, languid days, accepting second best anymore. We refuse to live that sort of lacklustre life, even if our new, more exciting (across social media at least) lifestyle will be our undoing.

Summer of the Seventeenth Doll is a play I’ve never had a lot of love for. It was a reflection of real life for such a short time. We have a short history and, as a country, we’re moving forward faster than the pessimists (and some playwrights) would have us believe. We’re also keeping a lot of Perspex boxes out. Theatre needs to keep up. Playwrights need to catch up. It’s incredible that we have a revival of a play blessed by its 92-year-old playwright. Now let’s move on. When I go to the theatre, I would rather be swept away by what’s happening in a world that resembles my own, than be asked to look on and observe what’s already happened in somebody else’s droll one. Like an old photo album or the butterflies on Dad’s wall, Armfield’s is a beautiful production, but it’s just not as exciting as I’d thought it would be. Perhaps you thought differently.


John Bucchino, Georgia Stitt & Friends in Concert

Lazy post disclaimer: in case you didn’t catch it over there, this is my Briz Tix review over here…

Featuring Marika Aubrey, Tod Strike, Andy Conaghan,

Angela Harding, Luke Kennedy and Madeline Cain

QLD Conservatorium Wednesday March 3rd

Your Management International and Harvest Rain Theatre Company

It’s shaping up to be a big year for Brisbane’s musical theatre scene, especially for those ambitious (some might say crazy) souls whose only desire is to join the industry as a “triple-threat” performer. Finally, I can see that there are real opportunities beginning to be presented, for aspiring artists to train and acquire work (in their preferred industry) in Queensland. Finally – dare I say it – we seem to be approaching a phase of development and commitment from some of the major stakeholders, which means our talent can choose to stay here, make their base here, find work here and then choose to play here, there and everywhere! Now, I didn’t say it’s happened yet. But now I see that it will.

For example, by the end of their third busy day, Griffith’s Queensland Conservatorium’s first ever intake of Musical Theatre students, thanks to the enigmatic Paul Sabey, had worked with Lucy Durack, John Bucchino and Georgia Stitt. Next week, they have Jason Robert Brown and Rachael Beck in their midst. Before the end of their second week of tertiary study, these students will have rubbed shoulders with some of the very best in the industry, within the re-vamped Con. The once dowdy foyer space has been completely transformed and now looks the part, providing a world-class venue, befitting of acclaimed artists such as Stitt, Bucchino and Brown. Incredible! How lucky these students are!

And how lucky we are, to have been given a taste of the best in the business already, with Harvest Rain’s Broadway to Brisvegas series last year bringing to The Powerhouse, Scott Alan, James Sampliner and Shoshana Bean. This year, in association with the dynamic Jeremy Youett, of Your Management International, we are truly blessed to have, again, a little bit of Broadway magic come to Brisbane.

Having attended the master class on Tuesday night, I was looking forward to hearing some of the songs performed again, this time by seasoned performers, accompanied by the composers themselves, in a recital setting. Most were familiar faces and voices: Luke Kennedy, Angela Harding, Tod Strike, Madeline Cain, Andy Conaghan and Marika Aubrey.

The format of the evening was very simply a stand and deliver concert, with John Bucchino’s work showcased in the first half and Georgia Stitt’s in the second.

John Bucchino casts an imposing presence and reveals a gentle soul. He plays (and composes) by ear. Knowing this makes his talent all the more extraordinary. His music is complex, multi-layered; it is beautiful and joyous and delicious…and fierce and cheeky and fun! It is real and it reminds us that life is supposed to be fun. And challenging. And confusing. And in life, we will have happiness and hurt and forgiveness and love and laughter and therapy and tears and hope. It is sophisticated stuff. Bucchino’s songs are about such simple things but they demand the deep emotional reservoirs and excellent technique of singers who are comfortable enough in their own skins to make sense of the context, make the personal connections and then tell the stories simply, confidently and above all, truthfully.

Georgia Stitt is gorgeous, vibrant, exuding infectious energy and offering the warmth of her generous heart in every smile. There’s also something cheeky and lovely and relaxed about her performance style, opting to sing a couple of her own songs – these are obviously closest to her heart at the moment – and it was endearing to hear from her, “Susan (Egan) sings it better than me but I enjoy it!” Stitt is an amazing talent, comfortable and confident, exactly as she sings in The Me of the Moment. Is it any wonder that she found her bashert in the witty, crazy-talented Jason Robert Brown?! Talk about a Power Couple!

Stitt’s music, like Bucchino’s, offers many unexpected gifts to singers, leading them through the whole gamut of emotions (and quite often back again), allowing plenty of opportunity to play. How lucky these singers are, to have been given the opportunity to play with two amazing artists of this caliber!

Testament to this was Marika Aubrey’s gorgeous rendition of I Get to Show You the Ocean, which Stitt wrote for her eldest daughter and which, by the end of the first chorus, had me in tears because, clearly, really, she wrote this song for my daughter and I! And so says every mother after every show, I’m sure. In Stitt’s Big Wings, Aubrey let loose her big ol’ country belt voice that further demonstrated her ability to sell a strong character.

Madeline Cain treated us to two contrasting numbers from Stitt’s Alphabet City Cycle and The Song with the Violins (Bucchino) but my favourite was This Moment (Bucchino). Cain nailed it.

Brisbane has a true songbird in Angela Harding. Her interpretations seem genuine, she is present in every moment and her voice soars. Her comical ability comes through in the lighter numbers. I enjoyed a more mature interpretation of My Lifelong Love (Stitt) but for me, It Feels Like Home (Bucchino) was perfect.

Todd Strike took on the unenviable task of singing These Two, the song Stitt wrote as a wedding gift for her husband, giving it due respect and letting us in for half a moment, to catch the tiniest glimpse of the real, raw artist that likes to take refuge under that star quality exterior of his. I’m certain Strike has more to give.

Luke Kennedy is a bit of a darling on our Brisbane stages and I’m happy to say he did nothing to dent his reputation. Kennedy has an impressive vocal range and Bucchino’s Unexpressed was the perfect opening number. Stitt’s One Day More, no doubt won Kennedy a few new fans; these songs make it easy to fall in love with the singer and Kennedy plays the audience beautifully. Even as the married man of somewhat questionable behaviour (or perhaps because of it) in Platonic Affair (Stitt), he is irresistible.

Andy Conaghan is the consummate performer and in my opinion, brought to the stage a level of professionalism and self-confidence that put the final polish on the evening. His voice is superb and his easy manner completely charming. Bucchino’s Taking the Wheel and Grateful showed us two sides to Conaghan, while Stitt’s Air, if we were not already convinced, proved his technical ability and roguish, earnest appeal. I don’t mind making a big call and predicting that Andy Conaghan is going to be the Next Big Thing.

Until recently, it would have been unimaginable for Brisbane to be up to delivering anything like the Australian Concert and Master Class Series. The fact that it’s happening here, now, is testament to Brisbane’s determination to become a leading arts city in this country and indeed, its capacity to do so. What an exciting time to be a part of the performing arts industry here, when we are graced by the presence of the likes of Georgia Stitt and John Bucchino.

I can’t wait until next week. Bring on Jason Robert Brown and Rachael Beck!


Georgia Stitt and John Bucchino: Master Class

Hello, I’m Xanthe and it’s been a month since my last post. This is not because I have had nothing to say. I have, in fact, had a lot to say and I’ve said it via the social media channels or to people in actual conversations (remember those? You get more than 140 characters to explain what you mean) as well as within the pages of a little journal that Typo has pre-named for me, as per its pretty design: Pretty Birds. Now, don’t get me started on Typo. Or their Pretty Birds range. I will photograph and post the entire Pretty Birds range, which I actually do have, and by doing so, I will make my obsession real, and in acknowledging it, be on the road to recovery. Maybe. Or maybe it is a necessary obsession, feeding my soul and filling the well…

The real road to recovery this year is about the creative. And if, by mentioning the Morning Pages, you are prompted to smile or cringe or cry, then you are surely an artist and you know what I’ve been up to. I’ve been writing upon waking for about 30 mins every day, about whatever, in long-hand (YES! Using a PEN! On PAPER!) before The Editor in me wakes up, turns on and chips in about every little thing imaginable. And by every little thing, I mean YOU ARE NOT A WRITER. And all the rest of it, berating me for trying anything at all, including getting Poppy to school on time. You know that voice. Well, I’ve always known that it needs to say those things. It certainly needs an outlet. But I certainly don’t have to listen to it. I just have to let it go. In what Julia Cameron calls “blurts”. I invariably write about good stuff too. It’s just harder to come by, harder to recall. Isn’t it? See what’s happening? Rhetorical questions, stream of consciousness and because I’m allowing the flow, it might take a few additional thoughts to get to where we’re going. Brevity has never been my strong point. It’s okay, it’s all connected; John Bucchino even has his own version of the Morning Pages. It’s true! We’ll meander back to what I started out with in just a minute. Patience, Grasshopper.

The writing of the Morning Pages has been easy, committing the time to do them has not been; just like when I wrote all those journals right through high school. I would write pages and pages if I’d made the time to do them. I still have them somewhere. The English teachers had it right (Thank you, Jane Jensen, Rita Rainnie, et al)! But I’m so busy now! This intriguing, frustrating, liberating, creative daily task is an integral part of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, a journey of discovery and recovery of self, which my dear friend, a fabulous artist by the name of Denise Daffara (I’ve mentioned her before because when she’s painted you, you know you’ve made it), decided to embark upon. And upon which I decided to join her. I wasn’t feeling like I was doing anything else, despite how “busy” my life was…is! If you’re a creative type and you’re feeling like you’re not creating, I highly recommend it. Well, maybe not all of it; the God bit doesn’t do it for me and instead I think The Universe. Think whatever works.

The same applies to singing, songwriting, whatever. I’m starting at the end of the night. To finish up their incredible master class at the con last night (3 hours flew by), Georgia Stitt and John Bucchino welcomed questions from the floor and spoke about:


“We are SO rooting for you! We want you to be good! Then our job is done”


Casting directors want to see that you have the skills and the colour palette to play the role. “Just make a choice”


Every songwriter embraces a different process. Having been trained in classical music (she was going to be a concert pianist), Georgia’s approach is very mathematical and structured, literally; quite often starting with the actual structure of the song or, probably just as often, a lyrical idea and the music seems to come at the same time (and quite often, this will happen after 3 days of Facebook procrastination)! John, on the other hand, will take out a big sketch book and start to draw, write, scribble, doodle… anything! And, approaching a semblance of an idea in a round-a-bout way, invariably something takes form. His song structure is realised via the same, organic process; it just…kinda…happens. Such is the magic of musical theatre songwriting (and of the Morning Pages concept. Keep the Editor locked away so you can allow the work to happen).

Being a master class, the singers came prepared to work, not necessarily to perform. We knew we were present as observers as opposed to audience and as such, the notebooks and pens and iPhones were out, on laps, from the outset, none of us wanting to miss a tip or a trick!

Our local singers presented openly, earnestly and completely committed to the coaching process, which was gentle and direct. We heard even greater commitment – to each story, to the telling of each – after the first sing. Now, I love coaching but I also love watching great coaches do their thing, their way, in order to coax better, stronger, more focused and more authentic performances from singers and actors who are willing to take big, brave leaps and learn and apply as much as they can.

The process fascinates me.

We heard from:

Josh, who learned from John that it’s usually best to opt for doing less: “Less is really more. If you’re buying it, they’ll get it” It was important to John that Josh – and we, the listeners – know the more personal post script to this song’s sad story; that John had written it in 1992 while his brother was dying from AIDS. This new information informed the way Josh approached the song a second time, giving us less gesture and greater ownership and intent. (Not a Cloud in the Sky)

Emma, who discovered with Georgia the need to distinguish between the little girl and the grown up in the telling of the story. To remember how brave we are at 10 years of age and to realise that we might never be that bold again gave Emma a stronger, more personal connection to the lyric. (My Lifelong Love)

Naomi, who learned to look for the patterns, sing the arc of the song and to earn the belt. Start out at 3 so you’ve got somewhere to go before reaching 10. Know where 10 is (know the arrival). When you get there, “I don’t care if you belt it or you don’t belt it…but sometimes I do.” One well-known performer, when asked at an audition for a Broadway show, “Can you belt an F?” replied, “Have you got anything worth belting an F for?” Georgia says, “Earn the belt.” (I Lay My Armor Down)

Zac, who really started Taking the Wheel once he became specific about what he was singing. Because it’s repetitive, John asked, “How do you keep it interesting? Who are you singing it to?” Zac sang it to himself, about the different stages of his journey to get to where he is right now and it worked. “Doing less but feeling more resonates more.” (Taking the Wheel)

Henry, who worked out how to use the physicality of the song (breathe) to imbue meaning in Georgia’s song, Air (rather than do the “Jekyll and Hyde thing” with the duet, She); “The stakes have to be so high. Strip away the vague. Simplify. Clarify.” Specify. (Air)

Eloise, who also found the arc and the superb simplicity in John’s This Moment, which was cut from John’s Urban Myths because the director didn’t feel that a seventeen year old girl would sing such poetic, poignant words (John wrote another song in its place)! Again, for Eloise; simplify and strip away all of the gesture and just “Make the visceral connection. Show it in your eyes.” (This Moment)

Brad, who gleaned style and interpretation from Georgia: “What are you using the song to do?” Understand the style (does it have a groove)? Know the arrival. In good theatre writing, the music is speaking to the action. Brad had a lot of nervous energy and he didn’t mind jumping around a bit before and after he sang. Nor did we mind him jumping around; it was an endearing thing, keeping it real and reminding us at the end of the night that it is TERRIFYING singing and working on stuff with the people who wrote that stuff! Props to the singers and I hope we see them all again somewhere soon. Some of them were on Day 2 of the new Musical Theatre program so while they’re busy there, they might be a bit quiet outside of the walls but keep an eye out for this first class of graduates in a couple of years…

And to finish? “Know when to stop. Know when it’s good.” And keep doing it.

Tonight, more magic; with Georgia Stitt, John Bucchino and Friends, most of whom will be familiar faces for a Brisbane audience, as well as a special guest; the gorgeous Marika Aubrey. It’s for one night only, tonight at 7:30pm at The Con. Last minute tickets are still available.



Thanks to Your Management International and Harvest Rain Theatre Company, we can enjoy a little bit of Broadway, here, in Brisvegas.


NEXT WEEK: Jason Robert Brown comes to town!

Master Class and concert tickets still available. Don’t miss out!