Posts Tagged ‘melody beck


Your Theatrics International Cabaret Contest 2015



Your Theatrics International Cabaret Contest (YITCC) is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and vying for a spot in the finals, which will give them the chance to win the ultimate prize package, tomorrow night in Brisbane are Amy Church, Judy Hainsworth, Claire Fabri, Trent Sellars, Alastair Tomkins and Cassandra Croucher.

Book here for the Brisbane Heat on Wednesday night!


Friday night in Noosa sees Sunshine Coast performers Emily Vascotto, Kendra Kinnear, Gabriella Flowers, Jenny Wynter, Adam Flower and Cherry Ripe compete for the coveted final places.

Book here for the Noosa Heat on Friday night!


Jenny Wynter


These performers have the opportunity to develop their craft and compete for a world tour to share their original show with audiences in Australia and New York City.

Special Guest and previous winner of the Cabaret Contest, Brad McCaw will also be performing at each heat, after a series of sold out shows.


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If you want to be a cabaret star this is the Big Brother of cabaret comps. The 12th annual Your Theatrics International Cabaret Contest (YTICC) promises a spectacular line-up of talent from all walks of the Australian and New Zealand entertainment industry. The 12th annual event will feature an esteemed panel of judges including Australian film, television, and music theatre star, Mitchell Butel, Artistic Directors of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival, David Read and Neville Sice, President of the Noosa Arts Theatre Liza Park, agent and Founder Emeritus of the event Les Solomon, Artistic Director of the Ballarat Cabaret Festival Graeme Russell, Artistic Director of the Noosa Long Weekend Festival Ian Mackellar, and YTICC Patron Ron Dobell.


Executive Producer Jeremy Youett said, “This contest is about giving artists a platform for exposure to the entertainment industry. The line-up of judges includes some amazing Australian industry leaders in the genre and they have the ability to offer incredible opportunities to entrants that take part. You never know who may show up and what they may be looking for!”


Hosts this year include past YTICC winners and seasoned performers in their own right: in Melbourne, Gillian Cosgriff; in Sydney, Marika Aubrey and Sheridan Harbridge; and in Adelaide, Amelia Ryan, while radio personalities Sam Coward and Mark Darin host our Queensland heats. Guest performers throughout will include Cath Alcorn, Bradley McCaw, Michael Griffiths and 2014 winner Melody Beck, with more surprise guests to be announced.


Tom Sharah

Tom Sharah, previous YTICC winner said “The International Cabaret Contest was the best professional launching pad I could have asked for. It is a one of a kind competition in terms of exposure, prizes and experience.

Winning meant I was able to write and tour my own work, which I still do, and I look up to so many of the other previous winners & contestants.

It has really paved the way for the future of cabaret in Australia!”




In 2015, both the Grand Prize winner and runner-up will be eligible to be offered performance opportunities from our Major Festival Partners. These will include invitations to perform at the Cabaret Festivals of Adelaide, Melbourne, Ballarat, and Queensland, as well as the Festival of Voices in Tasmania and the Noosa Long Weekend Festival, which all guarantee flights and accommodation. The Grand Prize winner will also receive the opportunity to present their show on an Australia/Pacific Cruise ship thanks to Grayboy Entertainment, as well as at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, with flights and accommodation for their appearance to the value of $3000 generously contributed by The Ron and Margaret Dobell Foundation. There’s a cash prize of $1000 for the winner, a photographic and marketing package from Blueprint Studios valued at $1000, a Music Theatre and Cabaret music and book package from Hal Leonard, as well as tour publicity from which will spotlight the winner’s creative process as they develop and tour their show. The runner-up will receive a $500 cash prize, and a photographic package from Blueprint Studios valued at $500.





The contest is open to performers at any point in their career, ages 18+


Submissions close TODAY Wednesday December 24 at 5pm AEST.


For full contest details, frequently asked questions and more visit


Tickets for all events are on sale now at Support the next generation of cabaret talent as they compete to be Australia’s next cabaret sensation!


melody beck 2014


Queensland Cabaret Festival – Unseen: A Tribute to Marni Nixon


Unseen: A Tribute to Marni Nixon

Queensland Cabaret Festival & Your Theatrics International

Brisbane Powerhouse Turbine Platform

Saturday June 14 2014


Reviewed by Meredith Walker




Anyone who has seen the classic 1952 movie Singing in the Rain understands the role of a ghost singer in Hollywood. In it, Jean Hagen’s character, the silent film star, Lena LaMont, has a cringe-worthy voice that limits her transition to talkies, so Debbie Reynolds’ character, Kathy Seldon, is offered the job of providing LaMont’s voice. How deliciously ironic it is, therefore, that Reynolds’ voice was also dubbed for the pivotal, operetta-like song, Would You. This is just one of many fascinating anecdotes shared by Melody Beck in her self-devised biopic cabaret show Unseen: A Tribute to Marni Nixon (the ghost singer lauded by Time Magazine as ‘The Ghostess with the Mostest’).



It is soon apparent that although you might not know Nixon by name, you will surely be familiar with her voice, given that she provided the (uncredited) vocals for some of Hollywood’s most renowned leading ladies – Deborah Kerr in The King and I, Natalie Wood in West Side Story and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady to name just a few. She even dubbed the high notes for Marilyn Monroe’s Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.


With such a pedigree, it’s easy to succumb to the nostalgic celebration of the show’s soundtrack alone as Beck shares snippets of a story spanning many years.


Beck is a passionate performer; winner of the 2014 Your Theatrics International Cabaret Contest and Unseen is an excellent vehicle to showcase her versatility.


Not only does she inhabit a range of characters as part of its narrative, her singing, like Nixon’s, shows a skilled adaption of the personality, the timbre, and inflections of her voice to the range of characters she is portraying, from a cooing Monroe to a cockney Hepburn. Beck’s powerful voice fills the Turbine Platform space as she shares the soundtrack of this important and resonate tale. And although there are a number of hesitant moments in dialogue delivery, this is a nuanced performance, guaranteed to delight any musical fan.


Ghost singing for vocally challenged stars has been around almost as long as talking pictures. Thankfully, those who were once ghosts are now credited and due to Hollywood engineering wizardry, the notes of less desirable stars are now easily sweetened. But does it really matter anyway? For it isn’t a face or name that creates joy, but what is created. And in this case, what has been created is an engaging, enjoyable musical journey with the voice of Hollywood.




Queensland Cabaret Festival – a chat with Melody Beck


On Friday night we enjoyed David Campbell and John Bucchino in Concert and last night the Queensland Cabaret Festival really got started with Frolic, a free event at Brisbane Powerhouse. Unfortunately we missed it while we were getting our burlesque on at a Diabolique rehearsal! It looked like fun! Were you there?


Until June 21 2014 Queensland Cabaret Festival will be captivating audiences (and we can’t wait to see some of these artists bring their shows to Noosa Long Weekend!). See the complete program here. If you’re out and about remember to tag your Tweets & Insta pics with #QLDCabFest


Meanwhile, we caught up with Melody Beck, winner of Your Theatrics’ International Cabaret Contest and star of Unseen: A Tribute to Marni Nixon.


You’ve heard her voice, now hear her story. 

Marni Nixon is remembered as “The Voice of Hollywood”. Her dulcet tones have been memorialised in some of the greatest music theatre tunes of our time including songs from West Side StoryMy Fair Lady, The King and I and many more.



Melody, you’re the winner of Your Theatrics’ International Cabaret Contest in 2014 – congrats! What was it that made you and your show stand out from the rest?

Thank you! Marni Nixon’s story is one that I believe really resonates with a lot of people. The fact that she had this tremendous talent and that she couldn’t ever say it was her singing in these films at the time, I just thought it was important in terms of giving credit where credit is due, and I’m sure it is something we can all relate to in some way. I have always been fascinated with her and I just thought it was such a fantastic story. I guess the panel of judges thought so too.


You were a finalist in the 2012 competition, known then as the Annual Australian Cabaret Showcase. What made you enter again, and what has winning the contest done for you?

I absolutely loved my experience from competing in 2012, meeting so many delightful people, and learning a lot about the ins and outs of cabaret as an art form. I suppose, I just really wanted to tell Marni’s story, and it was a chance to try out my material in front of a supportive audience. I was completely speechless when they called my name as the winner and thought I must have imagined it.

It is such a phenomenal opportunity, to tour my own self devised cabaret show to prestigious Cabaret Festivals all around Australia and to New York for the New York Musical Theatre Festival. I’ve always been passionate about performing but winning the contest has made me even more so. There are so many opportunities to learn and grow as a musician and artist, and it has made me think differently about styles and approaches too.


Melody Beck. Image by Blueprint Studios


Tell us about your training, teachers, mentors, and the decision to enter the contest.

I have always been a singer and musician, coming from a very musical family, and have always been around the stage and music. I just recently finished studying at the University of New South Wales doing a Bachelor of Music in singing performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Performance Studies, and throughout that I have continued my vocal tuition in both classical, music theatre and contemporary styles. I also teach singing privately, which is a great challenge, I’m constantly learning about the voice and performance, having a wonderful time doing it.


Entering the YTICC was such a great opportunity to get up in front of peers on an international level and perform. I would’ve been crazy not to enter!


Check back in October for details about the 2015 contest!


How did your show, Unseen: A Tribute to Marni Nixon, come about? Can you talk us through its development over the last year?

The show came about through my personal interest in Marni’s story. I was talking to my mum about different show ideas and she pointed out that I should do something I feel close to, and Marni’s story really resonated with me on a professional and personal level. I want the whole world to know who she is, if possible.


The Guardian refers to Nixon as “one of the best-loved voices nobody knew”. Those of us who grew up in musical theatre households knew very early that she’d sung Maria’s songs in West Side Story for Natalie Wood, and many more.

I was lucky enough to be able to interview Marni recently, which was an incredible opportunity and greatly helped the development of the show. She was kind enough to spend over an hour on the phone with me from her home in New York and she proved to be every bit as gracious and humble as I would have imagined!


Amazing! Tell us about growing up as a singer and discovering Marni Nixon.

I was always told who she was, from an early age. We’d watch movie-musicals like West Side Story and My Fair Lady and my dad and mum would always point out that the singing voice was Marni Nixon. I suppose as a younger child, I didn’t realise the significance of this, the fact that she wasn’t credited at the time of the film’s release. The fact that somebody was singing for somebody else just always reminded me of Singing In The Rain, Marni is a lot like Kathy Seldon in that respect.



Nixon never received a screen credit and the fact that she was dubbing for the stars was kept a secret, just like in Singing in the Rain. The public learned eventually, but as a performing artist, can you imagine being a ghost in the industry?

Thank goodness she did get credited in the end. I imagine that back then it was quite common, and no one would really bat an eyelid, because they did get paid, and they were paid as musicians for their services, the only thing is they weren’t credited. Nowadays, with the engineers and technology the way it is, there is no need for Ghosting, as they can sweeten and manipulate the notes of anybody to make it sound presentable.

I imagine it would have been quite anti-climactic in a way. To sing for such a big star and then nobody know that is was your voice sending shivers down peoples spines. It would be so hard to keep such a big secret!


Nixon took great pride in replicating the voices she dubbed. Did you also study the artists for whom she recorded? She worked so closely with Deborah Kerr for example – it’s fascinating stuff.

Marni was very very good at replicating voices indeed. She adored working with Deborah as they both were kindred in nature and spirit. They spent quite some time together moving as ‘one’ as they both wanted the best possible performance they could give, and were determined to achieve that as perfectly and seamlessly as possible.

I have indeed been studying the artists Marni ghosted, and have tried out different methods she may have used to replicate their sounds. This involved a lot of research and watching the films and listening to recordings of them speak over and over again. It has been a great joy, as they are some of my favourite films and stars of the 50’s and 60’s. It’s been a lot of fun. There are some really interesting interactions between Marni and the stars she sung for, which I explore throughout my show.


Melody Beck. Image by Blueprint Studios.


We’re looking forward to seeing your show at the Powerhouse during the Queensland Cabaret Festival and after that at the Noosa Long Weekend Festival. You’ve just come from Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Where else will you take the show?

After Queensland on the 14th of June at Brisbane Powerhouse, I’ll be taking the show back to Side Lounge in Sydney for a performance on the 19th of June. Melbourne Cabaret Festival on the 29th of June, Tasmanian Cabaret Festival from the 6th of July, then I jet off to New York for the New York Musical Theatre Festival where I will be performing on the 17th of July, and hopefully having a lesson with the woman herself, Miss Marni Nixon. I then come back for the fabulous Noosa Long Weekend Festival on the 23rd, and then Ballarat Cabaret Festival on the 6th of October. It’s all happening and I am absolutely thrilled!


That’s an impressive debut tour. What’s next?

I am really looking forward to touring the show and developing it even further. Hopefully working with more industry professionals and developing new works as well. I really love performing and creating, so for me this has been a dream come true.



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