Posts Tagged ‘your theatrics


Your Theatrics International Cabaret Contest Winners 2015



Eleven finalists took to the stage at the 2015 Your Theatrics International Cabaret Contest (YTICC) Grand Final at The Basement in Sydney last Saturday night. Heat winners from Adelaide, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Melbourne, Auckland, and Sydney came together to compete for the chance to win a career changing prize package.


Judges for the evening included Adelaide Cabaret Festival Executive Producer John Glenn, Noosa Long Weekend Artistic Director Ian MacKellar, Ballarat Cabaret Festival Artistic Director Graeme Russell, Tasmania Cabaret Festival Executive Producer Lucinda Wilson, Founder and Executive Director of Grayboy Entertainment Graeme Gillies, and Principal Sponsors and YTICC Patrons Ron and Margaret Dobell, who collectively had the unenviable task of deciding on a winner from the talented pool assembled.


After an exceptional evening of cabaret, Adelaide entrant Michaela Burger won the judges vote and became the newest cabaret sensation in Australasia, with Melbourne entrant Noni McCallum taking the runner-up title for 2015.


Contest Producer Jeremy Youett said, “The heats this year were incredibly strong across the board and the judges at the Grand Final truly had their work cut out for them as a result! It was incredible to see so many talented artists continuing to develop and present a vast array of ideas and styles across Australia and New Zealand and especially to see the growth of artists who returned to the Contest from previous years”.


The full line-up of additional finalists included Adelaide winners David Gauci, Brisbane winner Judy Hainsworth, Sunshine Coast winner Jenny Wynter, additional Melbourne winners Bethany Simons with Peter de Jager, from Auckland, Cherie Moore with Robin Kelly along with Sydney winners Jaimie Leigh Johnson, Ben Hudson, Shondelle Pratt, and Dash Kruck.  Previous contest winners Sheridan Harbridge and Marika Aubrey co-hosted and performed during the evening, which also included special performances from previous contest winners Nick ChristoToby Francis, and last year’s winner Melody Beck.

One of two winners from the Adelaide heat held on January 5th, Burger’s eight-minute cabaret snapshot presented audiences with an excerpt from her show, Exposing Edith.  The show explores the life of Edith Piaf through her songs and experiences, and audiences can expect to hear re-imagined, contemporary re-workings of Piaf’s music in her solo show, including favourites such as La Vie En Rose. Burger and collaborator/guitarist Greg Wain are now preparing to tour the show extensively in the coming year as part of their prize package. Runner-up Noni McCallum presented the audience with a hilarious and touching insight into what it’s like to be a woman in her thirties looking for love, incorporating You Can’t Hurry Love and The IKEA Song, among other interludes.
The major prize package includes the opportunity for the winner to present their show at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, with flights and accommodation for their appearance to the value of $3000 contributed by The Ron and Margaret Dobell Foundation, a booking on an Australia/Pacific cruise ship courtesy of Grayboy Entertainment, a cash prize of $1000, a photographic package from Blueprint Studios valued at $1000, a music theatre and cabaret music package from Hal Leonard, as well as tour publicity from which will spotlight the creative process as Burger continues to develop and tour her show throughout the year. The runner-up takes home a $500 cash prize, and a photographic package from Blueprint Studios valued at $500.  Each act will also be extended various performance opportunities from our Major Festival Partners including 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.

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.


BPH_Wonderland_Unauthorised_Biography_Cabaret_3_2014-1180x663 (1)













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


Bradley McCaw: The Complete Unauthorised Biography of Cabaret


The Complete Unauthorised Biography of Cabaret

Brisbane Powerhouse & An Old Fashioned Production Company

Brisbane Powerhouse Graffiti Room

December 5 – 7 2014


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward 




Bradley McCaw won Your Theatrics International Cabaret Contest in 2012 (book tickets here for the 2015 comp, the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere). Part of the prize package was to take his original show on an all expenses paid national tour and on to New York. It sold out. This year, for the first time, Brisbane Powerhouse has added Wonderland, a “night-time playground”, to this city’s cabaret calendar. McCaw’s show fits the bill in a slightly more conservative and sensible manner than most, giving us a refreshing break from all things outrageously and outlandishly “cabaret”. (Don’t worry, I also love outrageous and outlandish!). His show is a lesson in the genre and without a doubt the most fun you’ll have in the cabaret classroom, though we’re far from the traditional classroom.


We find ourselves in the intimate Graffiti Room with only 28 others. I know this space as a meeting room so I’ll admit I was dubious interested to see what sort of performance space it would make. Artistic Director of the Powerhouse, Kris Stewart, told me that previously the room has been claimed by Comedy Festival acts. The teeny, tiny, carpeted space works well in this context too, with a raised stage beneath a proscenium arch made from striped butchers’ paper. Note to self: Pin that in Event Inspiration.


McCaw greets us just as casually as if we were still standing by the bar outside (has it ever been busier?!), and introduces what will become a 50-minute 100-year history lesson, complete with his easy humour and musical interludes. I wish my Modern History lessons at high school had been as fun as this fascinating look at the European timeline. We begin in Paris, to seek an answer to the question, “What is Cabaret?” It’s a question that’s been asked many times of course, but McCaw narrows the context for us and cleverly sings a comical song of an afternoon spent shooting hoops and talking shop with a mate named Steve. McCaw realises he is unable to give Steve a straight answer and determines to find out for himself.


What is Cabaret?




Yes, and…




Le Chat Noir – the Black Cat Café – tells through its haunting ugly lights time of night melody and eloquent storytelling about the drunken proprietor of an empty venue, who opens his doors one night in 1878 to a group of artists, creating a magical space where cabaret is born. At this time it’s the sharing of stories, songs, skits, drinks… Is it still? In this quiet number lies the essence of the show, but there’s much more to come and a lot of it is surprisingly upbeat!


It’s in the lilting ballad tones and also, when McCaw opens up mid-range, that we hear the famous Ten Tenors quality in his voice. And when he rocks out in Hard to Keep a Good Girl Down we hear (and see) the unmistakable confidence and showmanship of a true Piano Man. Quick! Last drinks!


“I heard Billy Joel and a song of his ‘Just the Way You Are’ and I thought wow, that’s possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. I want to make something like that, so I started making [music].”


It’s a rousing, cheeky song, boyish, fast and fun. Unknown to McCaw, however, is the ambition of the microphone on a stand above the Roland, which spins of its own accord, distracting and delighting us all. Its accidental choreography is actually perfectly fitting. He stops and laughs with us, swings it back and around and around it goes in stubborn, joyous pirouettes like a barefoot child at the end of a birthday party until McCaw pushes it aside again and begins the song again. In any other genre this part of the show might be forgotten; that is to say we might try at least to forget about that awful, embarrassing moment with the mic. But in this case it’s testament to McCaw’s ability to nurture the relationship with his audience in a shared moment of unexpected comedy.




Gentler, and presented with a direct challenge to the audience is All I Need Is You. McCaw reaches for a ukulele and teaches us a line of the song – it’s call and response – and in the small space, in which everyone can hear everything, it feels like a big ask! Luckily we’re seated next to Lizzie Sing It a Third Above Moore so it’s a pleasant experience and we sing along too. The opportunity comes again at the end of the show with Daydreamin’ Girl, a fun way to finish. Poppy knows how all this audience participation stuff goes and we already have McCaw’s EP; it’s a souvenir from Noosa Long Weekend Festival, which he signed for Poppy, and which we often play in the car. When I mentioned this to McCaw after the show it was hard to gauge whether or not he believed me, but it’s true. We’ve just started listening to Mama Kin again too, in case we run into Danielle & John at Woodford this year. “How can you chat to the singer, Mum, if you don’t know their songs?” So asks the wise child!


We travel with McCaw on an intriguing journey through tumultuous times, across borders and oceans, and all the way into 1940s American Ragtime. The show works well like this, as a chronological effort to discover a working definition for cabaret, but it means it’s a little less personal than the first version. I couldn’t help but think No Feelings Today made a deeper impact in its original 8-minute competition context and McCaw let us in on some heart thoughts about the time two brothers might spend together. Now, in representing the artists’ perspective on cabaret (“we can do whatever we want”), I feel this song loses its beautiful, soaring sadness. There’s always a place for beautiful, soaring sadness, for longing, particularly within cabaret and we can’t shy away from it for the sake of an academic argument!


“I think that’s what cabaret’s greatest asset is; it is always evolving. It takes whatever is around its community and it makes it seem fresh because it’s so new and so contemporary.


McCaw’s versatility is actually astounding as he shifts effortlessly between musical styles. I’d love to hear him sing more. Less shtick and more song!


I guess the answer to Steve’s question lies in each artist’s interpretation of the genre and if this show is cabaret too, let’s have more of it!




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.



Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow on Bloglovin

Follow us on Twitter

Recent Comments

Bernadette O'Brien on Memorial
Flaunt 2.0  Redevelo… on Flaunt
Trevor Ross on the wizard of oz – harve…