Saturday Night Fever Opens in Sydney
Tickets On Sale Now
Article and Interviews by Grace Lenan
The iconic hit musical Saturday Night Fever is currently in it’s first week of previews at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre, having had its premiere night on March 27.
DanceLife had the opportunity to get an up close look at three of the numbers from this fresh, reimagined production of the classic show, Nights on Broadway, You (one of Marcia Hines own hits, just one of several that are featured in the show) and Disco Inferno at an exclusive performance for the media this week. Bursting with colour and life, this sneak peek definitely left us wanting more.
The lead role of Tony Manero is played by rising star Euan Doidge (Helpmann award nominated by his role in Priscilla Queen of the Dessert, after performing in Les Miserables, A Chorus Line and Legally Blonde). The role of Stephanie Magano, the best dancer at the nightclub is played by Melanie Hawkins (Singin’ In The Rain, Strictly Ballroom the Musical, Rock of Ages). Marcia Hines features in the role of the Diva and Tim ‘Timomatic’ Omaji (Fame, In the Heights) joins the cast as Monty, the nightclub MC.
The show soundtrack is packed with disco classics, including the Bee Gees‘ greatest hits and features four additional ‘Star Vocalists’, new to this version of the show: Paulini, Bobby Fox, Natalie Conway and Nana Matapule. [Read more about the cast and show in our previous article]
This show is based on the classic 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever starring John Travolta and Karen Gorney.
The movie is credited with defining the 1970’s, while the soundtrack remains one of the best-selling of all time with over 45 million copies sold.
We had a chance to speak with Star Vocalist Bobby Fox and resident choreographer Mitchell Woodcock about the rehearsal process and the show’s first night of previews.
Q: How does it feel to be doing a Musical Theatre production again?
Bobby: It feels really good, it’s kind of the perfect stepping stone because being a Star Vocalist it’s not a dance heavy show for me so it won’t be pushing my recovery from last year. This is absolutely my jam, all the Rock and Disco stuff is, vocally, really my bag. I’ve just counted and this is my seventh show here! (At the Lyric Theatre).
Q: How did it feel performing the preview last night?
Bobby: That was awesome, yeah it was great. We needed it, it was a long rehearsal period and there were a lot of changes that were made. They really are re doing the entire show for Australia, which really makes it so special. Getting the band as the second last element and then the audience as the last element was what really made it just like…electric! This is like nothing else, I’m just side stage dancing the whole time before we enter to perform. Being in a theatre that has the most incredible sound too, it really caters so well to any kind of genre of music but specifically for the pop and live concert feel.
Q: What was it about this Production of Saturday Night Fever that attracted you to it?
Bobby: The music! That I’d be doing all the Barry Gibb stuff and the Bee Gees stuff and really focusing on the vocals, as opposed to being a character, and that delivery and that feeling of it being more of a live concert at times, I was like sign me up!
Q: What did you want to emulate and bring to this production of Saturday Night Fever?
Mitchell: So, the production was originally choreographed in France and a real commercial flair has been brought to it. My role is Resident Choreographer so I’ve adapted some of the choreography and done additional numbers for the show. What we’ve done is really take a traditional 70’s feel and given it a commercial edge so that it’s a bit more current, in the energy of today.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the rehearsal process and how that has been?
Mitchell: The rehearsal process was great. We were working with a French creative team so there were a few language barriers, but in saying that it was a really great process. We were in the studio for four weeks and we’ve only been in the theatre for a week is it’s all happened really quickly. In the production there’s over fifteen dance numbers in the show so there’s a lot of dance material.
Q: Did the show morph and evolve a lot during the rehearsal process as you were integrating it into the vision that you had for the Australian audience?
Mitchell: Yeah, so a lot of the numbers have been restaged or re done so I’ve adapted some of it from the original French production and we’ve made it our own. We’ve obviously got new numbers as we’ve brought Marcia into the production and we’ve kind of moulded it to really suit the dancers. The cast are pretty incredible, we’ve got killer dancers in there which makes my job easy.
Q: Is this a show that you’d like to dance in yourself or do you prefer being on the choreography and creation side of things for it?
Mitchell: I’m loving sitting back and seeing it all come to life, it’s such a big process with so many departments working together. Then adding accents musically and trying to match them to the choreography and also timing the revolves – there’s so many different elements to it, not just the steps. It’s really interesting being on that side of it and seeing it come together.
“I’m sure we have the hottest cast that has ever played on Sydney stages. With the sensational Marcia Hines and our wonderful ensemble of singers pumping out those disco hits, and the most talented dancers in Australia strutting those moves, I know the audience will be on their feet every night,” said producer John Frost. “The incredible unforgettable, toe tapping songs in Saturday Night Fever are loved by all, young and old, so it’s sure to be a party every night at the Sydney Lyric.”
The cast also includes Justin Anderson, Giuliana Carniato, Lachlan Dearing, Lauren Elton, Mitchell Fistrovic, Gaynor Hicks, Elysha Manik, Kiara McGowan, Coby Njoroge, Maddie Peat, Stephen Perez, Erica Stubbs, Lola Thompson, Benjamin Turland and Chris Van Doren.
Saturday Night Fever will play an exclusive Australian season from March 27 2019.