New Musicals Australia, a new initiative dedicated to the production of original Australian musical theatre, today announced their company patron and members of their inaugural advisory panel.
Musical Theatre legend Stephen Swartz has been announced as Patron. Schwartz is an American musical theatre lyricist and composer whose career spans more than four decades, writing such hit musicals as Godspell, Pippin, Children of Eden and Wicked. He has also contributed music and lyrics for a number of successful films, including Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Prince of Egypt and Enchanted. Schwartz has won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics, three Grammy Awards, three Academy Awards and has been nominated for six Tony Awards.
“I first met Stephen a decade ago in NYC, and have incredible respect for the work he has done, both as an author and heading the ASCAP new musicals workshop. He is incredibly generous with the knowledge that he offers young writers, and we’re privileged to have his support for New Musicals Australia in our first year,” said Director of New Musicals Australia, Kris Stewart. “He is a great believer in Australian talent – especially that in our writing community – and he will be a fantastic advocate for our artists in New York.”
Advisory panel members announced today include Peter Casey, Kellie Dickerson, Rodney Dobson, Neil Gooding, Roger Hodgman, Karen Johnson Mortimer, Guy Noble, Jennifer Murphy, Darren Yap and Peter Ross. (For more information on the individual advisory panel members – see below.)
“New Musicals Australia warmly welcomes all the members of our talented and knowledgeable advisory panel. Together, we have such a strong combination of experience and talent and New Musicals Australia is excited about sharing this wonderful bank of wisdom with up and coming creatives,” said Director of New Musicals Australia, Kris Stewart.
New Musicals Australia has been founded to provide creators of new musicals with a series of professional workshopping opportunities that will enable their work to be developed and publicly presented. This model mirrors the successful processes witnessed in the US and UK, and allows writers and composers the opportunity to have their scripts and songs workshopped and presented to high level industry peers, creative industry leaders and Sydney audiences.
Director of New Musicals Australia, Kris Stewart is the founding director of the New York Musical Theatre Festival, inaugural artistic director of The Sydney Fringe Festival and the current Resident Director of the musical Wicked in Australia for the Gordon/Frost Organization.
Peter Casey is a versatile musical director with a range of credits including The Main Event (John Farnham, Olivia Newton-John), The Producers, and The Sound of Music which won the year 2000 ARIA for Best Original Cast Recording.
Kellie Dickerson is the current musical director for the Australian production of Wicked for which she received a Green Room Award 2008 for Best Musical Direction of a Musical.
Rodney Dobson has performed in some of the biggest musicals to hit Australia, including Miss Saigon, Chess, Buddy the Musical, The Full Monty, Sweeney Todd (Green Room Award), Sunset Boulevard and is currently playing the role of Doctor Dillamond in Wicked.
Neil Gooding has worked as a producer and director on a variety of projects including The Hatpin (World Premiere) Back to the 80’s, Assassins and Fast & Fresh Short Play Competition.
Roger Hodgman has directed a number of shows for The Production Company including Guys and Dolls, She Loves Me and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He has previously worked as Artistic Director of the MTC for twelve years and Dean of Drama at the VCA.
Karen Johnson Mortimer is a performer, director, choreographer and current Artistic Director of Dance at Sydney Catholic Schools Performing Arts (CaSPA).
Guy Noble is one of Australia’s most versatile conductors, having worked with artists including Harry Connick Jnr, Olivia Newton-John and the Beach Boys. He has hosted The Breakfast Show on ABC Classic FM, Music on Sundays for The Queensland Symphony and is a regular guest panelist on Spicks and Specks.
Jennifer Murphy is a performer, director and producer who currently works as Head of Music Theatre at the Australian Institute of Music.
Darren Yap is an actor and director whose credits include the Closing Ceremony of the Games of the XXVII Olympiad (Sydney, 2000), Mamma Mia!, Miss Saigon and The Boy From Oz for which he received a Green Room Award.
Peter Ross is a producer and director currently working as Theatre Director for the Tamworth Capitol Theatre.
New Musicals Australia has three key workshop initiatives. They are The Musical Snapshot, which presents a twenty to forty minute extract of the musical in concert, alongside other new works. The Developmental Reading sees a new work rehearsed and performed in concert, and the Workshop Presentation allows a musical to be rehearsed and performed book-down with staging and some production elements. New Musicals Australia also supports a variety of other initiatives targeted at developing new works, establishing networks and providing support for independent writers. New Musicals Australia accepts submissions year-round, but with deadlines for individual presentation seasons. The deadline for the upcoming presentation season is August 31.
For more information on New Musicals Australia