About the 10 new musicals advancing through New Musicals Australia

New Musicals Australia this week have announced the 11 new musicals that have been selected for musical snapshot presentations this year. One of these productions will be go on to be presented at the Hayes Theatre in November 2015.

New Musicals Australia (NMA) is an initiative of Hayes Theatre Co to foster the development of new Australian musical works. This is a four-stage process allowing writers to have their work assessed by a panel of industry professionals and to be given the opportunity to progress through to workshop and performance.

Truth, Beauty, and a Picture of You had a workshop with New Musicals Australia prior to its premiere in 2014.
Truth, Beauty, and a Picture of You had a workshop with New Musicals Australia prior to its premiere in 2014.

After the initial submission (Stage 1), shows are selected for the ‘musical snapshot’, where the musicals will have the opportunity to present a short excerpt of their work and receive feedback from the advisory panel (Stage 2); two of these productions will then be selected to received a workshop (Stage 3), and then in the fourth and final stage, one of these two musicals will receive the presentation at Sydney’s Hayes Theatre.

Truth, Beauty, and a Picture of You, which premiered at the Hayes Theatre last year, was a 2011 recipient of a New Musicals Australia workshop presentation.

The Artistic Advisory Panel for New Musicals Australia is made up of a variety of industry experts from a range of specialty fields including Kelley Abbey, Dean Bryant, Mitchell Butel, David Campbell, Lisa Campbell, Paul Capsis, Richard Carroll, Peter Casey, Peter J. Casey, Terence Clarke, Helen Dallimore, Kellie Dickerson, Gale Edwards, Tim Freedman, Neil Gooding, Michelle Guthrie, Nancye Hayes, CJ Johnson, Stuart Maunder, Anne-Maree McDonald, James Millar, Sharon Millerchip, Jennifer Murphy, Guy Noble, John Robertson, Peter Rutherford, and Guy Simpson.

“We have been blown away by the caliber of the submissions,” said Lisa Campbell.

“The variety in theme and approach has been very wide and the assessors have achieved a great balance in the eleven shows that are going through to the next stage.  It is incredibly exciting to see the level of skill that is present in new Australian musical writing.”

One of the shortlisted shows, Oh Mr Sheffield! by Jonathon Holmes and Aaron Roebuck, has pulled out of the snapshot presentation process. We take a quick look at the 10 remaining shortlisted shows set to present below:

Animalia! by Graeme Base, Theresa Borg & Jane Hammond
Adapted from the novel series by Graeme Base, Animalia! tells the tale of two children, Alex and Zoe, whom upon discovering a magic portal to the world of Animalia are faced with the challenge of saving it from the grips of a tyrannical villain.

Between the Sea and Sky by Luke Byrne
Between the Sea and Sky is set at Diamond Bay, a fictional beach town along the coast of New South Wales, featuring a compelling story of three young girls told through the figurative Voice of the Ocean.

Between Worlds by Nick Higginbotham & Gareth Hudson
Set against the backdrop of the final days of Captain James Cook and his intense moment of ‘first contact’ with the indigenous people of Hawai. Between Worlds explores to what lengths we go to feed our hunger for fame and our overwhelming desire to be remembered, while questioning the idea of fate and destiny.

GOOD OMENS – The Musical by Vicki Hare & James Hare
Good Omens is a playful adventure about the end of the world which challenges the concepts of good versus evil and the power of free will, where a wisecracking demon and his friend, a flamboyant angel explore how things aren’t always as they seem.

HAPPY PEOPLE by Matthew Lee Robinson
One of the world’s most famous children’s entertainment groups Happy People, are about to embark upon their Happy People Tenth Anniversary Live National Tour, but between rocky relationships, ambitious career moves, backstabbing and competing egos – behind closed doors, these are not the Happy People that they seem to the world.

Hook Up (working title) by Ben Nicholson &  Nick Hedger
Hook Up is a musical that deals with the universal desires, pressures and priorities of characters belonging to Generation Y as they hit a turning point in their lives’ journeys, told through unique “snapshots”.

HouseWarming by Belinda  Jenkin  &  Will  Hannagan
HouseWarming follows the story of Tom and five other twenty somethings as they celebrate their first night in a share house with a housewarming party, exploring themes of family and friendship.

MELBA by Nicholas Christo & Johannes Luebbers
Melba is a story about a young mother from the cane fields of Queensland, with a voice of gold and a will of iron, sails for Europe with a dream of becoming a world class opera singer.

Interview  (working title) book by Simon Russell, Lyrics by Simon Russell and Anthony Harkin, and Music by Anthony Harkin
At times farcical and almost always tongue in cheek, Interview uses the headline characters of one of Australia’s most infamous drug scandals as a means to illustrate the double edged sword of media interaction, where through one family’s journey we examine the media’s savage lust for ratings and readership, and also our own participation in that inevitably symbiotic relationship.

The Detective’s Handbook by Ian Ferrington and music by Olga Solar
Set in Chicago 1950, The Detective’s Handbook follows the story of Frank Thompson, Police detective, when he is called into the station to investigate the murder of two policemen in a disreputable neighbourhood along with newly promoted assigned partner, Jimmy Hartman.

For more information about New Musicals Australia, visit http://www.newmusicals.com.au

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and is the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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