Australia’s music theatre stars will come together once again in Melbourne to raise awareness for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, at Melbourne’s third annual Twisted Broadway charity concert.
On Monday 23 July, Melissa Bergland (Winners and Losers, 2012 Logie winner) and Australian entertainment icon Rhonda Burchmore will co-host the evening at Melbourne’s BMW Edge Theatre in Federation Square two weeks after Twisted Broadway’s Sydney Premiere at NIDA on July 2.
Presented by Daniel Benge and Kate McDonald, Twisted Broadway is modeled on its sister charity concert series, New York’s Broadway Backwards, where performers sing songs originally written for the opposite gender.
Musical director James Simpson spoke with AussieTheatre about his involvement with the Melbourne concert and the plethora of Australian music theatre talent involved in this year’s show.
“There have been some really great people come on board this year,” he enthused. “Having had such a great response to last year’s concert, it’s great that people like Rhonda [Burchmore] have now said ‘yeah I’d love to be involved’ and to have people like Matthew Robinson and David Rogers-Smith come back – it’s going to be a fantastic night”.
25 year old Simpson completed his BA (Hons) Musical Theatre course at La Salle College of the Arts just 6 weeks ago, after bypassing the first year of the degree with recognition of prior learning at Monash University (Bachelor of Performing Arts). He has returned to Australia for the Twisted Broadway Melbourne concert before taking his musical talents to the UK, where he will be studying his Masters in Musical Direction at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
“This will be my last Twisted Broadway”, he mused, “but I figured that since this is the last time I’ll do it, I might as well go out on a bang.”
The band will be expanded this year – possibly up to a 10 piece line up, Simpson hints – which is a lot more work for him with arrangements and notation, but will add that extra kick to the event at the BMW Edge. Thankfully, he doesn’t mind the work – not only is it raising money for charity, it’s giving performers a chance to challenge themselves creatively.
“When Dan and Kate first asked me to do the concert last year, I had actually seen Broadway Backwards, in 2009 in New York. I remember thinking ‘this is such a good idea’. I saw Whoopi Goldberg doing Officer Krupke and all these amazing Broadway actors doing fabulous numbers”, he said.
“I think it’s a fantastic event for performers. In terms of doing repertoire that you normally wouldn’t sing. It’s a really exciting concept to watch. I think the show has a long future ahead of it.”
Featured in the 2012 Melbourne concert will be Tim Campbell, Jaz Flowers (Hairspray), Sam Ludeman (The Voice, Fame!), Julie Goodwin (Annie), Samantha Hagen (Rock Of Ages), David Rogers-Smith (Les Miserables), Amy Lehpamer (Rock of Ages), Kellie Rode (Mamma Mia!) and composer/performer Matthew Robinson, who recently received an Australia Council Grant to expand his skills in New York City.
Full Melbourne cast list below.
For details on the Sydney Concert click here
Kate Macdonald and Daniel Benge present Twisted Broadway
Twisted Broadway Sydney
8pm, Monday 2 July
Parade Theatre, NIDA
Twisted Broadway Melbourne
8pm, Monday 23 July
BMW Edge, Federation Square
Full Cast List
Adam Rennie, Jaz Flower, Jordan Pollard, Alexander Ellis, Susan Anne Walker, Matt Holly, Ross Hannaford, Turanga Merito, Samm Hagen, Tod Strike, Melissa Langton, Brent Hill, Nicholas Kong, Tim Campbell, Julie Goodwin, David Rogers-Smith, Amy Lehpamer, Anthony Costanzo, Paul Watson, Rachel Dunham, Kellie Rode, Matthew Robinson, Even Lever, Brent Dolahenty, Dean Vince, Luke Joslin, Sophie Carter, Robyn Arthur, Romina Villa Franca, Loren Hunter, Jayde Kirchert, Emma Hawthorne, Samantha Riley, Andrew Cook, Blake Bowden, Ellen Simpson