Dear Santa

Will’s special letter to Santa.

Dear Santa,

Firstly, let me promise you I have been almost entirely nice and only a little bit naughty this year. (More’s the pity).

But, since you are charged solely with the challenge of granting wishes for ‘The Kid Inside’, my ‘kid’ has a few requests for Christmas. Not just for Christmas. For always.

1. Could you please pop a card under every producer’s tree that says, “Create a theatre star system that doesn’t rely on using TV/Reality show stars”?

It was so refreshing to see Miss Saigon a few years ago. No-one knew Laurie Cadevida (she’s from the States), and very few really knew David Harris. His career has taken off now and more and more people know him. He’s one of the most employable actors for Musical Theatre in the country now.

Come to think of it, there wasn’t a ‘name’ in the multi-award-winning, Billy Elliot either. I knew the cast. But, Mrs Parramatta or Mr Yarraville may not have. I hear that our own ‘Mrs. Wilkinson’ is deemed good enough to play the role again in Chicago! She flies out in January. I think our performers are pretty good regardless of perceived  ‘box-office’, don’t you?

There’s a lyric from the musical, Nunsense, “Hey, Regina, park your own damn car!” Wouldn’t it be ‘loverly’ if our performers could park their ‘own damn car’ here? Permanently.

2. While you’re at it. Could you please, please, please send a card to the Casting people to just cast the best person for the role? It’s a good idea if the director has actually seen them before they’re cast, too.

“Perfectly Marvellous”

3. Could the Director please see ALL the auditionees?

(I know it takes more time and costs more money but I think the late Richard Wherrett had it right. “Casting is 90% of the Director’s job”.)

‘Who knows, maybe, All the visions that he sees
May be waiting just for him to say, I can see it!
Shining somewhere! Let me see it!
Take me there!”

4. Could you make sure that ‘classic’ musicals are not sung in a pop style? I’ve heard legitimate singing and it’s actually quite sexy.

“Speak and the world is full of singing, And I am winging higher than the birds.
Touch and my heart begins to crumble, The heaven’s tumble…”

5. Could you tell writers that not all women YELL their lives in song. Sometimes these Amazonian characters that they are writing are singing so big that it’s hard to make a man look like a man next to them. (PS. Females have middle voices and head voices, too. I also believe that they don’t necessarily burst into song when they are angry only).

If you’re not too busy, could you also let the writers know that the ‘please cuddle me’ voice for men went out in the 80’s.

“You’re the voice, try and understand it, Make a noise and make it clear.”

6. While we’re on writers. Could you please give them a really, really clever present that let’s them know that theatre is about ‘showing’, not ‘telling’. If I WANT a lecture, there’s a different kind of theatre for that.

“I have read the writing on the wall, And the greatest myst’ry
Is not the hist’ry…”

7. I don’t know how you do this one, Santa. But 7 is my lucky number so… here goes.

Could you get performing arts institutions to keep delivering their degrees. Absolutely. But, could you also ask them to only showcase the really employable graduates?

Surely, it’s possible to meet the criteria of a degree but not be industry-ready. Or, maybe, just fix the criteria and cull as that criteria is not met. Last time I looked, there weren’t enough jobs to go around. If an actor is going to get work – the actor will get work. Just endorse the one’s that are ready now.

“You’ve got to be carefully taught”.

8. Could you let all the people know that a Broadway/West End Cast Recording is not an example of a live performance? Come to think of it, nor is a movie. The only way to experience something written for theatre is in the same room, breathing the same air, as the people performing it.

Please, don’t judge the live performer based on a grand piece of manufacture called ‘a recording’. Or, indeed, ‘a movie’.

“Art isn’t easy”.

9. Can we please make more Australian Cast Recordings? Not just of Australian works but ANY Australian production of ANY work.

10. Can we please have a television show that celebrates theatre in all it’s forms? ‘Live’ would be good. Not grabs from Media Calls the day before a show opens.

(Carol Burnett’s show did nothing for her Broadway career as we all know).

That’s my list, Santa. I have made your Mince Pies, I will have carrots out for the reindeer, the chairs will not be in front of the fireplace this year, and there will be milk, sherry… any selection of drinks that you may need.

“You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”.


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