“If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to, why don’t you go where fashion sits? Puttin’ on the Ritz!”
Irving Berlin’s 1927 classic paved the way for the Golden Age, a time of incredible development for Musical Theatre. Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Rodgers and Hammerstein were just some of the other quintessential composers who crafted the canon alongside Berlin, penning songs that are still just as well loved as the day they were written.
Puttin’ On The Ritz is a spectacular musical revue featuring some of these iconic tunes, sure to leave your lips humming and toes tapping. The show toured Australia in 2017, and following rave reviews, will be returning soon for a subsequent national tour. The show features a cast of 16 multi-talented singers and 10 fabulous dancers directly from London’s West End.
Graham MacDuff is one of the singers in the upcoming tour, and is very excited to be making the trip down under. A consummate professional, some of Graham’s past theatrical credits include Wilbur in Hairspray (UK Tour), Trevor Graydon in Thoroughly Modern Millie (UK Tour), Don Lockwood in Singin’ In The Rain (Kilworth House Theatre) Sir Lancelot in Spamalot (UK Tour) and Josef Schillinger in Grand Hotel (Donmar Warehouse). His career has extended beyond the stage, and he has been seen and heard across various UK Radio and TV programs, as well as in the 2004 film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera.
Could you tell me a bit about your background in theatre?
My love affair with theatre began in 1978, when I was cast (along with both my brothers!) in Lionel Bart’s Oliver! at the Albury theatre, London. We were in Fagin’s gang, and I also understudied Oliver (although I never got the opportunity to play the role). Training at London’s prestigious Arts Educational School followed, and upon graduating, I joined Dougie Squires’ Second Generation as Singer/Dancer at the Palm Beach Casino, Cannes, France. Although most of my career has been in musicals, I have worked in Film, TV and Radio, and been fortunate to work with some incredible actors, including Mary-Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Gerard Butler, Ewan McGregor and Douglas Hodge, to name just a few.
What can audiences expect from Puttin’ on the Ritz?
Glitz, glamour, fabulous costumes, great dancing and incredible singing (obviously), all underpinning some of the greatest songs ever written! Most of you will know the songs, even if you don’t realise you know them. Add to that the lighting, the choreography and a few laughs and you have the perfect recipe for a great night out!
What is the most exciting part of coming to Australia?
How long have you got? The people for a start, I’ve yet to meet an Aussie I didn’t like! In fact, one of my oldest and dearest friends, Graeme Gilmore, the man who quite literally taught me the ins and outs of how to behave in theatre, is an Aussie! You guys are all sports mad, like me, and I’d love to get to see a live football match, rehearsals permitting of course. I’m from the UK, so the weather will hopefully be an improvement! Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, all the usual touristy things, but also the REAL Australia, the stuff you don’t see on TV programmes. The simple fact that I’ll be standing on the opposite side of this planet still impresses me, so this is a huge “bucket list” trip and I’m stupidly excited!
Why are the songs of Puttin’ on the Ritz so well loved?
Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George Gershwin… these are some of the greatest composers of the 20th century! They wrote songs in the 20’s and 30’s that were immortalised in musicals in the 40’s and 50’s and still sung in jazz clubs, pubs and cabarets around the world today. You can’t help but love them.
Do you have a favourite composer from the Golden Age?
I was brought up listening to the “Rat Pack” (Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby etc.) so I’d probably say Cole Porter. I’ll be very interested to see who the Australian audiences warm to most!
Mellen Events presents: Puttin’ On The Ritz
Australian Tour – May 29 to June 29
For more information and tickets, please visit the Mellen Events website