Shoshana Bean and Simon Burke prepare for their Secret Broadway performance

A new cabaret series from HOTA, Secret Broadway takes its inspiration from the award-winning book ‘The Secret Life of the American Musical: How Broadway Shows are Built.’

Shoshana Bean and Simon Burke

The first in the series will be performed this Saturday night, and focuses on opening numbers. Hosted by Lance Horne, audiences can expect a celebration of music theatre’s most iconic opening numbers, including “Oh What A Beautiful Mornin'” from Oklahoma! and “I Hope I Get It” from A Chorus Line. Headlining the performance are Shoshana Bean and Simon Burke. The pair will be accompanied by Jordan Malone

Broadway superstar Shoshana Bean most recently played Jenna in Waitress opposite Jeremy Jordan. Some of her other credits include Songs For A New World, Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, CeeCee Bloom in Beaches, Shelley (and u/s Tracey, Velma, and Prudy) in the Original Broadway production of Hairspray, and most famously, Elphaba in Wicked. Outside of theatre, Shoshana has released 4 albums and countless singles, and frequently performs in cabarets and concerts worldwide.

Simon is no stranger to the stage both in Australia and London, having most recently completed a production of Catch Me If You Can at the Hayes Theatre. Other credits include Lloyd Dallas in Noises Off (QTC/MTC), Georges in La Cage Aux Folles (TPC), and Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins (Australian Tour). Simon has also frequented film and TV, and has a range of credits from feature films to being a presenter

The theme of this Secret Broadway is ‘curtains up’ – do you have a favourite opening number?

Shoshana: The opening number to Ragtime is one of the most powerful I can recall ever witnessing in live theatre. The tension, the music, the direction. I was breathless.

Simon: I’m really fond of “And You Don’t Even Know It” from Everyone’s Talking About Jamie – as well as being a perfect opening number for the show I used it to open the 2019 NIDA Diploma of Music Theatre showcase that I directed last year, and it reminds me of the great time I had with that wonderful company of young performers.

Shoshana, are you excited to be visiting Australia?

Shoshana: ALWAYS!  Too many years pass in between visits so I’m thrilled another opportunity to return has presented itself!

Shoshana Bean in Waitress | Photo by Emilio Madrid-Kuser

What has been your favourite role and/or show to perform in? 

Shoshana: Playing Jenna in Waitress seems to be the most special thus far. The entire experience from top to bottom was so magical and healing and revelatory.

Simon: That answer for me is always very fluid but at the moment it would have to be my first big musical – playing Marius in the original Australian cast of Les Miserables (back in 1987!) and my most recent musical – playing Frank Snr in Catch Me If You Can in Cameron Mitchell’s amazing production at the Hayes last year – one of the most joyful casts I have ever been in.

What is your go-to shower song?

Shoshana: Haha! honestly the only singing I do in the shower is my vocal warm ups!

Simon: Any of my old faves from Play School – obviously.

Simon Burke and Jake Speer in Catch Me If You Can | Photo by Robert Catto

Simon, you’ve got quite an extensive list of screen credits – how is performing in a musical different to the screen?

Simon: I believe all acting is finding the truth from moment to moment – high comedy or high drama, in a theatre as big as the London Palladium or as tiny as the Stables in Sydney, in wide-shot or in close-up. It’s all basically the same.

Do you have any dream roles? Which and why?

Shoshana: Fanny Brice. Forever and always. I love her story, I love her conflict, I connect to the material, the music and the woman deeply. And the score is one of the greatest ever written for a woman in musical theatre, in my opinion.

Simon: Marius was my dream role so I’m pretty lucky to have been the third person in the world to play him. I’m sad that I never got to play Bobby in Company. I’d love to play Sweeney Todd – I think that would be the dream role in the music theatre canon for me. A huge baritone sing and and you need to go to a very dark place. I guess my absolute dream role is the one that an amazing young writing team will create for me!


Secret Broadway starring Shoshana Bean and Simon Burke

Sat 22nd Feb at HOTA, Gold Coast

Tickets and more information are available at hota.com.au/theatre/secret-broadway/

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies, and is currently completing her Masters of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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