Musical Theatre in Australia is thriving! From the major commercial productions to independent and boutique seasons, it’s an exciting time to be involved in the musical theatre industry.
Keeping track of all that’s happening can be hard, so we’ve put it all down in one place for you on this specifically designated page for the Aussie musical theatre industry.
Check back frequently to find out what’s in store for 2020 and beyond!
Commercial Music Theatre:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
POSTPONED - Heading to QPAC, Brisbane
Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical opened at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre in January 2019, and has had a very successful subsequent run in Melbourne. It now heads to Brisbane, opening in March 2020.
Produced by John Frost, Craig Donnell, Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Langley Park Productions and Neal Street Productions in Australia, the musical has already enjoyed previous seasons on Broadway and The West End.
Come From Away
Opening August in Sydney, then returning to Melbourne in Feb 2021
COME FROM AWAY tells the remarkable true story of thousands of stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland, Canada that welcomed them. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.
Waitress the Musical
Opening in Sydney in 2020
Brought to life by a ground-breaking all-female creative team, this irresistible new hit features original music and lyrics by 6-time Grammy® nominee Sara Bareilles (“Brave,” “Love Song”), a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam), choreography by Lorin Latarro (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Waiting For Godot) and direction by Tony Award® winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Finding Neverland).
Frozen the Musical
Opening at the Capitol Theatre Sydney in July 2020
Disney has announced that their Broadway smash hit Frozen will head to Australia in 2020.
The musical is based on the animated film of the same name.
Bran Nue Dae
Opening Sydney 2020, then Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, and Adelaide
Recognised as the world’s first Aboriginal stage musical when it premiered to great acclaim in 1990, Bran Nue Dae originally toured over a three-year period, and remains one of the most commercially successful pieces of original Australian musical theatre.
Australia’s premier opera companies today announced they have joined forces under the Opera Conference banner to produce the first major revival of the hit musical Bran Nue Dae, opening in Sydney in January 2020 and touring to Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
Sydney Lyric Theatre, beginning March 2021
It has finally been confirmed that the smash hit Broadway musical Hamilton, will be heading to Australia!
Sept in Sydney, then Melbourne in 2021
Winner of five Tony Awards including Best Musical, Fun Home is the must-see musical event of the year that has taken Broadway by storm. Based on Alison Bechdel’s New York Times best-selling graphic novel, this taboo-busting musical dives deep into Alison’s past to tell the true story of growing up with a brilliant but volatile father, whose temperament and secrets defined her life.
Alison Bechdel is a cartoonist – it’s her job to fit stories into boxes. But her own life story sings outside the box. Moving between past and present, Alison relives her unique childhood playing games in the family’s funeral home; her growing understanding of her own sexuality, and the looming, unanswerable questions about her father’s hidden desires.
Legend of screen and stage Lisa McCune (The King and I) returns to MTC for this new all-Australian production, joining a remarkable ensemble including Ryan Gonzalez (Jersey Boys), Maggie McKenna (Muriel’s Wedding The Musical), Lucy Maunder (Ladies in Black) and Adam Murphy (Shakespeare in Love) for this refreshingly honest, wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes, directed by Dean Bryant (Sweet Charity).
The Who's Tommy
Melbourne from 14-22 August
Legendary British band The Who extended the possibilities of rock ‘n’ roll to new horizons in the 1960s and 70s. From their iconic 1969 rock opera album Tommy comes a five-time Tony Award-winning musical – a high-energy, one-of-a-kind theatrical experience.
Tommy’s traumatic childhood leaves his senses paralysed, but despite being deaf, dumb and blind, the teenager plays a mean pinball game. His extraordinary talent catapults him to international superstardom in this inspiring story of hope, healing, and triumph over adversity.
With music and lyrics by The Who’s guitarist and vocalist Pete Townshend, the electrifying and timeless score features smash hits such as ‘Pinball Wizard’, ‘I’m Free’ and ‘Acid Queen’. Get ready to rock on with The Who’s Tommy as it takes over Melbourne’s rock ‘n’ roll stomping ground with raw energy and music that has the power to shake your soul.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Premiering at the Regent Theatre, Melbourne in 2021
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced that the smash-hit musical Moulin Rouge! will be heading to Australia for its premiere at the Regent Theatre, Melbourne in 2021.
Six the Musical
Heading to Melbourne, then Adelaide
Six follows the lives of Henry VIII’s wives. Presented as a pop concert, the show has already gained a massive following since its 2017 premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe. The show is currently running in the UK and has only just opened their Broadway run.
Fiddler on the Roof
Sydney from September 2020 then Melbourne
Fiddler on the Roof, one of the most renowned musicals of all time, will be brought to life at the Sydney Opera House in September 2020 and Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre in November, in a new production performed entirely in Yiddish. It premieres in Australia after sold-out seasons in New York and worldwide critical acclaim.
The Secret Garden
Sydney from August 2020, Melbourne from November 2020
The Secret Garden returns to Australia for a 25th anniversary production which reunites the original Broadway creative team of director Susan H Schulman, choreographer Michael Lichtefeld and designer Heidi Ettinger. Based on the popular literary classic by Frances Hodgson Burnett, this sumptuous musical will open at Sydney Lyric Theatre in August 2020 before heading to Melbourne in November 2020.
Everybody's Talking About Jamie
Sydney from July, then touring Australia
Based on a true story and adapted from the documentary film Jamie – Drag Queen at Sixteen, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie centres on the coming-of-age of 16-year-old school boy Jamie New from Sheffield, in Northern England, who finds his true self with the support of his loving mum. It’s a life-affirming musical that tells a universal tale of friendship, chasing your dreams, beating the bullies, overcoming prejudice and stepping out of the darkness, into the spotlight.
After the Sydney Opera House, the Australian production of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie will travel to the Sydney Coliseum (Western Sydney), The Arthouse (Wyong), Arts Centre Melbourne (Melbourne), QPAC (Brisbane), Canberra Theatre Centre (Canberra), His Majesty’s Theatre (Perth) and Her Majesty’s Theatre (Adelaide).
9 to 5 The Musical
POSTPONED - Sydney, then Melbourne
Inspired by the hit film, 9 TO 5 is a hilarious musical about teaming up, standing up and taking care of business! This smash-hit West End musical features a book by the iconic movie’s original screenwriter Patricia Resnick and an Oscar, Grammy and Tony award-nominated score by the Queen of Country herself, Dolly Parton including her much-loved hit song, 9 to 5.
Commercial Music Theatre:
The Bridges of Madison County
Playing at Hayes Theatre from 6 March - 5 April
Based on the best-selling novel, and developed by the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning creative team of Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years, Parade, Songs for a New World) and Marsha Norman, The Bridges of Madison County captures the lyrical expanse of America’s heartland along with the yearning entangled in the eternal question of, ‘What if …?’
Set among the cornfields and picturesque covered bridges of Midwest America, Francesca’s safe but passionless world is thrown into turmoil when her friendship with a travelling photographer turns into a brief but intense affair, changing both their lives forever.
Winner of the 2014 Tony Award for Best Score and Orchestrations, this sweeping romance about the roads we travel, the doors we open and the bridges we dare to cross, will leave audiences breathless.
Merrily We Roll Along
Playing at Hayes Theatre in 2021
Merrily We Roll Along is the heartbreaker of Sondheim musicals, looking at how the best of friends lose their way as they ght to win at life. We follow a trio of friends – Franklin Shepard, a composer; Charley Kringas, his writing partner lyricist; and Mary Flynn, an upcoming novelist. All three are primed to change the world through words and music. However, success has a way of opening doors that take them further away from what – and who – they love. Famously told in reverse, Merrily We Roll Along is an emotional detective story that investigates how grown-up sellouts are forged from wide-eyed poets.
Head Over Heels
Playing at Hayes Theatre from 3 July - 2 August
Director Ellen Simpson and the Producers of the 2019 smash hit American Psycho – The Musical bring you Head Over Heels; a bold new musical comedy from the visionaries behind Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Avenue Q, Next To Normal and Spring Awakening.
In a brazen (yet completely on-brand) attempt to flout the dire warnings of the Oracle, King Basilius of Arcardia sets off on a journey of evasion and avoidance, entire family in tow. The next few raucous and ruff-filled hours see all that is familiar to this royal clan tipped on its crown as they are flung, loins first, into a new age of inclusion and transformation.
Into The Woods
Presented by Watch This, from 16 - 26 September at The Meat Market, Melbourne
In a small village fringed by a vast forest, a collection of familiar fairy-tale characters are wrestling with unknown curses, untold desires and unnamed danger. There’s no avoiding the dark and dissonant wood, into which they all must venture to pursue their dreams and confront their demons. As they bumble forth in blind pursuit of their own ends, their tales entangle and entwine until the consequences of their individualism mount to threaten their very existence.
Nominated for 10 Tony Awards (including Best Original Score and Best Book) and 6 Olivier Awards in its debut seasons in New York and London, Into the Woods is Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s most famous and frequently revived work. Acclaimed Sondheim repertory company, Watch This, approaches it anew with a limited season of performances 16 – 26 September, 2020 at Meat Market, North Melbourne.
Bonnie and Clyde
Playing at Hayes Theatre from 18 Sep - 18 Oct
At the height of the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went from two small-town nobodies in West Texas to America’s most renowned folk heroes and Texas law enforcement’s worst nightmares. Fearless, shameless and alluring, the Tony-nominated Bonnie & Clyde, from the legendary Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & hyde, Civil War, Dracula) is the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire country.
When Bonnie and Clyde meet, their mutual cravings fro excitement and fame immediately set them on a mission to chase their dreams. Their bold and reckless behaviour turns the young lovers’ thrilling adventure into downward spiral, putting themselves and their loved ones in trouble with the law. Forced to stay on the run, the lovers resort to robbery and murder to survive. As the famous duo’s fame grows bigger, their inevitable end draws near.
Directed and choreographed by Amy Campbell (In The Heights, Hair), Bonnie & Clyde is a thrilling and sexy musical with a non-traditional score, combing blues, gospel and rockabilly music.
Presented by Key Change Productions, from 13 Nov - 5 Dec
AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE! From the creator of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 and based on true events, Preludes is a breathtaking musical fantasia set in the hypnotised mind of Russian composer, Sergei Rachmaninoff.
After the disastrous premiere of his first symphony, the young Rachmaninoff suffers from writer’s block. He begins daily sessions with a therapeutic hypnotist in an effort to overcome depression and return to composing. Inspired by the music of Rachmaninoff, triple Tony Award nominee Dave Malloy’s rapturous score features a hybrid of musical styles, from classical and folk to electronica and soaring pop arias.
With a stellar Australian cast and helmed by a high-octane creative team, Preludes will take you on an unforgettable, head-tripping journey into the psyche of the artist.
Playing at Hayes Theatre from 6 Nov - 5 Dec
Hayes Theatre Co presents the Australian premiere of this brilliantly kooky musical comedy, adapted by comic genius Mel Brooks (The Producers, Blazing Saddles) from his own legendarily funny film.
Scientist Frederick Frankenstein (“it’s pronounced Fronk-en-steen”) – grandson of the infamous scientist – travels reluctantly to Transylvania where he has inherited his family’s estate. Before long, he finds himself back in the mad scientist shoes of his ancestor, and with the help of hunchbacked sidekick Igor and yodeling lab assistant Inga, he brings to life a new creature to rival his grandfather’s. But this time, when the monster escapes – absolute hilarity ensues.
Young Frankenstein has all the panache and quick-fire humour of the screen sensation, with a little extra theatrical flair. Featuring songs like “The Transylvania Mania”and the immortal “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” Young Frankenstein is scientifically proven, monstrously good entertainment.
Beetlejuice The Musical
Mark Kaufman, one of the Beetlejuice’s producers and the executive VP of Warner Brothers Theatre Ventures said that discussions are already underway about launching productions in London’s West End and in Australia, and a U.S. national tour is in the works. Read more here.
Perhaps it’s just that everyone WANTS it to come, but persistent rumours of an Australian production of Newsies continue to circulate. During his stint in Australia for South Pacific in 2012, Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Gattelli joked that he would love to bring the production to Australia – so we’ve got that going for us at least! Now to find a theatre…
The Broadway producers have confirmed to AussieTheatre that there are plans to bring the musical to Australia, although no dates have been confirmed. Read the full article