2011: We look at the year that has been.
It certainly has been a big year in the world of Australian Theatre; check out our ‘year in review’ below, and Erin James’ ‘Thank you’ column.
A year in Review
There are so many things that have happened this year. Here are just a few that I can remember… a month by month look at 2011!
- The devastating floods which ripped through much of Queensland and NSW set theatres in a flurry in Brisbane. QPAC was shut down due to flooding and Wicked was forced to cancel performances.
- Flood relief concerts took place in Melbourne and Sydney to raise funds for the victims of this natural disaster.
- Composer Jason Robert Brown kicks off his Australian season of shows.
- Brand new musical Dr Zhivao opens in Sydney starring Anthony Warlow, Lucy Maunder and Taneel Van Zyl.
- Ben Lewis and Anna O’Byrne (pictured) are announced as Phantom and Christine for the re-worked production of Love Never Dies.
- The Boy From Oz opens at the Capitol Theatre, Sydney
- Erin James announced as the 2nd ever Editor and together with co-director Matt Edwards, begins the take-over process for AussieTheatre.com
- The troubled ‘tent’ production of Xanadu opens at Melbourne’s Docklands, March 3
- New Musicals Australia launches 2011 season in Sydney
- STC announces plans to tour Uncle Vanya (starring Cate Blanchett) to the USA in August
- Sharon Millerchip announced as Meg Giry for Love Never Dies
- Priscilla opens on Broadway, starring Australia’s own Tony Sheldon as Bernadette (pictured).
- Melbourne’s Green Room Awards take place at the The Famous Spiegeltent, Arts Centre.
- 25th Annual Melbourne International Comedy Festival begins
- Love Never Dies begins rehearsals in Sydney
- Rock of Agesopens in Melbourne at the Comedy Theatre
- Xanadu producers go into administration; the production, which starred Christie Whelan and Sam Ludeman (pictured) closes on April 10.
- The Wheels of A Dream phenomenon (starring Adam Rennie, Tessa Hurst and Nat Jobe) sweeps across Australia and the world
- Dr Zhivago opens in Melbourne at Her Majesty’s Theatre, April 14
- Black Swan State Theatre Company broadcasts a live stage performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in real time to audiences across regional Western Australia.
- MTC’s Next To Normal opens in Melbourne, April 28
- Mary Poppins (pictured) opens in Sydney after 9 months at the Regent Theatre, Melbourne.
- Plans to ‘derail the Phantom sequel’ with the Love Should Die campaign
- $9 Million production of Love Never Dies opens in Melbourne, 28 May. Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber comes to Melbourne for the premiere.
- Tony Sheldon nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in Priscilla on Broadway
- Sondheim praises our Caroline O’Connor’s portrayal of Mrs Lovett (Sweeney Todd) in Paris
- Wicked celebrates 1000 performances in Australia, 7 May
- Anthony Warlow and Todd McKenney named for 2012 revival of Annie
- Addams Family musical announced for Sydney, 2013
- Strictly Ballroom announced for Sydney 2013
- Acting legend Bill Hunter loses battle with cancer, aged 71
- Hairspray, starring Trevor Ashley and Jaz Flowers (pictured) opens in Sydney
- John Foreman’s musical Strange Bedfellows is announced for Melbourne, October 2011 (cast announced are Lucy Durack, Peter Cousens, Melissa Langton and John Wood)
- The much anticipated original cast recording of Dr. Zhivago is cancelled
- Adelaide Cabaret Festival begins
- Volcanic Ash cloud from Chile stops air traffic, affecting Adelaide Cabaret Festival and several large musicals with cast unable to return from weekend trips to see family.
- Kevin Spacey is announced to be performing Richard III at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre, December 2011
- Erin James takes over from Troy Dodds as Editor of AussieTheatre.com (and does Dry July to keep her head on straight!)
- Cast of Jersey Boystake part in Dry July (pictured)
- King Kong The Musical workshops take place in Sydney
- Magnormos’ Jerry Herman Triptych begins in Melbourne
- Twisted Broadway raises money for OZ Showbiz Cares/Equity Fights Aids, Melbourne
- Tick Tick Boom opens in Sydney and plays a short but very successful season at NIDA
- Melbourne Cabaret Festival begins
- Actress Googie Withers dies, age 94
- Jonothan Biggins hosts 2011 Helpmann Awards at the Sydney Opera House. Mary Poppins scoops the pool with 8 awards.
- Rock of Ages announces Sydney season for January 2012
- An Officer and A Gentleman is announced for Sydney, May 2012
- Opera Australia announces its 2012 season, including a revival of South Pacific starring Teddy Tahu Rhodes
- Several London theatres close their doors in response to the violent riots taking place across the city
- Rumours about the cancellation of Strange Bedfellows, starring Peter Cousens and John Wood (pictured) begin to circulate
- AussieTheatre.com breaks the news that Strange Bedfellows is delayed, not cancelled. Initial estimate is a 10 week delay.
- The revival of A Chorus Line produced by Tim Lawson announces auditions
- The Concourse, a revolutionary new theatre complex in Chatswood, opens its doors for the first time.
- Entertainment Assist – a charity to help artists in need is launched in Melbourne (chairman Larry Ponting, pictured).
- The Sydney Fringe Festival begins, 9 September
- Brisbane Festival begins
- Hairspray cast given notice: show to close early in Sydney
- Wicked closes in Australia. The show opened in July 2008 in Melbourne and toured to Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
- Love Never Dies is filmed for international DVD, Blu-Ray and cinema release on September 15 2011 at the Regent Theatre. Andrew Lloyd Webber visits Australia for the second time this year to oversee the filming.
- Australian idol personality and star of Wicked, Rob Mills, is announced to host revival of Young Talent Time on Channel 10
- Hats Off Melbourne raises money for OZ Showbiz Cares/Equity Fights Aids
- Amanda Harrison and Ben Mingay announced as lead roles for An Officer and A Gentleman
- West End star Scarlett Strallen takes over from Mary Poppin’s Verity Hunt-Ballard for 8 weeks, Sydney in the role of Mary.
- Melbourne Festival begins
- Light The Night raises money for the Arrow Bone Marrow Foundation, hosted by Brendan Moar and Jan van de Stool
- Diane Cliento dies, age 78
- Blake Bowden (pictured) wins 2011 Rob Guest Endowment
- King Kong is officially announced for Melbourne’s Regent Theatre, 2013 as auditions commence for the final workshop and show.
- Rock of Ages announce their intention to ‘postpone’ their Sydney season.
- Short Sweet+Cabaret returns to Melbourne
- Short+Sweet Festival takes place in Brisbane
- NIDA appoints new head of Acting for 2012, Jeff Janisheski.
- Australian director Sarah Watt, wife of actor William McInnes, passes away aged 53 after losing her battle with cancer.
- Legally Blonde is announced to play at the Lyric Theatre, The Star, not the Capitol Theatre as originally speculated.
- Grey Gardens, starring Pamela Rabe and Nancye Hayes opens at the Arts Centre
- Ghost The Musical is announced for Melbourne, 2013.
- Two young Australians (Rarmian Newton and Sarah McCreanor) announced as lead roles inHow To Train Your Dragon
- The award winning play War Horse is announced for Melbourne 2012
- AussieTheatre.com announces an exclusive WICKED blog for the Singapore tour, written by cast member Chris Scalzo
- A professional production of Next To Normal is announced for Sydney, 2012
- STC switch their Eliza’s for their production of Pygmalion (Andrea Demetriades will replace Jessica Marais as she awaits the birth of her first child)
- Moonshadow, the Yusuf (Cat Stevens) musical is announced for Melbourne, 2012
- Rock of Ages closes two weeks early in Brisbane.
- How To Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular’s international cast are rehearsing in Sydney’s Fox Studios ahead of a March 2012 opening.
- Kevin Spacey performs to sold out houses in Richard III at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre
- A Chorus Line is set to open on December 31 at the Adelaide Festival Centre.
- Industry in shock as RJ Rosales passes away, age 37. Rosales starred as Thuy in the recent Australian tour of Miss Saigon.
- Summer of the Seventeenth Doll will open MTC’s 2012 season, January.
- Nancye Hayes celebrates 50 years in showbusiness.
- Suzie Mathers (Wicked‘s new Glinda) is ill for Singapore opening night; Lucy Durack is flown in to save the day.
- Jersey Boys, Love Never Dies and Mary Poppins all close (December 17/18) and prepare to tour.
- Annie prepares to preview on December 29 at the Lyric Theatre, The Star (Sydney)