49 Strong: King Kong full cast announced

Global Creatures have officially announced the full cast list for their epic new musical spectacular King Kong, which will open at the Regent Theatre Melbourne on 15 June 2013.

KIng Kong cast members from NICA and VCA
KIng Kong cast members from NICA and VCA. Image by Ponch Hawkes

Forty nine actors, dancers, circus performers, puppeteers and singers will take to the stage as the world premiere cast of King Kong and today the producers have announced them to the world. Shying away from ‘big name’ casting, choosing instead to draw graduates from some of the country’s elite performing arts schools including the Victorian College of the Arts and the National Institue of Circus Arts.

“Not only will King Kong be exclusive to Melbourne, but we are building Kong himself in our West Melbourne workshop, and we were pleased to discover it was Victoria’s arts training institutions that have proven to be the crucibles of the talent we needed”, said Carmen Pavlovic, CEO of Global Creatures.

King Kong - Kings Men Testing session. Image Jurgen Oeltjenbruns
King Kong – Kings Men Testing session. Image by Jurgen Oeltjenbruns

VCA is the biggest tertiary provider of cast to King Kong, with principal cast members Adam Lyon (Carl Denham) and Chris Ryan (Jack Driscoll) being graduates, in addition to another six of the cast. The college’s music theatre course has supplied five graduates to the show and Victorian Premier and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu seems happy with the outcome after his government pumped extra resources into the college in order to keep the training institution alive.

“At the last election we committed to providing additional support for the VCA because we recognised the importance of access not only to world-class venues, but also to local, highly-skilled artisans if Victoria is to remain the arts capital of Australia,” said Baillieu.

“It is heartening that so many Victorian artists are involved in King Kong, and we look forward to the production’s 2013 season being another reason for people to visit Melbourne.”

Putting faith in a diverse group of performers that are highly skilled in their respective fields of specialty, Director Daniel Kramer praises his cast with tenacity.

Production Development Set Model of Kong Breaking Out Of Time Square Theatre. Image by Peter England
Production Development Set Model of Kong Breaking Out Of Time Square Theatre. Image by Peter England

“I am ferociously proud of our 100% made-in-Australia cast. Audiences should brace themselves; not only does our cast dance and sing and act, but they fly, flip, and fall through the air, looking darn gorgeous in the process. Never before have I had the privilege of working with such a group of world-class entertainers,” he said.

Victoria’s National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) has also proved an invaluable resource for the production, not only during the numerous workshops of King Kong, but in supplying six of the ‘Kings Men’ – aerialists who will be purpose-trained by Puppetry Director Peter Wilson and Aerial/Circus Director Gavin Robins to manipulate the one-tonne, six-metre, giant silverback Kong on stage.

In addition to the 49-strong cast, King Kong will also employ a crew of 76 for the entire run of the show. Due to the sheer scale of the production, it will not tour to other states or to New Zealand, but there are hopes to take the product to Broadway in the not-too-distant future.

Book tickets to this world premiere event via ticketmaster.com.au

THE PRINCIPAL CAST

Esther Hannaford (Ann Darrow), Adam Lyon (Carl Denham), Chris Ryan (Jack Driscoll), Richard Piper (Captain Engelhorn), Queenie van de Zandt (Cassandra)

THE COMPANY

Charles Bartley, Damien Bermingham, Amy Berrisford, Amy Campbell, Sophie Carter, Angelique Cassimatis, Will Centurion, Andrew Cook, Samantha Leigh Dodemaide, Simon Fairweather, Samantha Hagen, Ross Hannaford, Melanie Hawkins, Danni Hegarty, Sam Hooper, Loren Hunter, Travis Khan, Leah Lim, Sam Marks, Hayley Martin, Scott McConnell, Tracie Morley, Glen Oliver, Chris Ostrenski, Joshua Robson, Romina Villafranca, Dean Vince and Leigh-Anne Vizer

THE KINGS MEN

Lincoln Barros, Steve Coupe, Adam Davis, Harley Durst, Ricky J. Everett, Josh Feldschuh, Brett Franzi, Nathan Jones, Nathan Kell, Russell Leonard, Brent Osborne, Troy Phillips, Mike Snow, Jacob Williams, Tayo Wilson.

One Kings Man is still to be cast.

 

Roger Kirk's costume sketch for King Kong
Roger Kirk’s costume sketch for King Kong

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Erin James is AussieTheatre.com's Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

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