In tribute to the late Jon English, his rock opera passion project, PARIS: A Rock Odyssey is set to return in a Melbourne concert series for just four performances in July 2017 at Melbourne Recital Centre.
Music Theatre Melbourne (MTM) will produce the concert production. Co-written by English and music producer David Mackay, English was working with MTM on a new production of the rock opera at the time of his death a year ago.
The show started life as a soundtrack (released in 1990 – it picked up an ARIA award) before its first production as a music theatre piece in Sydney in 2003. Based on Greek myth – the romance between Paris and Helen – the show is a love story with typical English rock edge. It has since been performed throughout Australia, as well in New Zealand, the UK and Europe.
Paris will star John Waters (The Addams Family) as Ulysses, Ben Mingay (An Officer and a Gentleman) as Achilles, Kerrie Anne Greenland (Les Miserables) as Cassandra, Matthew Manahan (WAAPA graduate) as Paris, and Madeleine Featherby (Godspell) as Helen.
MTM Director Mark Featherby said: “Jon was working on this forthcoming production with us and we spent several meetings making plans.
“He wanted John Waters in our show and we are so grateful John is playing Ulysses, as he was on the original cast album and has such an integral association with Jon and Paris.”
The soundtrack featured Jon English in the role of Hector, together with John Waters, Barry Humphries, Philip Quast, Doc Neeson, John Parr, Sheila Parker, Joe Fagin, Demis Roussos, David Atkins and Terence Donovan, and was backed by the London Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Choir.
Music Theatre Melbourne’s Creative Director Fizpatrick (and Director of Stella’s 2004 production of Paris) said “English was passionate about Stella’s first production of Paris at Melbourne’s National Theatre in 2004”.
“He was extraordinarily generous with his time and contribution to the cast – he loved being around rehearsals.”
“We had meetings with him around midnight after his pub gigs, we had meetings with him at 7.30am for breakfast. As for the script, he welcomed suggestions, tweaks and radical production ideas more readily than any writer I have ever worked with.”
The concert will be directed by Neil Gooding, with musical direction by Isaac Hayward.
Paris: A Rock Odyssey will play from July 13 – 15 at Melbourne Recital Centre. For tickets and more information visit here.