Introducing Christopher Harley: a talented, sensitive, mop-haired composer whom at 22 years of age, is artistically doing quite well for himself, thank you very much.
This softly spoken musical whiz composed his first musical in 2004, aged 17, while still at high school in his hometown of Newcastle, NSW. Entitled In A Pink Tutu, the one act comedy was written for (and performed by) his peers in a drama class.
Several years later, this musical which caught the eye and interest of Peter Ross, a director, performer and then executive of Kookaburra’s National Music Theatre Company.
“Peter Ross is someone I consider a mentor. Definitely, completely – a permanent mentor for me”, says Harley.
“Peter came and saw a production of Tutu in Newcastle, and called me the next week. He wanted to workshop it, and so began my involvement with Kookaburra.”
Since his first dabble with composing musicals in 2004, Harley has been very busy. Along with composing 3 more musicals (one of which he was commissioned to write), he has also formed a production company – Armchair Productions. It is this company that is staging Ready or Not: A Christopher Harley Revue, this weekend.
Featuring a collection of songs from this award-winning composer, the revue showcases pieces from his previous shows and also includes a number of exciting premieres.
Staged at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre Playhouse, the revue is a fundraiser to aid the planning and eventual actualisation of a Pink Tutucast recording, and the means to take the show to the New York Musical Theatre Festival in September 2010.
The cast includes Erin James, Daniel Wilson, Giverny Lewis, Brad Carroll, Kathryn Sgroi, Harriet Dyer, Tim Shearman, Holly Clayton, Nick Stabler, Jessica Clayton and Beth Robertson.
Directed by Peter Ross, Ready or Not will feature Harley at the piano, supported by strings, brass and a three piece rock-band. Blending his unique style of contemporary broadway, classical, jazz and folk, this will be an evening of fresh, original musical theatre.
“I think music just has a really bizarre way of hitting home. So music with text is quite an amazing form of art. It can affect human emotion so quickly. And it’s just incredible watching all that come to life!”, says Harley.
Christopher Harley has all the ingredients and especially the talent to take Australia, if not the world, by storm. Ready or not, here he comes!