Starring Annie Aitken, Debora Krizak and Deone Zanotto with direction and choreography by Madison Lee, Richard Harris’ Stepping Out is set to premiere at Chapel Off Chapel from 15 April to 3 May 2020.
Stepping Out is as heart-warming as it is comedic, following the lives and loves of an unlikely group of women – and one man – as they stumble ungracefully through their weekly tap class in a shabby North London church hall.
The performance centres around Mavis, the role portrayed by Liza Minelli in the popular 1991 Americanised film adaptation, a mid 30s out-of-work professional dancer/actor who runs an amateur tap class to support herself between few-and-far-between paid gigs. Pressure rises on the amateur dancers when Mavis decides to enter the class into a public fundraiser concert performance night. There is a ‘slight’ problem though – they are terrible at tapping. Their hilarious struggle to prepare for their first public performance results in a heart-warming performance about sisterhood, women supporting women and dancing through adversity.
Set in the early part of England’s Thatcherism era, 1984, a period of significant social unrest and division between classes, the tap-dancing women are inspiring representations of the wives, mothers and single ladies of this era. They each have their own unique lives and struggles outside the walls of the weekly dance class, resulting in a tap class that is group therapy in leg warmers and top hats.
One of the fastest rising stars of the Australian music theatre stage, Annie Aitken recently starred to great acclaim as Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie, which marked her third show with The Production Company having previously appeared in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Oklahoma. Other career highlights include Cunégonde in Candide at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall alongside Alexander Lewis and Caroline O’Connor (Sydney Philharmonia Choirs) for which she won a Broadway World Award for Best Actress in a lead role in an Opera, and as original cast member in the world premiere of Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical (STC/Global Creatures). The winner of the prestigious Rob Guest Endowment Award, Annie originated the lead role of Nellie Melba in Melba (Hayes Theatre Company) starring opposite the legendary soprano Emma Matthews in a performance that earned her a Sydney Theatre Award nomination for Best Female Actor in a Lead Role in a Musical. Other credits include Jekyll and Hyde 25th Anniversary Concert with Anthony Warlow (Concertworks), Whitney Sunday in DreamSong (EbbFlow), Bunny in Sweet Charity (Tinderbox/Luckiest Productions/Neil Gooding), Chastity in Anything Goes (Opera Australia/GFO), and Maria & Liesl cover in The Sound of Music (GFO/RUG/David Ian).
Debora Krizak is one of Australia’s most versatile and critically recognized performers. Originally from Adelaide, she began her career by being cast in Mel Brooks’ The Producers and went on to performances in Titanic – a new musical, Respect the Musical, A Chorus Line, Guy Noble’s Karaoke The Musical, Calendar Girls (GFO), Stalker Theatre’s worldwide debut of Shanghai Lady Killer, Jerry’s Girls (The Production Company) and Squabbalogic’s Sondheim On Sondheim in 2014 which earned her a Glug nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Her performance in Sweet Charity, playing the dual roles of Nickie and Ursula, earned her another Helpmann and Glug nomination as well as a winning the Sydney Theatre Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. Debora made her debut with Opera Australia in 2016, playing the role of Erma in the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes, as well as understudying Caroline O’Connor as Reno Sweeney and in 2017, Debora played the role of Fraulein Kost in David Hawkins’ touring production of Cabaret earning another Glug nomination.
Deone Zanotto is an actor, dancer and singer who has performed extensively throughout Australia as well in on Broadway and London’s West End. Theatre credits include the role of Anita in West Side Story (The Production Company), A Chorus Line (Tim Lawson/TML Enterprises), Dream Lover (GFO), Chicago (GFO) as well as A Chorus Line on Broadway and We Will Rock You on the West End.
Choreographer and director Madison Lee recent credits include the 2017- 2019 Sydney Mardi Gras Parade, Falsettos (StageArt), Bare the Musical (Understudy Productions), Mad World (David Butler Studios) and This is Halloween & Twisted Christmas (Brooklyn Runaways). In 2018, Madi toured Asia as the offstage swing for children’s group Hi5 and was nominated for Best Choreography at the 2019 Sydney Theatre Awards for her work The Wild Party (Little Triangle). In 2019, Madison choreographed the Australian premiere of Razorhurst (Hayes Theatre Co), the Australian premiere of Ghost Quartet (Antipodes Theatre Co), the Sydney production of Nine the Musical (Little Triangle), Les Miserables (Packemin Productions), DreamSong (EbbFlow Productions), the 25th Anniversary Concert of Jekyll & Hyde with Anthony Warlow (Concertworks) and the Australian premiere of The Bridges of Madison County (Hayes Theatre Co).
Richard Harris is one of the UK’s most well-known television and theatre writers with credits including The Avengers, A Touch of Frost, The Saint and Outside Edge. Stepping Out is the Melbourne debut for Sydney-based Nineteen 98 Productions, an independent production company which was established by Harriet Snaith. It was created with the vision to create more opportunities for women, people of colour, the LGBTQI+ community and artists living with a disability and in November 2018, following successes in the Sydney Comedy Festival, Edinburgh Fringe and Redline Underground, Nineteen 98 Productions toured Jane Watt’s Gate 64 to New York as part of United Solo Theatre Festival.
Further cast announcements will be made before the end of the year.
Nineteen98 Productions presents Stepping Out by Richard Harris
Chapel Off Chapel – 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran.
15 April – 3 May 2020
Bookings and further information – www.chapeloffchapel.com.au or phone 03 8290 7000.