Tickets to the previews of the critically acclaimed, smash hit and Helpmann-Award winning musical Ladies in Black have just been released. New great seats at $75 each have been released for previews from 3-5 January 2017and are now available from www.ticketmaster.com.au or www.sydneyfestival.org.au Produced by Queensland Theatre Company, this swanky new home-grown musical will play a strictly limited three-week season as part of the Sydney Festival before touring the eastern states.
From the adaptation of Madeleine St John’s 1993 novel, The Women in Black, this acclaimed production has been brought to life by Australian screenwriter Carolyn Burns and internationally-acclaimed director Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Love Never Dies) with original music from legendary singer songwriter, Tim Finn OBE (Split Enz, Crowded House).
The best Aussie musical since Priscilla went global – The Age
An immensely engaging score filled with generous melodies – The Australian
A theatrical triumph – The Courier-Mail
This is an ensemble of world class quality – Limelight Magazine
Tim Finn is a musical genius – The Courier-Mail
Heart-warming, funny and charmingly Australian – The Music
The world premiere of Ladies in Black, the stylish story of fashion, friendship and 1950s Australia took place in Brisbane in November 2015 with the frock-fest signalling a stunning and triumphant return of musical theatre for the company. This year Ladies in Black won the coveted Helpmann Award for Best New Australian Work and was nominated for another five awards.
The show features over 20 original songs written by Tim Finn and a stunning range of some 30 custom-designed and created dresses and suits. The genesis of Ladies in Black actually happened at the Brisbane Airport – Tim Finn was famously looking for a book to read, bought The Women in Black and on reading it, was compelled to call Simon Phillips and plant the seed for a stage production. On the plane, he started writing the music. The rest is history.
Revisiting the role of Lisa, the young starry eyed school-leaver is Queensland-born rising star, Sarah Morrison.
The brilliant Bobby Fox, who wowed audiences playing Frankie Valli in the smash hit, Jersey Boys, returns as Rudi (otherwise known as the ‘Continental’) along with the multi-talented and award-winning artist Carita Farrer Spencer who plays Mrs Miles. Kathryn McIntyre will play Myra while Greg Stone (Once, The Weir) takes on the dual roles of Mr Miles and Stefan, and Kate Cole (Sweet Charity, Grounded) takes to the stage as Miss Cartwright and Joy.
New to the cast for the Australian tour is Natalie Gamsu (Strictly Ballroom) who will play Magda while Helpmann Award nominee Madeleine Jones will play Patty. Taking the role of Fay is acclaimed actress Ellen Simpson while multi-award winning actor Trish Noble will play the dual roles of Miss Jacobs and Mrs Crow.
Akin to writing an entirely new album, the full musical score and lyrics for Ladies in Black is the creation of the highly acclaimed singer and songwriter, Tim Finn. Synonymous with legendary groups Split Enz and Crowded House, Tim was a major contributor to what is the Australian soundtrack of the 1980s and early 1990s. In 2009, he collaborated with playwright Matt Cameron on Poor Boy which premiered at MTC, directed by Simon Phillips (who he reunites with for Ladies in Black) and he is currently under commission by the Western Australian Opera, Victorian Opera and New Zealand Opera to write Star Navigator, which will tour Australia and New Zealand in 2016. On August 18 he opens The Fiery Maze at Malthouse Theatre, an onstage song cycle he created with poet Dorothy Parker. Tim is one of the key drivers behind Ladies in Black becoming a stage reality.
Screenwriter Carolyn Burns wrote her first book, the comedy-thriller for children, The Retrievers in New Zealand, with her first play Objection Overruled performed throughout that country. Now based in Australia, she has since written four plays, including adapting both Haxby’s Circus and High Society for the stage, and is in demand as a dramaturg and script editor.
Award-winning director Simon Phillips brings serious directorial revenue to the stage, having developed Priscilla – Queen of the Desert from a film script to a hit musical in Melbourne, Sydney, London, Toronto and Broadway. He successfully refashioned Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, for The Really Useful Company, and adapted the First Wives Club The Musical for Chicago’s Oriental Theatre in 2015. He has just directed the world premiere of Dream Lover – The Bobby Darin Musical starring David Campbell at the Sydney Lyric Theatre. The former Artistic Director of MTC (2000 – 2011) his director credits are both long and prestigious.
With a dash of delicate comedy, Ladies in Black is a magical modern-day fairytale set in a stylish department store – F.G. Goode – in a city on the cusp of becoming cosmopolitan: Sydney is crossing the threshold between the stuffy repression of the 1950s and the glorious liberation of the 1960s. Donning a distinguished black dress, the bright-eyed, bookish school leaver Lisa is about to join the ranks on the sales floor of the city’s most prestigious department store – temporarily, of course.
Her domineering dad intends to railroad her into a career as a secretary, but Lisa has grander schemes in mind. In that summer of innocence, a world of possibilities opens up as she befriends the unlucky Fay and the frustrated Patty; and the exotic, compelling European refugee, Magda, mysterious mistress of the model gowns, who takes Lisa under her wing. From the Christmas rush to the chaos of the sales, these women stand shoulder to padded shoulder and together learn lessons in life, love and longing – and at the end, it’s not just the fancy frocks that are forever altered.
Venue: Sydney Lyric Theatre, The Star
Season: 3 – 22 January 2017
Bookings: 1300 795 267 or ticketmaster.com.au or sydneyfestival.org.au