We are very excited about the imminent opening of our next production, Wizard of Oz Young Performers Edition, directed by Billie-Jo Dukes and Rebecca Riches. This hour-long version of the much beloved story is performed entirely by performers under the age of eighteen. They too have been hampered by all things Covid, with this production originally scheduled to happen in 2021. The enthusiasm shown by these talented young performers is a wonder to behold and we can’t wait to see them shine on stage. They deserve all the support in the world, so please jump online to the Jetty Theatre website and purchase your tickets now! Opening night is on Friday 13 May. More information about this production can be found later in this newsletter.
We are still on a high after the amazing run of Mamma Mia! in November. A huge thank you must go to director Dee Tune and her team for actually getting this show on stage – with a 12 month delay due to Covid, then losing a month of rehearsal time right in the middle of the rehearsal period due to lockdowns, it really was a herculean effort to even make the stage, let alone produce something so amazing! We were able to open up to 100% of theatre capacity right after opening weekend, and we are hugely proud to say that nearly every single show was sold out (there was only one or two in the second week that didn’t)! This is an unprecedented result for our Company and we are so thankful to the people of Coffs Harbour and surrounds who came to support this show. Being a cast member, I can confirm that YES, we were having as much fun on stage as it looked like!
While the focus at the moment is all things Oz, we can’t not mention that our November production this year is the award-winning Australian classic, Priscilla Queen of the Desert! This will be directed by theatre stalwart (but first-time director!) Vanessa Crossley. More information about this next time, but keep an eye on our socials for audition information.
In other news, we will be having a working bee to tidy up the sheds in the next couple of months, with our friends at CHATS. We envisage that this will be over a few hours on Saturday morning, where we hope to have as many people as possible to come down and be told what to do by Sharon and Samantha. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for further details once we lock in a date.
That’s it from me for now. Can’t wait to see you all during the run of Wizard of Oz Young Performers Edition!
See you at the theatre.
Coffs Harbour Musical Comedy Company
A note from the director of The Wizard of Oz
For Billie-jo, her journey started all the way back in 2020, when she was approached by the CHMCC committee with the idea to have a junior performance of the Wizard of Oz. Auditions were held on the 17th April, 2021, and the young cast were selected. What happened over the next few months was incredibly unfortunate. More Covid outbreaks, more restrictions, just when we all thought it was over. All the things that are bound to cause havoc to a rehearsal schedule, occurred. But my goodness! This crew of young actors, from 8 years to 17 years of age, are a very resilient bunch! And their parents and carers have been incredibly supportive and understanding - we are so thankful.
The rehearsals have been a fairly smooth process since starting back up in February, with weekly Sunday rehearsal, with the kids having access to a plethora of online resources, vocal recordings, blocking and chorey videos that were updated each week as each scene was finalised, in which our cast would use to practice in their own time.
There are two reasons why the rehearsals have run so smoothly - Ginger Freudenstein and Jo Melinz. Ginger’s skill as a dancer and choreographer has really brought this show to life! Her vision for each dance number has been spot on and provides constant entertainment and spectacle throughout the entire show; her professionalism is second to none. Our production manager, Jo Melinz, has kept our combined chaos in order, from compiling emails from a mess of handwritten notes, keeping families updated via Facebook posts, to organising costumes with precision and ease (with help from Bec Nicholson and Sarah Armstrong - big thanks to you both!). Jo has been integral to the overall success of this production and we are so lucky to have her on board.
The “boys” in the shed have been hard at work building storm shelters, houses and hide-always for us and we could not be more grateful. I am quite excited to see it all come to life on stage. I would also like to give a big THANK YOU to Kylie MacKay, the fabulous artist who has helped us immensely with painting some of the various set and prop pieces, and to Ash from Open Studio who created our amazing witches castle set piece, which you will see on stage throughout the entire performance.
At long last, after postponing the show, we are finally here and what a brilliant show it is! We have two running casts, with the necessity for a double cast for some roles due to their age, or the amount of work involved for the actors - queue here our wonderful Dorothy’s, Lily Mackay and Maisie McCormack! These talented young ladies have put in the work, they have managed to stay motivated and enthusiastic in their role and bring their own uniqueness and flare to the character. They are a complete joy to witness.
Our two casts are cast Yellow and cast Green, every single cast member has put their all into learning their harmonies, choreography and lines! Every single cast member has a speaking or singing line throughout the show. With a cast of 35, and the word limit for this write up it is impossible to fit everything I would like to say about each and every one of them. The Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Toto shine through multiple moments of hilarity and sincerity. The Witches toe the line of light-hearted insanity and downright wickedness! While the Wonderful Wizard of Oz shows that even a con artist can have a heart of gold and some fantastic comedic timing!
Words cannot describe how proud I am of these incredibly hard working young actors, I cannot wait to see them shining and enjoying the fruits of their efforts. I would like to express my thanks to the CHMCC committee, notably Fiona Shaw who has not only been our liaison, had to deal with us sending messages at all times of the night, and has been integral to helping us organise the show but she has also agreed to a position of co-stage manager with the wonderful Sharon Tomlinson.
I sincerely hope to see you all out at the Jetty Memorial Theatre this month supporting local youth and local theatre because after all “There’s no place like home”.
Wizard of Oz, YPE
A note from the Priscilla Director
I am so very excited to be making my directorial debut with a show that is very close to my heart, with a company that I have strong attachments to.
I have been involved with local theatre since my first show at the Jetty Theatre as a 12 year old in 1981. 40 years later I still love the Jetty Theatre and have fond memories of the many times I have trod the boards there.
I have always thought that when the time was right and my youngest children were older I would turn my hand to directing.
When I heard the amateur rights were available for Priscilla I knew that time had come.
I remember seeing Priscilla the movie for the first time and loving everything about it, especially how very Australian it was. The thong dress!!!!!
I have seen the stage show several times in Sydney and the amazing music, brilliant and colourful costumes and quintessential Aussie humour make it one of my all-time favourite shows.
Who doesn’t love three flamboyant drag-queens touring the outback on a bus?
I have assembled an amazing crew of people to take this journey with me and hope that audiences will love what I am planning.
If the audience walk away talking about the costumes, the music and the amazing dance numbers our job will be done.
I am currently finalising the rehearsal schedule and have locked in our audition panel and venue for July 2nd and 3rd with our first read through scheduled for July 17th.
I hope to find some hidden gems in our community who have been waiting for an opportunity to join the local theatre ranks and develop a love for the theatre that myself and the CHMCC committee all have.
Stay tuned possums………………….Priscilla is on her way.