Here’s a question: have you ever tried to write a musical? Better yet, have you ever tried writing a whole musical in three weeks, just in time for a festival? As university students, we’ve all had our experiences with leaving assignments to the last minute, and subsequent deadlines. The Old Nick Company’s latest production [Title of Show] explores the characters Jeff and Hunter as they try to write an original musical in three weeks. The results of which are hilarious, heartbreaking and wholesomely inspiring, all the way through. With a small cast of only five actors and the direction of Justin Turner, [Title of Show] gives a sense of intimacy like no other show.
David Abbott juggles acting as Jeff and production managing. “This show is all about creating art in a very competitive world and trying to get it out there. As an actor, I can identify with that a lot – where you’re always competing for a role to get into a show,” he says.
He explains this is a show for arts students. It serves as a reminder you are not alone as a struggling artist, to always have hope, and to not compromise integrity.
The show sports a wonderfully talented cast, with five incredible actors and musicians taking to the stage.
David Abbott’s character Jeff is a composer and lyricist of a show within a show, and is a bit of a worrier. Mr Abbott brings to his character his experiences as a student at UTas’ conservatorium of music, where he studies a Bachelor of Music. Along with this he brings an impressive log of 25 previous shows.
Sam Dean plays Hunter, the writer of the book of the show-within-a-show, who is a bit of a class clown but with a heart of gold. Mr Dean has played leading roles in many musicals including Hairspray, All Shook Up and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Rebecca Oliver-Black plays Heidi, the stereotypical Broadway baby, growing up as a performer with dreams of one day making it big. She’s a friend of Jeff’s, and throughout the show gets to know Hunter and Susan. Ms Oliver-Black has returned to Hobart after completing a Bachelor of Musical Theatre at the Queensland conservatorium. She has an impressive log of shows and is currently studying a masters in speech pathology, and teaches singing and dance.
Sophie Tyrell plays Susan, the quirky friend of Hunter. Susan is not the most confident of singers, and certainly doesn’t see herself as Broadway material, not giving herself the credit she deserves. Ms Tyrell has been performing for more than 20 years. She has performed for The Hobart Repertory Theatre Society, ExitLeft Productions, and Bijou Creative.
Andrew Morrisby plays Larry, the onstage musical director. Mr Morrisby studied at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music, completing a Bachelor of Music in classical piano. Since 2009 Mr Morrisby has been involved in over 30 local productions.
With such a small cast, there is a stronger sense of intimacy between the characters. Mr Abbott explained in the interview: “In a large ensemble you run the risk of being lost in the crowd, and I think in a show like this where everyone is singing their own part, everyone is always at least a quarter of the focus…”
I was lucky to sneak a preview of the show, sitting in on a rehearsal. From this alone, I can ensure that you will be thoroughly impressed with this talented and dynamic cast and the direction of Justin Turner.
Tickets are available through Centretainment and the season runs from 5 Oct to 13 Oct at the Peacock theatre. Tickets are selling fast – don’t miss your chance to see this amazing production!