Amanda Harrison quits Australian production of Wicked

After days and weeks of speculation, Amanda Harrison, Elphaba-star of Australian production Wicked has decided to quit the show to preserve her voice.

Audience has seen her face in green for the last time past  November 2009.

”Playing Elphaba was all-absorbing and it took a lot out of me physically, emotionally and spiritually,” says Harrison, who resolved last week not to return to the long-running show.

”The decision to leave wasn’t taken lightly but I have to preserve my instrument,” Harrison says. ”When I started doing Wicked I was jealous of the opera schedule [where principals are rostered to sing two or three times a week] but I coped for a long time with the enormity of the role.

”After a year I needed to take a rest because it was challenging and difficult. But it has definitely been the role of my career to date so it does feel daunting and scary to be leaving.”

Wicked’s co-producer, John Frost, says: ”Amanda brought an edge to Elphaba that is rarely seen; bringing passion, intelligence and inner strength to the role as well as soaring vocals … We were blessed to find Amanda and Lucy for these big roles and Amanda has set the bar high for the Elphabas who come after her.”

The role is currently being shared between Jemma Rix, who has been the standby Elphaba since the show began in Australia, and Pippa Grandison.

via SMH

Mamma Mia opens in Melbourne

Smashing-Hit MAMMA MIA! will return to Melbourne for a strictly limited 15 week season from February 13 at Her Majesty’s Theatre.

MAMMA MIA! had its Australian Premiere in Melbourne on June 9 2001 and is one of the most successful musicals to play the The Cultural Capital with an attendance of close to 730,000 patrons.

Returning as part of the 10th Anniversary Australian Tour in celebration of the West End Production’s 1999 Premiere, MAMMA MIA! will also go on to play limited seasons in Perth and Brisbane later this year.

Review: Jersey Boys on Broadway

It was a freezing night in New York.  I was heading to the August Wilson Theater to see one of the Top hits in Broadway: Jersey Boys. This musical story around the hall-of-fame group “Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons”  had me intrigued and I was eager to find out why is one of the most seeing show in Broadway.

I have to admit I hadn’t had the greatest seats of all and although It is a medium size theatre and I had “row 19” from stage, I still enjoyed of a great view at all times.

As I previously stated in other reviews, I’m of course not a critic and perhaps many details are therefore overlooked or even not mentioned along this text.  Still, I would love to tell you my impression of the show.

It was the Saturday-January 2nd night performance and I was lucky enough to see the full official cast that night.

The cast is absolutely incredible. All of their voices were shockingly outstanding. Perfect pitching in such high notes is something really hard to get and they accomplished it with amazing simplicity. Music flow was, at all moments, spectacular. Musical direction seemed mostly correct along the show and the fact of having songs that are, for the audience, very well known, truly helps to create an amazing atmosphere between the audience and the cast. It is obviously not a choreography or a dance musical but all cast was full of life and energy during the entire show delivering a great night of entertainment and joy.

The shows has a bit of everything including moments where you will find laughter hard to restrain and some parts where emotional people will find tears in their eyes. Overall is an amazing comedy where acting timing was perfect in each gag and scene.

Highlights of the night:  Sherry, My eyes adore you, Can’t take my eyes off you, Who Loves you, Finale: Oh What a Night

Summing up, If you want to hear one of the best singing in Broadway you need to see Jersey Boys. Not only Jarrod Spector was brilliant but also the rest of Jersey Boys and full cast including The Angels (“Jersey Girls”) and ensemble. You’ll find the show a perfect match of music and acting. This is a great show for those of you seeking for a great time in Broadway. I was really surprised for how entertaining it was and I strongly recommended for those musical lovers. Is certainly a must in Broadway.

Elisa Colla to join Wicked Australia as new Nessarose

It was announced that the Australian Production of  Wicked will welcome a new Nessarose,  Elisa Colla, starting performances in March.

With only 21 years, Elisa will make her professional debut in the role of Nessarose, sister of Elphaba after graduating from the Australian Institute of Music (AIM) in 2009.

Elisa said: “I feel so lucky to be cast in this extraordinary show as my first professional musical. It is so magical! I can’t wait to slip into Nessarose’s costume and be a part of this glorious production.”

Penny McNamee, who has played Nessarose for more than 18 months since Wicked first opened in Melbourne in July 2008, is leaving the show to return to work in film and television. After performing Nessarose in almost 650 shows and winning a Green Room Award as Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, Penny says she is going to miss her Wicked family. “I’m taking away such wonderful friendships from this show,” she said.

The Oz production of Wicked is currently being played at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre

Andy Karl to join Wicked in Broadway as new Fiyero

Andy Karl will join the cast of Wicked in Broadway as the lovely Fiyero. He will start performances on February 2, 2010, with Kevin Kern playing his final performance as Fiyero on January 31.

Karl made his Broadway debut in Saturday Night Fever playing the role of Joey and covering the leading role of Tony Manero. He’s best known for playing homeboy Luke in the original cast of the off-Broadway hit Altar Boyz, UPS guy Kyle in Legally Blonde (opposite wife Orfeh) and Joey, Allison Janney’s office romance, in last season’s 9 to 5.


Girl of the Week: Laura Michelle Kelly

Laura Michelle Kelly was born March 4th 1981.  She  an Award-winning English actress and singer who achieved critical acclaim in the role ofMary Poppins in the musical of the same name.

Kelly’s West End musical credits include Beauty and the Beast, Whistle Down The Wind as Swallow (2000), Les Misérables as Eponine at The Palace Theatre (2001), Mamma Mia! as Sophie at Prince Edward Theatre (2002), and My Fair Lady as Eliza at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (2003).She made her Broadway debut in a revival of Fiddler on the Roof as Hodel (2004).

Mary Poppins premiered in September 2004 at the Bristol Hippodrome, followed, in December, with its arrival in the West End at the Prince Edward Theatre. For her role as Mary Poppins, Kelly earned rave reviews. At the 2005 Olivier Awards, she won the award for Best Actress in a Musical. She left Mary Poppins on 29 October 2005 after more than 400 performances and was succeeded by Scarlett Strallen. Kelly then went to Singapore to star in a revival of A Twist of Fate produced by the Singapore Repertory Company. It also starred Anthony Drewe (who co-wrote the music with Singaporean composer Dick Lee).

In 2006 she returned to the London stage performing in A Tribute to Dirty Dancing at Kenwood House and Marble Hill. Kelly and Michael Ball performed at the Hackney Empire on Thursday 1 August 2006 to celebrate Anthony Newley for BBC Radio Two which was broadcast on 29 September 2006. Kelly was the Special Guest for Jools Holland and His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra on tour during December 2006. On 27 August 2007, Kelly made her BBC Proms debut, performing “The Prayer” from the film Quest for Camelot alongside Michael Ball.

From May 2007 until 4 February 2008, Kelly played the role of Galadriel in the London stage production of The Lord of the Rings at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane to critical acclaim.

She plays the dual role of a nun and former Coronation Street actor Johnny Briggs’s trophy wife in an ITV1 production of Agatha Christie’s Nemesis. and made her film debut as Lucy Barker in the Tim Burton/DreamWorks film Sweeney Todd.

Kelly appeared alongside Kevin Spacey and Jeff Goldblum in David Mamet’s play Speed-the-Plow at London’s Old Vic theatre from 1 February to 26 April 2008 and at the Ruhrfestspiele inRecklinghausen, Germany, in May 2008.

Since 12 October 2009, Kelly is reprising the role of Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway, replacing Scarlett Strallen.