What’s Hot And What’s Not On The Stage Down Under

* “Buddy” – Probably one of the greatest turnarounds in Oz legit, this production by debut producer Greg Jones almost fell over because an investor pulled out; stitching together enough coin from a cooperative of associates it got to opening night in early January with absolutely no money for marketing. After a month and some canny dealmaking with broadcasters it took off and has since grossed a boffo $A5 million. Will tour to Melbourne later in the year.

* “Phantom Of The Opera” – Cameron Mackintosh remains the king of Oz legit. “Phantom” has grossed $9.5 million since December. National tour of “Les Miserables” has just seen the show gross $A7 million in Brisbane; also sitting on a $NZ6 million advance for a New Zealand run that begins late May.

* “The Wizard Of Oz” – Grossed $A3.2 million in 6 1/2 weeks in Melbourne, and will tour at year’s end at a cost of $A500,000, to date the VAC’s highest grossing offering, per g.m. Sue Nattrass.

* “Steaming” – Gary Penny’s production played in Sydney to gross $A1.5 million and will now tour nationally. For Penny, it marks the return to being a “mobile producer” after a long stint of using the Sydney Opera House’s Playhouse as his base.

* “Arsenic & Old Lace” – Producer Peter Williams has ‘never been busier,’ with this production, eyeing a sellout season in Sydney and due for a national tour. His “Shirley Valentine” did similar biz earlier in the year. Due in May is “The Woman In Black,” presented in association with the Sydney Opera House Trust. Williams is also looking to mount a $A2 million production of Sondheim’s “Follies” next year.

* “Lend Me A Tenor” – Finished its Oz season in Brisbane at the end of March with $A4.5 million, which put it in profit, per Pat Condon, a co-producer.

* “Noises Off” – Kerry Jewel’s production has grossed around $A1.2 million from a Sydney and Adelaide regional run, still to play in Melbourne and Perth. His staging of “Deathtrap” in Sydney earlier in the year wasn’t successful. He’s currently staging “Nunsense.”

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