The Union Theater Repertory Co. is established by the U. of Melbourne with Brit legiter John Sumner as topper. Before this there was no professional company in Australia; theater was either amateur or imported. Early members of the company include Zoe Caldwell, Patricia Conolly, Noel Ferrier, Frank Gatliff, Barry Humphries, Reg Livermore, Monica Maughan, Frederick Parslow, Alex Scott and Frank Thring.
On Aug. 31, debut production of Jean Anouilh’s “Colombe” opens at Melbourne U. Sumner directs the cast including 19-year-old Caldwell and two ex-students, Alex Scott and George Fairfax. Sumner directs most of the 15 plays in first season, Caldwell appears in 14.
Season three sees Sumner exit to be general manager at the Australian Elizabethan Theater Trust. Thesp Ray Lawler takes over as topper and his “Summer of the Seventeenth Doll” becomes the first Australian play staged by UTRC. Sumner directs, and Lawler stars with June Jago, Carmel Dunn, Roma Johnston, Noel Ferrier and Fenella Maguire. Next production is “Return Fare,” a UTRC revue directed by Lawler that includes the debut of Moonee Ponds housewife Mrs. (later Dame) Edna Everage, performed by Barry Humphries, in the sketch “Olympic Hostess.”
Lawler exits UTRC to tour “Summer of the Seventeenth Doll” to London’s West End, winning the Evening Standard’s best play award. Wal Cherry becomes the third topper.
Sumner returns as topper.
Barry Pree’s “The Mystery of a Hansom Cab” becomes the company’s first commissioned play from its first writer-in-residence.
World preem of Patrick White’s “A Cheery Soul.”
Company moves from the U.’s Union Theater to the Russell Street Theater, and changes its name to the Melbourne Theater Co.
Scribe David Williamson makes his MTC debut with “Jugglers Three.”
Company takes a lease on St. Martin’s theater in South Yarra.
Lawler’s “Kid Stake” premieres.
World preem of David Williamson’s most famous play, “The Club.”
Athenaeum Theater is the new home of company’s major productions.
Roger Hodgman directs his first MTC production: “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
Hodgman becomes associate director. MTC moves its mainstage productions to the Victorian Arts Center’s Playhouse; first up is Caldwell in “Medea.”
Sumner retires, Hodgman appointed topper and directs “Sweeney Todd.” Simon Phillips directs his first MTC production, Jill Shearer’s “Shimada.”
Hodgman exits, Phillips appointed topper. Hannie Rayson’s “Life After George” preems, generating two sell-out seasons.
Fiftieth anni sees world preem of Rayson’s “Inheritance,” and Caldwell and Scott are reunited in “The Visit,” directed by Phillips.
Three people were injured after mistaken reports of an active shooter at a San Francisco production of “Hamilton” caused attendees to flee the theater. CNN reported that a woman experienced a medical emergency — later determined to be a heart attack — during a scene in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s play wherein Founding Father Alexander Hamilton is shot on [...]
Time is money. Money is time. Both come unstuck in “The American Clock.” Arthur Miller’s kaleidoscopic account of the Great Depression, part autobiography, part social history, crawls through the decade after the Wall Street crash, dishing up snapshots of daily life. In the Old Vic’s classy revival, director Rachel Chavkin (“Hadestown”) tunes into the play’s [...]
Comfy? Okay, let’s talk Death: sudden death, painful death, lingering death, accidental death, and whatever other kinds of death happen to come into the receptive minds of playwrights Simon Stephens (“Sea Wall”) and Nick Payne (“A Life”). The writing in these separate monologues — playing together on a double bill at the Public Theater — [...]
With an HBO documentary that places strong allegations of abuse against Michael Jackson premiering in two weeks, the late singer’s estate announced Thursday that it’s canceling a scheduled Chicago test run of a jukebox musical about him. The estate and its producing partner in the musical, Columbia Live Stage, said that they’re setting their sights on going [...]
To adapt a crass old adage: it’s “All About Eve,” not “All About Steve.” Stripping Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s sharp-witted screenplay about a waning theater star of its period trappings, Ivo van Hove’s stage adaptation fine-tunes its feminism for our own sexist age — image-obsessed, anti-aging, the time of Time’s Up. Rather than blaming Lily James’ [...]
Director Adam Shankman’s latest movie, the Taraji P. Henson comedy “What Men Want,” isn’t a musical. But as one of Hollywood’s top director-choreographers of musicals and musical sequences, he approaches even non-musicals with a sense of tempo. Listen to this week’s podcast below: “When I read a script, it processes in my head like a [...]
How much can you change “Cinderella” before it is no longer “Cinderella”? In the case of choreography maestro Matthew Bourne — who, it should be said, first unveiled his spin on the classic folk tale some 22 years ago — the music is most certainly “Cinderella” (Prokofiev’s 1945 score, to be exact), but the plot [...]