New Aussie theater bows ‘Boy’

Melbourne Theater Company slates six

Melbourne Theater Company topper Simon Phillips has programmed six new Oz plays to mark the opening of its A$55 million ($45 million) MTC Theater, which has been 15 years in the making.

“For the first time in our history, we will have the right theater for any play and any sized audience,” said Phillips. “The 500-seat Sumner Theater and the 150-seat Lawler Studio add to the Arts Center theaters” used by MTC, he said.

The venues are named for MTV founder John Sumner and scribe Ray Lawler, whose “Summer of the Seventeenth Doll” preemed at MTC in 1955.

Southbank site will open Jan. 27 with the world premiere of Matt Cameron’s “Poor Boy,” starring Guy Pearce, with music by ex-Split Enz singer Tim Finn.

The 2009 season comprises another 11 plays. They are Andrew Bovell’s new work “When the Rain Stops Falling”; the world preem of “Rockabye,” a Joanna Murray-Smith satire set in the world of celebrity that will star Nicki Wendt; the world preem of Paul Galloway’s farce “Realism,” set in the 1930s Soviet Union and starring Miriam Margolyes; Dorothy Hewett’s classic “The Man From Mukinupin,” starring Amanda Muggleton; “Grace,” from Mick Gordon and A.C. Grayling, with Noni Hazlehurst starring in her Melbourne stage debut; film and opera helmer Bruce Beresford’s theatrical debut with Hollywood comedy “Moonlight and Magnolias”; Max Gillies and Guy Rundle’s Christmas revue “Godzone”; the Sydney Theater Company production of Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking,” directed by Cate Blanchett and starring Robyn Nevin; Tracy Letts’ “August: Osage County” starring Robyn Nevin, Jane Menelaus and Robert Menzies; Yasmina Reza’s comedy “God of Carnage,” starring Pamela Rabe; and a revival of Harold Pinter’s “The Birthday Party,” directed by Julian Meyrick.