*PHOTOS & VIDEO* Cast Announced For The 60th Anniversary Production Of MY FAIR LADY at Sydney Opera House *PHOTOS & VIDEO*
Thursday 12th May, 2016, 10am, Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney Opera House
Following the Announcement in November 2015 that Dame Julie Andrews would helm the 60th Anniversary Production of MY FAIR LADY, the Principal Cast was announced today at Bennelong Restaurant at Sydney Opera House.
British performer Alex Jennings will make his first trip to Australia to star as Professor Higgins. The Essex born Jennings has an extensive list of stage and screen credits, including work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre. He is incredibly versatile, having won Olivier Awards in comedy, drama and musical categories. He won the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 2003 for his performance in Cameron Mackintosh and Trevor Nunn's production of MY FAIR LADY at the Theatre Royal and has recently been playing Willy Wonka in CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. Australian audiences may also recognize Jennings from his film work including THE LADY IN THE VAN, THE QUEEN, and BABLE or his television appearances including INSPECTOR MORSE, POIROT and MISS MARPLE.
Australian born Anna O'Byrne will return to Australia to star as Eliza Doolittle. With a background in opera, having trained at the Victorian College of the Arts and worked at Victorian Opera for 9 months early in her career, Dame Julie Andrews has selected O'Byrne to fill "incredibly daunting" role that requires screaming in cockney one moment then singing beautiful soprano pieces whilst navigating George Bernard Shaw's story and repeating it for 8 shows a week. Not long after graduating O'Byrne was cast by Andrew Lloyd Webber to create the role of Christine Daae in LOVE NEVER DIE and went on to make her West End debut playing Christine in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. She was in the English National Opera's production of Sweeney Todd, performing alongside Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson and has recently been touring the UK with Guys and Dolls.
Anna O'Byrne, who will play Eliza Doolittle, sings I Could Have Danced All Night at the Cast Announcement (Video: Jade Kops)
The role of Eliza's father, Alfred P. Doolittle will be played by Australian Musical Theatre icon Reg Livermore who was most recently seen on Australian stages as The Wizard in WICKED, for which he won a Helpmann Award. The recipient of the Australian Artists Creative Fellowship in 1995 and appointed as an Officer in the Order of Australia in 1996, Livermore also received the Adelaide Cabaret Festival Icon Award in 2013, and Sydney Theatre Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2014. Of his meeting with Dame Julie, Livermore stated that "it was fair to say, I was wetting myself" as he never expected to meet the legendary lady as "She's on another planet" but he looks forward to getting to spend quality time with Dame Julie during the rehearsal process which will begin in July.
As Mrs Higgins, mother to Professor Higgins, the "First Lady of Australian Theatre", Robyn Nevin will take on another maternal role, something she has been doing since she was in her 30's. A regular on Sydney Theatre Company stages, Nevin has also been the Associate Director of the Melbourne Theatre Company, Artistic Director and CEO of Queensland Theatre Company and Artistic Director and CEO of Sydney Theatre Company. She also has directed a number of productions including HEDDA GABLER which introduced Cate Blanchett to New York theatre audiences when it toured. She has been awarded multiple Helpmann Awards, a Green Room Award, a Sydney Critics' Circle Award and a Member of the Order of Australia plus an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Tasmania. On being cast as Professor Higgins' mother, Nevin says that Mrs Higgins is tough on her son, "as more mothers should be", giving as a tantalizing glimpse of what she may bring to the role.
Currently appearing in Sydney Theatre Company's HAY FEVER, Tony Llewellyn-Jones will appear as Professor Higgins' friend Colonel Pickering. The London born Llewellyn-Jones is a NIDA graduate and has been a regular on Australian stages, working with Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir, Griffin and Bell Shakespeare to name a few. Australian audiences will also recognize him from his television appearances in RAKE, UNDERBELLY, ALL SAINTS, and WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? And movies including PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, COSI and ILLUMINATIONS, to name a few. Llewellyn-Jones recounted his experience being asked to audition, stating that "when asked to audition for Dame Julie, You say YES". Whilst he trained at NIDA, he believes that he didn't learn to act whilst doing the two year course but rather learnt at school and church, and considers that he is still learning.
Professor Higgins' housekeeper Mrs Pearce will be played by Deidre Rubenstein. Rubenstein has appeared nationwide with most of Australia's major theatre companies and also has created and performed highly acclaimed solo shows. Along with her theatre work, she has also appeared in popular Australian television series and feature films like SIAM SUNSET, SALVATION and FORCE OF DESTINY.
Winner of the 2009 AUSTRALIA'S GOT TALENT, Mark Vincent will return to the musical theatre stage to play Eliza's love interest Freddy Eynsford-Hill. The classical singer made his musical theatre debut in DIRTY DANCING in 2014 and has recently released an album TOGETHER with Marina Prior.
The Ensemble will include Octavia Barron Martin, Andrew Broadbent, Deborah Caddy, Elisa Colla, Josh Gates, Zoy Frangos, Alex Given, Matt Holly, Kate Maree Hoolihan, Georgina Hopson, Erin James, Hollie James, Todd Keys, James Lee, Vanessa Lewis, Allyce Martins, James Maxfield, Julia McRae, Holly Meegan, Joel Parnis, Jackie Rees, Greta Sherriff, David Sirianni, Sophie Viskich, Paul Whiteley, Katherine Wiles, and Karlis Zaid. The role of Karpathy will be played by David Whitney.
Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award winner (for NEWSIES in 2012), Christopher Gattelli joins the creative team as Choreographer. Guy Simpson will bring his 35 years' experience as a conductor, orchestrator, musical director and musical supervisor to his role as Musical Director.
Rosaria Sinisi will provide Scenic Supervision. Sinisi studied set design with original set designer Oliver Smith and worked as his assistant for 5 years before she embarked on her own design career. Smith bequeathed his copyrights to Sinisi, entrusting her with the management and supervision of stage revivals of his design works. John David Ridge will bring his extensive knowledge designing for Broadway, ballet, opera and television to his role of Costume Recreation.
Venue: Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
Season: from 30 August 2016
Performance Times: Wednesday - Saturday 7:30pm, Matinees Tues, Wed & Sat 1pm, Sun 3pm
Price: From $89.90 (additional transaction fees and/or credit/debit payment processing fees may apply)
Bookings: myfairladymusical.com.au or 02 9318 8200, 02 9250 777 or 1300 723 038
Groups of 12 or more call 02 8240 2290