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'Sideshow Alley' Australian Musical

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MamasDoin'Fine
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'Sideshow Alley' Australian Musical#1
Posted: 2/28/09 at 9:29am
Can any of out friends from down under shed any light on this little curiosity?
It's a little hard to listen to as it tries very hard to be like the far superior Broadway Musical, "Sideshow'.
What's its history?
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wildcat
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re: 'Sideshow Alley' Australian Musical#2
Posted: 3/1/09 at 12:51pm
Here's part of a press release from the show's premiere season in Brisbane, 2007:


Five years in the making, Sideshow Alley is proudly what Australia hasn’t seen for a long time – a musical with an original Australian story, score and lyrics.
Its carnival of colourful characters – ‘misfits’, ‘outcasts’ and ‘curiosities’ – once popular at the vibrant boxing tents and bizarre sideshows of Australian country shows, give rise to a stage festiveness that bears witness to Sideshow Alley’s pulsating lust.
Winner of the inaugural Pratt Award for New Musical Theatre in 2002, Sideshow Alley explores life and love in the dust of a 50’s-era travelling sideshow where three lives are irrevocably intertwined in a heartbreaking love triangle.
Silvie Paladino as fortune-telling Rita cannot prophesise what’s ahead, and with her strapping co stars – Alex Rathgeber who plays Billy the tent boxer, and Christopher Parker the charismatic drifter called Alec – they weave a web of secrets and lies, fighting a gladiatorial battle to control their feelings and deny their hearts.

They unleash what cannot be controlled and, in a world of prejudice, discover who they really are.

It’s a story that writer-director Gary Young believes, in the tradition of Shakespeare, “juxtaposes comedy and tragedy – and that’s how life works.”

In the outrageously-masked 50’s when, behind the suburban-perfect dream, life was anything but, Young sets his story in the tents of Jimmy Sharman and his muscled-boxers in the singlets of Jackie Howe.

The everyday flavour of the heart-wrenching epic was shaped by Young’s Tamworth heritage and inspired by his father – “a bloody funny Aussie bloke”.

“Essential to the piece is its larrikin charm,” says Young, who has created “pre-television” iconic Australian characters and celebrates the wit and humour of Aussie slang, sayings and expressions. He uses authentic vernacular and a healthy dose of laconic wit, but insists Sideshow Alley is not a biography of Australian sideshow history, but a setting where his story can resonate.

He has exposed the thin line between reality and illusion, and the fascinating but forbidden world of Sideshow Alley takes you behind the scenes and unveils the façade of sideshow performers – the con, or the sell, as Young calls it.

“It’s a metaphor for what we largely still do today,” says Young. “Hide behind the mask.”

Books and lyrics by Gary Young and music by Paul Keelan, Sideshow Alley tells its Australian tale of danger, fun and illusion, with resplendent fortune tellers, gypsies, bearded ladies, boxers, and the expected assortment of surreal sideshow novelties.

Young and Keelan hope their words and music will leave audiences, “knowing a little better where they fit in the scheme of things.”

“It’s entertainment. Really, we just want to make ‘em laugh, make ‘em cry, and make ‘em care.”



WHAT: Sideshow Alley – the Musical
WHERE: Queensland Performing Arts Complex (QPAC) – Playhouse Theatre
WHEN: Previewing from January 20, 2007
TICKETS: On Sale Tuesday 21st November 2006

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re: 'Sideshow Alley' Australian Musical#2
Posted: 3/1/09 at 12:55pm
Thank you so much for that in depth description for the show. I am now certainly going to listen to it properly all the way thru later this evening.
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re: 'Sideshow Alley' Australian Musical#3
Posted: 3/1/09 at 2:49pm
I totally missed this thread originally.

Rather sad anecdote: the show was set to be part of the 08/09 Kookaburra season (Kookaburra is Australia's "national" musical theatre company many of you will remember from the 2007 Company removal of characters incident). However, when they officially announced their season, the show was missing - replaced with a stunt-cast version of Tell Me on a Sunday.
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re: 'Sideshow Alley' Australian Musical#4
Posted: 3/1/09 at 3:36pm
Another sad portion of this seemingly cursed life: (from aussietheatre.com, February 2007)

"For the second time in a matter of months, a major commercial musical that had a planned Melbourne season has been cancelled - and this time, it's a brand new Australian work.

Sideshow Alley, which premiered in Brisbane to much acclaim earlier this month, was scheduled to open in Melbourne in a matter of weeks but the show has now been pulled, with its planned Australian tour cancelled.

The show was to play at The Palms at Crown Melbourne and was then expected to tour the country, though there were reports that a Sydney season had never been planned.

On Friday, the musical was suddenly pulled from sale and removed from Crown Melbourne promotional material. It is understood much of the cast and crew only found out about the cancellation after discovering the show was no longer on sale.

Sideshow Alley's cancellation follows the shock early conclusion of the first major Australian production of Maury Yeston and Peter Stone's Titanic, which was a disaster at the box office in Sydney and had its Brisbane and Melbourne seasons halted. The show folded and the company went into liquidation.

It puts a question mark on the future of Australian-written musicals, particularly given last year the Pratt Prize was scrapped, with Jeanne Pratt saying that no single musical shortlisted had the potential to be an outstanding success.

Sideshow Alley was the inaugural Pratt Prize winner, while Metro Street is the only other winner of the $80,000 award. The latter, written by Matthew Robinson, is still in the workshop phase and was showcased to Sydney audiences on Friday.

Sideshow Alley explores life and love in the dust of a 50’s-era travelling sideshow where three lives are irrevocably intertwined in a heartbreaking love triangle.

In his review of the show for AussieTheatre.com, Nick Ferranti said, in part: "The first 20 minutes are like a beautiful theatrical dream; a strong and committed cast, a wonderfully evocative setting, (fabulous set by Richard Jeziorny) rich orchestrations (superb by Guy Simpson) and original and comic choreography (magnificent work by Andrew Hallsworth, who with this show makes his mark as arguably the leading choreographer in this country)."

A cast member told AussieTheatre.com: "The fact that audiences weren't great in Brisbane gave us some indication, but it is certainly a shame the Melbourne season is not going ahead. In this case, it's not so much about the cast being out of work, I think all of us are quite upset that a new Australian musical hasn't worked."

Poor ticket sales are believed to be the reason behind the cancellation.

Sideshow Alley will continue its Brisbane season at the QPAC Playhouse, where it is scheduled to close on March 4."
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re: 'Sideshow Alley' Australian Musical#5
Posted: 3/1/09 at 7:31pm
The aforementioned METRO STREET is to receive a production by the South Australian Theatre Company this year starring Nancye Hayes and Debra Byrne.
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re: 'Sideshow Alley' Australian Musical#6
Posted: 3/1/09 at 7:37pm
That's great news alterego. Any idea if the production has tour plans? Matt Robinson is an insanely talented man (both as composer and performer) and his work needs to be seen by more than just the SATC subscribers.
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re: 'Sideshow Alley' Australian Musical#7
Posted: 3/1/09 at 7:47pm
I think if it works there, it just may have an afterlife.
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re: 'Sideshow Alley' Australian Musical#8
Posted: 3/1/09 at 8:02pm
Here's hoping. When does it open? My theatre-loving cousins live in Adelaide so I might suggest they go see it (that's if they haven't booked already)
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re: 'Sideshow Alley' Australian Musical#9
Posted: 3/1/09 at 8:45pm
Dunstan Playhouse April 3 -25.
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re: 'Sideshow Alley' Australian Musical#10
Posted: 3/2/09 at 5:50pm
With an option to extend another week if sales go well.
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re: 'Sideshow Alley' Australian Musical#11
Posted: 3/2/09 at 7:31pm
I always thought it odd that SIDESHOW ALLEY would be booked into The Palms At Crown (a Casino Showroom). A most unsuitable venue for this sort of show.
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re: 'Sideshow Alley' Australian Musical#12
Posted: 3/3/09 at 7:54am
Damn I remember the days of the workshop with Robyn Arthur, Tamsin Carroll, Adam Harvey and co in the production. Now if there was any a time I would have loved a recording of a workshop it was that one.
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re: 'Sideshow Alley' Australian Musical#13
Posted: 3/3/09 at 11:02am
Check out Matthew Robinson (composer of the aforementioned Metro Street and also an amazing performer in shows like My Fair Lady and Pippin) and his rendition of On the Street Where You Live from the 2008 Helpmann Awards (2:08 - 4:02)
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re: 'Sideshow Alley' Australian Musical#13
Posted: 3/3/09 at 11:02am
Check out Matthew Robinson (composer of the aforementioned Metro Street and also an amazing performer in shows like My Fair Lady and Pippin) and his rendition of On the Street Where You Live from the 2008 Helpmann Awards (2:08 - 4:02):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nL7AfyKbyXE&feature=channel_page
Updated On: 3/3/09 at 11:02 AM