Right: Christen O'Leary as Magda and Sarah Morrison as Lisa Milne
Queensland Theatre Company has announced that the smash hit musical and six-time Helpmann Award nominated Ladies in Black will tour nationally in early 2017, taking in Sydney and Canberra with encore seasons in Brisbane and Melbourne.
From the adaptation of Madeleine St John’s 1993 novel, The Women in Black, this acclaimed production has been brought to life by Australian screenwriter Carolyn Burns and director Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Love Never Dies) with original music from singer songwriter, Tim Finn (Split Enz, Crowded House).
The world premiere of Ladies in Black, took place in Brisbane in November 2015
The critically acclaimed show features more than 20 original songs written by Tim Finn and a range of 30 custom-designed and created dresses and suits. The genesis of Ladies in Black actually happened at the Brisbane Airport – Tim Finn was famously looking for a book to read, bought The Women in Black and on reading it, was compelled to call Simon Phllips and plant the seed for a stage production. On the plane, he started writing the music. The rest is history.
Revisiting the role of Lisa, the young starry eyed school-leaver is Queensland-born r, Sarah Morrison. Sarah studied Opera at the Queensland Conservatorium after high school, and then moved to Victoria to follow her first love in musical theatre. In this her first pivotal role, she has won acclaim and ovation.
Bobby Fox, who wowed audiences playing Frankie Valli in the smash hit, Jersey Boys, returns as Rudi (otherwise known as the ‘Continental’) along with award-winning artist Carita Farrer Spencer who will play Mrs Miles, and fellow Queensland graduate and music and stage star Kathryn McIntyre who will play Myra. Melbourne-based actor Greg Stone (Once, The Weir, The Glitch) takes on the dual roles again as Mr Miles and Stefan, and joining him from the southern state Kate Cole again takes to the stage as the characters Miss Cartwright and Joy.
New to the cast for the Australian tour is the leading lady of stage and screen Natalie Gamsu (Strictly Ballroom, Mary Poppins, Dr Zhivago, Neighbours) who will play the character of Magda, as well as Sydney-based Madeleine Jones who was nominated for a Helpmann Award in 2015 for her work in Once. She will play Patty.
Taking the role of Fay is leading singer and stage performer, Ellen Simpson, who was most recently seen as Renee Geyer on television screens in the blockbuster tele series, Molly.
Two cast members remain yet to be announced.
With a dash of delicate comedy, Ladies in Black is a magical modern-day fairytale set in a stylish department store - F.G. Goode - in a city on the cusp of becoming cosmopolitan: Sydney is crossing the threshold between the stuffy repression of the 1950s and the glorious liberation of the 1960s. Donning a distinguished black dress, the bright-eyed, bookish school leaver Lisa is about to join the ranks on the sales floor of the city’s most prestigious department store – temporarily, of course. Her domineering dad intends to railroad her into a career as a secretary, but Lisa has grander schemes in mind. In that summer of innocence, a world of possibilities opens up as she befriends the colourful denizens of the women’s frocks department – there’s Patty, embroiled in her marital strife; the lovelorn and unlucky Fay; and the exotic, compelling European refugee, Magda, mysterious mistress of the model gowns, who takes Lisa under her wing. From the Christmas rush to the chaos of the sales, these women stand shoulder to padded shoulder and together learn lessons in life, love and longing – and at the end, it’s not just the fancy frocks that are forever altered.
Ladies in Black – national tour
Sydney – Sydney Lyric Theatre, 3 – 22 January, Phone: 1300 795 267 or
Brisbane – Playhouse, QPAC 28 January – 19 February 2017 Phone: 136 246 or queenslandtheatre.co.au
Melbourne – Regent Theatre 25 February – 19 March 2017 Phone: 1300 111 011 or ticketmaster.com.au
Canberra – Canberra Theatre Centre 27 March – 2 April 2017 Phone: (02) 6275 2700 or canberratheatrecentre.com.au
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