The critically acclaimed and Helpmann-award winning Ladies in Black will open in Brisbane from January 28. The Queensland produced musical opens its national tour on January 3 in Sydney, the premiere season in the city in which the story is based and will run in Brisbane, Melbourne and Canberra
From the adaptation of Madeleine St John’s 1993 novel, The Women in Black, this production has been brought to life by Australian screenwriter Carolyn Burns and 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, the story of fashion, friendship and 1950s Australia took place in Brisbane in November 2015 and won the Helpmann Award for Best New Australian Work and was nominated for another five.
The show features over 20 original songs written by Tim Finn and a range of some 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 Phillips and plant the seed for a stage production. On the plane, he started writing the music. The rest is history.
A cast of some of the best Australian stars of stage and screen will bring this production to life in 2017: Kate Cole, Carita Farrer Spencer, Bobby Fox, Natalie Gamsu, Madeleine Jones, Kathryn McIntyre, Trisha Noble, Ellen Simpson, Greg Stone, Tamlyn Henderson and Sarah Morrison.
Revisiting the role of Lisa, the young starry eyed school-leaver, is Queensland-born Sarah Morrison. Sarah studied Opera at the Queensland Conservatorium after high school, and then moved to Victoria to follow her love of musical theatre. This is a pivotal role for Sarah for which she has won acclaim and ovation.
Bobby Fox, who wowed audiences playing Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys, also returns as Rudi (otherwise known as the ‘Continental’) along with Carita Farrer Spencer who plays Mrs Miles, and fellow Queensland graduate and music and stage star Kathryn McIntyre who as Myra. Melbourne-based actor Greg Stone (Once, The Weir, The Glitch) takes on the dual roles again as Mr Miles and Stefan, and Kate Cole again takes to the stage as the characters Miss Cartwright and Joy.
New to the cast is Natalie Gamsu (Strictly Ballroom, Mary Poppins, Dr Zhivago, Neighbours) who will play the character of Magda, as well as Sydney-based Madeleine Jones a Helpmann Award 2015 nominee for her starring role in Once. Madeleine will play Patty.
Taking the role of Fay is, Ellen Simpson, who was most recently seen as Renee Geyer on television screens in the tele series, Molly.
Trisha Noble (Shout, Blonde, All Saints, Rats, Dusty, Three Winters Green) will play the dual roles of Miss Jacobs and Mrs Crown.
Rounding out the cast is WAAPA graduate Tamlyn Henderson (Les Miserables, Careless Love, Cedar Boys, Redfern Now, All Saints) who will play the character of Frank.
Ladies in Black is a modern-day fairytale set in a stylish department store - F.G. Goodes - in a city on the cusp of becoming cosmopolitan: Sydney is crossing the threshold between the repression of the 1950s and the 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 unlucky Fay and the frustrated Patty. Then the exotic, compelling European refugee, Magda, mysterious mistress of the model gowns, 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.
Brisbane – Playhouse, QPAC 28 January – 19 February 2017. Phone: 136 246 or queenslandtheatre.co.au
Melbourne – Regent Theatre 25 February – 18 March 2017 Phone: 1300 111 011
Canberra – Canberra Theatre Centre 27 March – 2 April 2017 Phone: (02) 6275 2700 or canberratheatrecentre.com.au
More stories in Showbiz News.