2008 Newspaper Articles
Posted 20 July 2010 - 07:58 AM
Old-style Trouper and a Rock of the Theatre
By Graeme Blundell
OBITUARY: Rob Guest. Actor. Born Birmingham, England, July 17, 1950. Died Melbourne, October 2, age 58.
LAURENCE Olivier called it hand-touching: the tradition of theatre whispered down from the great Shakespearean actors of centuries past to future generations. It still happens on the modern stage and it is one of the things that theatre people remember most about the musical-theatre star Rob Guest, who suddenly died yesterday.
Guest's avuncular presence is fondly remembered by those who worked with him, as is his star power and the energy he displayed in hardly ever missing ashow.
He appeared on stage for the last time on Sunday night with no idea it was to be his last performance. He was appearing as the Wizard of Oz in yet another hit musical (he had been in more than most actors dream of), Stephen Schwartz's Wicked. Guest's role was small but one in which he "maintained an elegant dignity", according to The Australian's reviewer, Peter Burch.
Producer John Frost believes that what distinguished Guest was his way of taking control of the shows in which he appeared.
He passed on his stories, proud to be part of a local tradition of the touring pro. He demonstrated how actors, with their highly emotional responses, invested their work and the theatres in which they played with romance and mystery. He was conscientious about teaching younger actors the etiquette of the industry, reliability, grace under pressure.
"He was always the father figure, always proud to be heading up a company and taking responsibility," Frost says. "People just aren't trained like that any more. He was always one to pick up the pieces backstage."
The producer remembers the first time the Wicked cast assembled at Melbourne's Regent Theatre for technical rehearsals. He passed Guest's dressing room and saw he had the young pop stars Anthony Callea and Rob Mills with him. Guest was gently laying down the law about backstage proprieties.
"'This is a theatre and not a rock show,' he was telling them," Frost remembers. "He told them not to bring girls backstage, and to never believe actors can drink and expect to perform with excellence."
Guest died after being admitted to Melbourne's St Vincent's Hospital on Tuesday evening following what turned out to be a massive stroke.
He had told his partner Kellie Dickerson that he felt unwell and she called an ambulance. He was taken to hospital, where she was told he was in no danger.
"None of us knew it was serious; we all thought it was a slight stroke and he would only be away from the show for a few weeks," publicist and friend Suzie Howie says.
"I had him booked for Melbourne Cup functions and thought there was no reason to cancel, but it turned out to much more serious than we knew."
Guest's teenage children, Amy and Christopher, flew in from Sydney, along with his former wife, Judy, and his mother, Betty.
His New Zealand family also arrived to be at his bedside before he died.
Frost spent time with Guest on Wednesday, just before the matinee of Wicked, and after he had been told of the seriousness of his condition. "There were tubes coming out of him and he was just hanging on," Frost says.
"I held his hand and thanked him for what he had done for the theatre and told him I hoped the journey would be an easy one."
It was just before 1pm and as Frost left the hospital he received a phone call from his production management. All the sound and lighting effects in the theatre had gone down, nothing was working and the matinee's start would have to be delayed.
"I think it was Rob saying, 'There is no way this show is going on without me,"' Frost says.
Born in Birmingham, Guest and his family moved to NZ and he began his career in the local pop charts in the 1970s. He starred in the television pop show Happen Inn, NZ's version of Brian Henderson's Bandstand, which presented Kiwi performers such as Dinah Lee, Craig Scott and Ray Columbus.
Voted NZ's professional performer of the year in 1978, Guest moved soon afterwards to the US, where he spent most of the '80s hosting shows in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Reno, Nevada and Lake Tahoe. In the early '90s he came to Australia to audition for Cameron Mackintosh's production of Les Miserables. He played the lead role of Jean Valjean for 3 1/2 years in Australia and NZ, and in 1995 he went to London at Mackintosh's invitation to appear in the 10th anniversary production of the musical.
In 1992 he won the title role in The Phantom of the Opera and sang the famous Music of the Night anthem for 2289 performances over seven years. He was the world's longest serving Phantom, a feat of which he was enormously proud. "He could never understand why actors would ever want to leave a hit show; he would still have been in Wicked in 2020," Frost says.
"He hated missing a performance," Howie recalls. "He only missed one Les Miserables show when he briefly lost his voice; he was devastated and so furious."
His co-star Marina Prior once said: "We used to always laugh that he would go on in an iron lung if he had to."
Guest also appeared as Al Jolson in Jolson, Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, Reverend Shaw Moore in Footloose and Harold Hill in The Music Man. Even in shows garnished with Broadway whimsy or ineffable banality, there was always honesty in Guest's playing that set him apart. He had a stage presence of the kind that critic Kenneth Tynan described as "that intangible quality of weight, as distinct from bulk", by which great actors revealed themselves.
In 1994, Guest hosted the Seven Network's controversially risque variety show Man O Man, in which an all-female audience voted for their favourite male contestants.
"It was pure fun," Guest said about the show. "It was harmless; there was no bad language, no nudity. Plenty of Speedos, though."
But it was musical theatre at which he excelled. Frost remembers discussing his production of Wicked before he had pulled it all together.
"I had my glum producer's face on and I told him if the show didn't fly, I was well and truly rooted," Frost says. "But Rob just put his arm around me and said, 'This will be bigger than Phantom, enormous, and I'm in it."'
He was an old-style trouper alive to theatre's calling, Frost adds: "When he heard an overture, he would look at you and say, 'Mate, life is good."'
Posted 20 July 2010 - 07:59 AM
Emotional Performance As Wicked Goes On Without Guest
Performers of the hit musical Wicked last night played an emotional show following the death of musical theatre veteran Rob Guest early yesterday.
Melbourne theatre-goers, who attended last night's performance, say the show's cast and crew did a wonderful job, but the tears were flowing during the final number.
A Brunswick couple say the cast were emotional by the end.
"The producer made a big spiel prior to the show and said it was an emotional night and the cast and crew would put their all into it for Rob Guest," said Gerardo Talamo, of Brunswick.
And the show's publicist, Suzie Howie says as well as speaking to the audience in paying tribute to Guest, and dedicating the performance to him, Wicked producer John Frost also spoke to the cast and crew beforehand.
But she says the company's still in shock.
58-year-old Guest suffered a massive stroke on Tuesday evening in Melbourne, and died early yesterday morning in St Vincent's Hospital surrounded by family and friends, after he was taken off life support.
An industry memorial service will be held at the Princess or Regent Theatre in Melbourne within the next 10 days.
Funeral arrangements are yet to be confirmed.
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:02 AM
With thanks diissee
Remembering ROB GUEST
THE THEATRE WORLD is mourning the sudden death of stage legend and TV favourite Rob Guest who died peacefully in hospital last week surrounded by his family and friends after suffering a massive stroke.
Best known for his record-breaking role in The Phamtom Of The Opera, the 57 year-old stage and screen star was rushed to Melbourne's St Vincent's Hospital last Tuesday night after collapsing at his computer.
Rob, who was starring as the Wizard of Oz in the popular stage musical Wicked, had been relaxing at home
with his partner, musical director Kellie Dickerson, when he complained of feeling unwell.
The star was surrounded by Kellie, his close friend, producer John Frost, and his two teenage children from his marriage to Judy Barnes. Christopher, 19, and Amy, 17, when he passed away.
"We went in and held his hand and told him how much we loved him, and to be strong," the devastated
Wicked producer John told the Herald Sun newspaper.
"The family want the public to know he was surrounded by family and friends when he died," a hospital
The sad news has come as a huge blow for the actor's cast mates, who rallied behind their co-star when
told of his illness.
"I addressed the cast and never have seen a cast fall apart like this in 35 years," says John. "[Rob] was
such a father figure to the cast. He led the cast on the show. There's a lot of upset young people."
Born in England, Rob started his career as a pop star in New Zealand, receiving an OBE for his services
to the New Zealand entertainment industry in 1994. In Australia he starred in musical productions including
Les Miserables and The Sound Of Music and hosted the 1994 television show Man O Man.
As the longest serving Phantom, he broke records, with 2289 performances over seven years.
"As the Phantom he had this extraordinary magnetism and charisma," Phantom co-star Marina Prior told
Melbourne's 3AW Radio. "He had an amazing ability to gain the audience's empathy straight away.
He was incredibly charismatic." Rob will be sorely missed by all his fans.
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:04 AM
Rob Guest Farewelled at 'sombre' Funeral
Entertainer Rob Guest has been farewelled at a private funeral in Sydney .. ahead of a public memorial in Melbourne on Monday.
Friends and family gathered at St Peters Presbyterian Church in North Sydney for the service.
Guest, 58, died in a Melbourne hospital last week after suffering a massive stroke.
Kellie Dickerson, Guest's partner of 10 years and his publicist Suzie Howie were among the mourners as well as former wife Judy and their two children Chris and Amy.
Monday's public memorial, to be held at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne at 12.30, will include a video tribute to his life.
Others to speak will be Bert Newton, Ms Dickerson and Wicked producer John Frost, with a recorded tribute from Sir Cameron Mackintosh.
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:06 AM
Rob Guest Farewelled
From Aussie Theater Website
Rob Guest farewelled Saturday, October 11, 10:19am AEDST.
Family, friends and close industry colleagues have farewelled theatrical veteran Rob Guest at a private and sombre funeral service in Sydney. The funeral was held yesterday at St Peters Presbyterian Church in North Sydney. It follows Guest's sudden death earlier this month from a massive stroke. The general public and others touched by Guest's extraordinary career will have an opportunity to pay tribute to his life at a public memorial in Melbourne on Monday.
It is expected that his partner Kellie Dickerson, entertainment legend Bert Newton and Wicked producer John Frost will all speak at the memorial, while Sir Cameron Mackintosh has recorded a video tribute.
At the memorial, there is expected to be a significant announcement from ANZ about a permanent tribute to Guest, and the major impact he had on the entertainment industry. ANZ is a major sponsor of Wicked, the show in which Guest was starring at the time of his death.
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:11 AM
'One of Life's Good Guys': Regent Memorial for Rob Guest
By Mex Cooper
A public memorial will be held for entertainer Rob Guest at the Regent Theatre next Monday after an outpouring of grief from his many fans.
Rob Guest's publicist Suzie Howie said the 12.30pm memorial would be open to anyone who wanted to attend but details were still being arranged.
Ms Howie, who worked with the star for 20 years, said she was still in shock from the sudden loss of her friend.
"He seemed to be such a healthy, life-enforcing guy,'' she said.
Members of the entertainment industry and everyday fans of Guest have inundated Ms Howie with tributes for the 58-year-old, who was best known for his lead performance in The Phantom of the Opera and was playing the Wizard of Oz in the hit musical Wicked at the time of his death.
Fans have also been leaving tributes on YouTube.
Guest died at St Vincent's Hospital last Thursday after suffering a massive stroke at home on Tuesday night.
"He was justifiably an incredibly popular guy because he was such a nice guy to everyone,'' Ms Howie said.
"It wasn't that he was just nice to other stars, he was great to the public and to the media and to the stage-door people.
"I would have thought that anyone who worked with him or knew him, who was able to get there would get there.
"He was one of life's good guys and that's a fact.''
The producers of Wicked are organising the memorial, which Ms Howie said would be "quite simple''.
Kellie Dickerson, Guest's partner of 10 years and Wicked's musical director, is expected to attend the memorial service.
A private family funeral will be held for the star in Sydney.
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:12 AM
Rob Guest Memorial Service
Public attendance by ticket admission to attend a memorial service to celebrate Rob?s life and his contribution to musical theatre, at the Regent Theatre, Monday 13 October at 12.30pm.
Seating for the public is located in the Dress Circle only.
We ask that you confirm your attendance by obtaining your admission tickets at one of the following locations:
163 Spring St, Melbourne
(Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm)
191-197 Collins St, Melbourne
(Mon: 9am - 5pm Tue-Sat: 9am - 8:30pm Sun: 1:30pm - 5:30pm)
Ticketek Head Office Agency:
225 Exhibition St, Melbourne
(Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm Sat 9am - 1pm)
Crown Box Office:
Level 1, West End Crown Entertainment Centre, Southbank
(Mon - Fri: 9am - 5:30pm)
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:14 AM
Rob Guest Remembered in All His Roles
By Katie Bradford
THE stage lights dimmed one last time today for Rob Guest - performer, father, partner, practical joker and all round good guy.
At a memorial service of epic proportions, Guest, who died from a stroke last month at the age of 57, was shown in all his guises.
From a long-haired, white suit-wearing pop singer in New Zealand in the 1970s, to the longest serving Phantom of the Opera, Guest was remembered as the star of every show.
The memorial was held on the stage at Melbourne's Regent Theatre, where he performed his last role as the Wizard in Wicked.
About 250 fellow performers, friends and family members laughed, cried, hugged, sang and cheered as they remembered the life of Guest, the practical joker.
There was the time he froze a castmate's pyjamas.
Another day, his devil within decided it's be a great idea to lock another castmate in her dressing room and pump it full of the eery mist let off by dry ice.
Wicked producer John Frost, a long-time friend of Guest, opened the show by declaring how "blessed" and "lucky" those present were to have known the British-born, New Zealand-raised, Australian actor and singer.
New Zealand performer Tina Cross said Guest was a man of great mana, or strength, and had been her mentor, friend and role model.
"His enthusiasm for life was catching, and if you were on stage with him it'd be at his cracking pace," she said.
Cross finished her eulogy with a haunting rendition of a Maori song.
The crew of Les Miserables, with whom Guest toured Australia and New Zealand in his role as Jean Valjean in the early 1990s, performed a heartwrenching song from the musical that had the crowd in tears and ended in a standing ovation.
ANZ Chief Executive Officer Brian Hartzer announced an endowment fund would be set up in Guest's name to help young performers get stage experience.
Every speaker, from Marina Prior to Bert Newton, recounted tales of Guest's love of practical jokes, a man who treated everyone equally and who loved nothing more than being on stage.
In a moving speech, Guest's partner Kellie Dickerson spoke of their life together and thanked him for every moment they shared.
Guest was a car and boat fanatic, who changed cars at least every 11 months and had owned over 90 in his life, she said.
"I loved you and you knew it. You loved me and I knew it. I'm so proud of you for everything ... I miss you so much."
She said his greatest legacy was his two children, Chris and Amy, of whom he was so proud, and who were at today's memorial.
The young cast of Wicked performed a final song for Guest, many of them openly sobbing and struggling to sing.
And then the curtain was drawn on Guest's life, to the haunting words of the man himself singing Les Miserables' Bring Him Home.
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:15 AM
Hundreds Pay Tribute
by Troy Dodds
Family, friends, colleagues and fans have gathered at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne this afternoon to say a final goodbye to musical theatre veteran Rob Guest at a public memorial.
Leading lady Marina Prior spoke of Guest as a "gentleman" who was a "constant friend".
Christina Tan spoke of her time touring with Guest, while Wicked star Amanda Harrison broke down as she paid tribute to "her Wizard". Anthony Callea performed, while a letter was read out from Andrew Lloyd Webber.
A special video tribute was played, which earned a mixture of laughs - particularly when it came to footage of Guest in his pop star days - and tears, as the theatre industry and general public alike remembered a wonderful entertainer.
Guest died after suffering a massive stroke at his Melbourne home earlier this month. He was just 58.
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:18 AM
ROB GUEST?S MEMORIAL: MONDAY 13 OCTOBER 2008
The public memorial service for Rob Guest took place at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne on Monday 13 October. Big names of showbiz joined with Rob?s family and friends to remember a man who became a musical mentor.
Massive images of a life lived to the full lit up the screen above the Regent Theatre stage: from Rob?s days as a pop star in the 1970s, through his record-breaking 2,289 performances as The Phantom, to his final role as the Wizard in WICKED.
Rob was remembered at the service as the ultimate professional and also as the constant practical joker. ?He was a terrific bloke,? said Bert Newton, ?wonderful sense of humour, and we?re going to miss him ? a hell of a lot.?
Rob was a friend of those behind the scenes, and a man who inspired and supported young talent. Amanda Harrison, who plays Elphaba in WICKED, spoke emotionally about Rob?s passing. ?He was an amazing man, and an amazing talent,? she said. ?And I will miss him so very much ? my wonderful Wizard.?
Marina Prior, Rob?s close friend and co-star, offered her memory of Rob?s generous attitude towards his colleagues: ?As his leading lady you felt cherished, gifted, supported and special.?
Rob?s own leading lady, Kellie Dickerson, moved the theatre as she thanked Rob for ten years of love and laughter: ?Thank you for loving me fiercely, protectively, and wanting to care for me even though you knew I could care for myself. Thank you for always buying me clothes two sizes too small and being so surprised when they didn?t fit! I miss you so much? Thank you my darling Robbie.?
The cast of WICKED bid their mentor farewell with a performance of a song from the show: ?For Good.?
The two and a half hour memorial service celebrated a life filled with music, love and laughter, and ended with a final standing ovation for Rob Guest.
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:20 AM
Special Service for Rob Guest at Melbourne's Regent Theatre
By Terry Brown
A GIANT metal dragon rears above the Regent Theatre crowd. For five days a week the theatre is a place of fantasy - an escape from the world for $100-plus a seat.
At a Monday matinee that nobody hoped for, the tickets are free.
It is 11 days since Rob Guest died from a stroke that wasn't remotely in the script.
For one show only, the Regent becomes a place where reality is inescapable and hits hard enough to make grown men weep.
About 400 performers, stage crew and fans come for the memorial service.
Some look dressed for a theatre show, with their cocktail wear and sequins.
And they all bring memories of a man who owned the spotlight.
TV and theatre veteran Bert Newton is in attendance with wife Patti.
Marina Prior is there to speak, and Anthony Callea to sing.
Most faces in the audience, however, would be unfamiliar to other than keen theatre-goers.
Rows are filled with performers from the many shows Guest put his stamp on; Les Miserables, Jolson and, of course, Wicked.
Callea shared a dressing room with Guest.
He sings, almost hauntingly, the song Now That You've Gone.
"I know you had a good life. It doesn't make it any easier," he sings -- and tears well because for many there it is so true.
Slide shows mix respect and gentle ridicule.
To fond applause, Guest is shown in his New Zealand pop star days, with hippy hair, a banjo and even mingling with a Playboy bunny.
Performers who worked beside Guest in Les Miserables walk slowly on to the stage in a kind of funeral procession.
Some sob. One man weeps into his hands.
They struggle through the show's anthem, Do You Hear The People Sing? , then salute a huge picture of Guest behind them.
Speakers recall the practical joker who used a Bert and Patti Newton LP as a cheeseboard; who locked a castmate in a dressing room and then pumped theatrical smoke through the vent.
Prior remembers warming her icy feet on Guest in the backstage Green Room, and him pretending to mind.
"As his leading lady you felt cherished, gifted, supported and special," she says.
The real-life leading lady, Guest's partner Kellie Dickerson, feels more special still.
"I loved you and you knew it. You loved me and I knew it," she says to the man she lost.
"There's nothing left unsaid," she adds, then recites a litany of memories that live with her.
"Thank you for holding hands as we just walked down the street, just being happy," she says.
Guest was never happier than when he was on stage -- and took a lot of getting off.
Understudy Rodney Dobson jokes: "It seems we finally found out what it takes for Rob Guest to miss a show."
Speakers at the memorial aren't keen to vacate either.
The show must go on -- and it certainly does.
A running sheet has it pegged for an hour. After a series of actors and theatrical workers say their bit, the service nudges 2 1/2 hours.
Then the Wicked cast sing For Good.
In the show it is a duet between witches. For Guest, it is a hymn they struggle to force through tears.
"I have been changed for good," they sing.
"I do believe I have changed for the better because I knew you . . ."
It's an epitaph that fits perfectly as the stage lights dim for Rob Guest.
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:22 AM
Search On For Next Wizard
With the cast of Wicked still reeling over the death of theatre great Rob Guest, talk has tentatively begun on his replacement in the role of The Wizard.
They will be big shoes to fill, with the part requiring considerable strength and endurance, as well as a powerful singing voice.
Names being bandied around as contenders include veteran stage stars Bert Newton and Reg Livermore.
It is believed the show's American producer Lisa Leguillou, will fly to Melbourne to audition prospective replacements.
The chosen performer will walk into an hugely successful stage show.
It has made $25 million in ticket sales to date and is roundly expected to continue to play to packed houses for at least the next 12 months.
In the meantime, understudy Rodney Dobson, who had been playing the part of Doctor Dillamond, will play The Wizard.
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:24 AM
Absolutely Wicked More Than 300,000 Sold
By Catherine Lambert
|Wicked continues to be a phenomenal success, having sold more than 300,000 tickets and earning a $28million advance in sales.|
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:25 AM
COUNTDOWN TO WICKED DAY?ONLY 6 DAYS TO GO!
WICKED DAY. It?s the one day of the year where WICKED, in whatever city it?s playing around the world, parts the Emerald Green curtain on the Land of Oz and devotes itself to helping the local community. Melbourne?s WICKED DAY is Sunday, October 26 between 9am and 11:30am and the company will be helping the Starlight Children?s Foundation, the Australian charity dedicated to brightening the lives of seriously ill and hospitalised children and their families.
?We?re planning a wonderfully WICKED DAY for a wonderful cause,? Producer John Frost says. ?At nine in the morning the doors of the Regent Theatre will open to an eye-popping morning that allows people to discover what happens before the curtain goes up, as well as meet the cast and reveals some of the on-stage secrets of WICKED.?
WICKED DAY participants will see some costumes and props - among them Elphaba, the wicked witch?s broomstick and Glinda, the good witch?s gorgeous bubble dress.
Children will have their faces painted emerald green a la Elphaba and participate in a fancy dress competition adorned in their own WICKED costumes, which will be judged by Amanda Harrison (Elphaba) and Lucy Durack (Glinda) ? the stars of WICKED! The rest of the cast members will come out to join all the children for photos and autographs and a sing-a-long of one of the numbers from the musical in which all will be taught to sing-along with them.
Then it will be time for the pre-show experience, viewed from the dress circle, as the tech crew sets up the stage for the beginning of the show and the stage manager explains the process step by step.
With their showbags in hand (and some of the secrets of WICKED?s wizardry in their heads) the WICKED DAY audience will come back to see the show itself at the matinee starting at 1 p.m.
Tickets for the WICKED DAY experience: $250 from Ticketek 9299 9030, which includes the Pre-Show Experience and a ticket to the 1pm matinee performance, with proceeds going towards the Starlight Children?s Foundation.
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:27 AM
Moonface Bert Newton Dances into Rob Guest Role in Wicked
MOONFACE Bert Newton has stepped in to play the Wizard in Wicked after the sudden death of star Rob Guest.
While producers have refused to confirm the 20 to 1 host, his co-star Rob Mills said the cast were excited to work alongside the industry veteran.
Newton was a good friend of Guest, who passed away suddenly last month following a massive stroke.
Gallery: Rob Guest, a true Australian performer
Mills said Newton was coping well with the physical role. "From what I hear he's doing really well with the dancing," the former Idol singer said.
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:29 AM
Wicked Tops $30 Million at the Box Office
Hit musical Wicked has now taken more than $30 million at the box office and is showing no signs of any serious slow-down at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne.
The record-breaking production, which opened in July, stars Amanda Harrison and Lucy Durack and has become a huge success, with more than 320,000 tickets already sold.
There are consistent rumours, however, that the show could move to Sydney next year and open at the Capitol Theatre.
Interestingly, 20 per cent of Wicked's ticket sales in Melbourne have come from interstate visitors.
Wicked is the untold story of the witches of Oz. Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. One, born with emerald green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. Wicked tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch.
In his review of Wicked for AussieTheatre.com, Troy Dodds said, in part: "Wicked?s spectacular costumes and contemporary staging are the real stars of the show, and the gasp of wonderment from the audience when Elphaba (Amanda Harrison) flies into the air at the spectacular conclusion to act one embodies the incredible connection this show builds with an audience throughout. And such gasps keep coming, whether it be at one of the many hundreds of wonderful outfits or the strong, action-packed script that has so many surprises along the way that it almost makes Wicked a show you need to see two or three times to really take it all in."
This week, Harrison and Durack will sing the National Anthem at Oaks Day, part of the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne.
Meanwhile, the Wicked cast met at the Regent Theatre late last month to discuss their producer?s request to re-use publicity footage at the Spring Racing Carnival, the ANZ website, the Regent Theatre website and Showbiz websites.
In other news, delegates at The Rocky Horror Show in Melbourne have worked with Equity to resolve a number of issues including the cleanliness of costumes, hazing effects and the inclusion of ensemble names on the show's website.
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:31 AM
Bert Newton Shows Stage Magic
Sunday Herald Sun
By Shannon Deery
TV LEGEND Bert Newton will again tread the boards as the Wizard of Oz when he joins the cast of Wicked this week.
Newton will make his debut in the stage show on Thursday night.
He replaces Rob Guest, who died last month after a stroke.
Co-producer John Frost is expected to make the official announcement on Tuesday.
It will see Newton reprise the role he played on stage 17 years ago in the stage production of The Wizard of Oz.
Wicked has grossed $25 million since opening in July and is expected to play for at least the next 12 months.
The move also means Newton will take the stage at this year's Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight with the entire cast of Wicked.
They will be joined at the Christmas Eve event by David Campbell, Hi-5, Marina Prior, Ian Stenlake and Anthony Callea.
Georgie Parker and Tim Campbell will make their Carols debut, while Today Show hosts Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson will host the night.
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:34 AM
Light The Night
Australian Stage Online
Stars of Wicked, the Broadway musical which is currently performing to sell out audiences at Melbourne?s Regent Theatre, will be performing at the Light the Night charity concert on Monday November 10 at 7.30pm at the City Recital Hall, Angel Place.
Amanda Harrison (who plays Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West) and Lucy Durack (Glinda the Good) will perform a song from Wicked in public in Sydney for the first time. Also performing at Light the Night will be Anthony Callea (who plays Boq), Penny McNamee (Nessarose) and Maggie Kirkpatrick (Madame Morrible).
Now in its fourth year, Light the Night has become an extremely popular annual concert, raising funds for leukaemia research and the Arrow Bone Marrow Transplant Foundation.
Amanda, Lucy, Anthony, Penny and Maggie will join other performers giving freely of their time for this worthy cause. Those already confirmed are singer/songwriter Lior, country stunners the McClymonts, television and musical star Tim Campbell, the inimitable Maria Venuti, jazz star Emma Pask with Phil Stack, All Saints actor Virginia Gay, winner of the 2008 Rising Star competition Erin Cornell, and musical theatre divas Margi de Ferranti, Emma Powell and Francesca Arena.
Light the Night is inspired by Matthew Rennie, a brave young man who fought a three year battle against leukaemia. Unfortunately Matthew passed away in late October last year, shortly before the 2007 concert. Light the Night was created by Matthew?s two brothers, musical theatre performers Shaun Rennie and Adam Rennie, and friends Monica Smith and Greg Smith.
Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:37 AM
Bert Newton Draws on His Magic
by Luke Dennehy
THERE were mixed feelings for Bert Newton last night as he made his debut as the Wizard in the hit musical Wicked at the Regent Theatre.
Newton takes over from Rob Guest, who played the role for three months before his death last month from a stroke.
"In this particular case the circumstances are so sad, and being a friend of Rob's it takes it to another level," Newton said.
"I'm very happy to be in the show, but I wish I was not for obvious reasons."
Newton said he was particularly impressed with the great young cast of the show.
"Maggie Kirkpatrick said she's thrilled I've joined the cast for a number of reasons. I suspect one is because I'm now officially the oldest in the cast."
The 70-year-old reckons Wicked is his 10th show, and says he always enjoys stepping away from TV to tread the boards.
"But then I think, 'Hell, it's a pretty big show, there's nowhere to hide in this'," he joked.
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