Music Theatre

2012 Music Theatre Year in Review

Updated 28 November 2012 to include winners of the Theatre People 2012 Pro Choice Awards.

After being absent from the slate in 2011, a flurry of revivals marked the 2012 theatre year, with a pair of ambitious, brand new musicals floundering in their world premiere seasons.

Opening too late for last year’s Theatre People Pro Choice Awards, 2011’s Grey Gardens (above) marked the beginning of a top class hat trick for The Production Company. Pamela Rabe and Nancye Hayes held court at the Playhouse for two weeks with a pair (or was that a trio?) of unmissable performances. This year, hilarity reigned on stage at the State Theatre with The Producers, followed by glorious singing and swoonworthy adult romance in Chess. Matt Hetherington gave an enormously likeable performance in Promises, Promises, although the production overall did not reach the dizzy heights reached by the previous three shows.

In Sydney, Simon Phillips helmed the premiere of new American musical An Officer and A Gentleman (above). Despite a couple of years of workshops and tryouts, the show was savaged by critics and closed without the prospect of visiting other states.

Melbourne had its turn for a world premiere with new musical Moonshadow, featuring the revered music of Cat Stevens. Severely constricted in style and form by Yusuf (the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens), the show received generally supportive reviews but, like Officer, shuttered without the chance of a tour. It will be interesting to see if either of these shows turns up in other world cities in the future.

The welcome return of A Chorus Line enjoyed acclaim wherever it played. Annie introduced a new generation of ten-year-old girls to live musical theatre. Acclaimed Lincoln Center revival of South Pacific thrilled theatergoers with its gorgeous melodies and terrific cast. Melbourne was treated to a star-studded staging of Stephen Sondheim’s hilarious early work A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.

Sydney’s onslaught of opening nights continued with the sensational musical Legally Blonde. Fingers crossed it goes on to share the joy in an Australian tour.

Looking ahead, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is just about to open in Sydney, and will be covered in next year’s Pro Choice Awards. Jersey Boys returns to Melbourne in January before heading to Perth. Sydney welcomes The Addams Family in April 2013. Magnormos’ 2011 hit flowerchildren moves to Melbourne Comedy Theatre next year.  The Susan Boyle Story and the new UK arena staging of Jesus Christ Superstar have been strongly suggested for 2013 as well. Hopefully we will also soon see international hits Newsies, Matilda, Once and maybe even The Book of Mormon.

Nominations for Theatre People Pro Choice Awards 2012: (WINNERS IN BOLD)

Best Supporting Actress:

Kate Ceberano, Bloody Mary, South Pacific

Helen Dallimore, Paulette, Legally Blonde

Christie Whelan-Browne, Philia, A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To The Forum

Nancye Hayes, Edith Bouvier Beale, Grey Gardens

Deborah Krizak, Sheila, A Chorus Line

Chelsea Plumley, Marge MacDougall, Promises, Promises (below)

Best Supporting Actor:

Blake Bowden, Pat Matthew, Moonshadow

Mitchell Butel, Hysterium, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Euan Doidge, Paul, A Chorus Line

Bert LaBonté, Sergeant Foley, An Officer and A Gentleman

Eddie Perfect, Luther Billis, South Pacific

Alex Rathgeber, Sid Worley, An Officer and A Gentleman


Best Actress:

Anita Louise Combe, Cassie, A Chorus Line

Lucy Durack, Elle Woods, Legally Blonde      

Amanda Harrison, Paula Pofriki, An Officer and A Gentleman

Lisa McCune, Nellie Forbush, South Pacific

Silvie Paladino, Florence Vassy, Chess (below)

Pamela Rabe, Edith Bouvier Beale/Little Edie Beale, Grey Gardens

Best Actor:

Simon Gleeson, Anatoly, Chess

David Harris, Emmett, Legally Blonde

Matt Hetherington, Chuck Baxter, Promises, Promises

Brent Hill, Leo Bloom, The Producers

Geoffrey Rush, Pseudolus, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Anthony Warlow, Daddy Warbucks, Annie


Best Musical Director:

Stephen Amos, Moonshadow

Kellie Dickerson, Legally Blonde

Mathew Frank, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Andrew Greene, South Pacific

David Piper, Chess

Vanessa Scammell, The Producers

Best Choreographer:

Kelly Aykers, Annie

Andrew Hallsworth, The Producers

Christopher Gattelli, South Pacific

Bayoork Lee, A Chorus Line

Jerry Mitchell, Legally Blonde (above)


Best Director:

Dean Bryant, Andrew Hallsworth, The Producers

Gale Edwards, Chess

Rodger Hodgman, Grey Gardens

Jerry Mitchell, Legally Blonde

Simon Phillips, An Officer and A Gentleman

Bartlett Sher, South Pacific (below)

Best Limited Run/Concert Musical:

Chess – The Production Company

Grey Gardens – The Production Company

The Producers – The Production Company


Best Revival:

Annie – John Frost

A Chorus Line – TML Enterprises

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum – John Frost

South Pacific – Opera Australia, John Frost


Best New Musical:

Legally Blonde – Howard Panter/Ambassador Theatre Group, John Frost

An Officer and A Gentleman – Sharleen Cooper Cohen, John Frost


VOTE NOW at Theatre People 2012 Pro Choice Awards. Voting Closed 27 Novemeber 2012

See the list of 2011 winners and 2010 winners.

Photos: #1, #3, #5, #6, #7: Jeff Busby, #2: Brian Geach, #4: Simon Parris

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