THE cancellation of Newcastle Grammar School's June season of the musical Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz at the Civic Theatre had cast members and ticket buyers asking if the musical could be presented next year.
So the production has been transferred to March 10-13, 2021, with ticket holders able to get seats on the new dates.
Unsurprisingly, the 60 actors in the alternating two casts want to play their roles next year, with some of the performers who will be finishing their school courses this year asking if they can come back to do the roles.
Newcastle Grammar School is a comparatively new producer of major works, with most of the theatre events in its 102-year history having been presented in halls at the school's two venues - the high school on The Hill, opposite Christ Church Cathedral, and the junior school at Cooks Hill.
A popular musical, Annie, was presented at Newcastle University's Griffith Duncan Theatre in 2018 as one of the events marking the school's centenary that year. Its success with audiences and reviewers led to the decision to stage a musical at the Civic.
Wicked, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman, is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, showing how that story's two main witches, Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Galinda (Glinda the Good Witch), came together as young girls, with their natures changing as they became older.
The musical is very demanding for its performers, with one scene having Galinda flying onto the stage inside a giant bubble.
LOVING A LAUGH
COMEDY shows are proving popular in Newcastle, with the monthly shows presented by Civic Comedy Club and Watt Street Comedy Club selling out.
Watt Street Comedy Club was established early this year, with the shutdowns that were required just after the get-togethers began forcing them to cancel shows until the restrictions were eased, with the company team not able to produce shows until late July.
And the Civic Comedy Club presented its first shows on August 1, in association with Big Dog Comedy, to mark the re-opening of the Civic Theatre after its mandated closure.
While the venues where the shows are presented are very different in style, audience members find them to be very receptive, especially as watchers are seated at tables near the comedy performers and can have food and drink during the routines.
The Watt Street Comedy Club shows are in the intimate one-time church hall at 48 Watt Street, while the Civic Comedy Club events are on the theatre's large stage.
The Civic's shows on Saturday, October 3, at 6.30pm and 9pm, have multi-prize-winning young Australian comedian Sam Taunton, who has performed at Sydney Opera House and other venues around Australia, as well as overseas, as the MC, with other performers to be announced.
Patrons can buy show only tickets ($35) or dinner and show ($50), as well as ordering food and drinks on the night. Bookings: 4929 1977
The Watt Street Comedy show, on Friday, October 2, at 6.30pm, has Newcastle-raised comedian Alex White as MC, with the other comedians being Sian Smith, Mel Sargeant, Jamie Kirk, Zac Hutchinson, Jarrod Moore, Elliott Stewart, and Will McKellar.
Sian Smith has delivered her dark and hilarious comedy around Australia, with her show with Bec Charlwood, Bad Girls, playing to sold out audiences at the 2019 Sydney Comedy Festival. Tickets are $27.18, with meals by Mulga Bill's Wood Fire Cooking also able to be bought in advance. Bookings: eventbrite.com.au/e/watt-street-comedy-club-tickets.
AWARD FOR HUNT
NEWCASTLE'S Jan Hunt has won an acting award in Los Angeles for her role in the short film Victim, which was put together by Boolaroo-based photographer, Jye Jye Currie, and looks at domestic violence.
The award was presented by Venice Shorts, a California-based company that runs monthly and annual short film festivals, with the films shown online. Jan was named as Best International Actress in a Short Film that was videoed in the past month. The film, which also has Patrick Campbell, Sebastian Szeszeran, and Jess Farchione in principal roles, explores the social issues of domestic violence. Currie noted in an online comment at the weekend, before the award was announced, that the film had been selected for screening at four film festivals around the world.
SADLY, the popular Newcastle Fringe Festival, which is usually held over five days in March, had to be cancelled this year because the event coincided with the spread of the coronavirus and government restrictions. Happily, the 2021 Newcastle Fringe will be held from March 17 to 21, with performance applications opening soon.
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