Merrily We Roll Along

Having previously a few productions from Watch This, I was pleased to know this year’s show is Merrily We Roll Along because I don’t really know much about this musical.  I do know one thing, Watch This are the first Australia theatre company dedicated to performing the works of composer Stephen Sonheim.  Merrily We Roll Along is currently being staged at the Southbank Theatre in Melbourne until 15 July, 2017.

WatchThis ProductionsMerrily We Roll Along is a musical with a book by George Furth and lyrics and music by Stephen Sondheim. Based on the 1934 play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart in 1934.

The story revolves around Franklin Shepard who was a talented composer of Broadway musicals, but since since abandoned his friends and his songwriting career to become a producer of Hollywood movies. It’s set from 1957 to 1976.

It beings at the height of Franklin’s fame in 1976 and move backwards and to show important moments in his life which made him the man he is.

Starring Lyall Brooks, Nicole Melloy, Nelson Gardner, Adrian Barila, Cristina D’Agostino, Mark Doggett, Keane Fletcher, Laura Greenhalgh, Nicholas Kong, Vidya Makan, Ana Mitsikas, John Reed, Sophie Weiss. Directed by Sara Grenfell and with musical direction by Cameron Thomas.

For further information regarding Merrily We Roll Along and Watch This; visit the website here.



Falling From Grace

The winter production for 2017 presented by Ballarat National Theatre (BNT) are presenting Falling From Grace. It will be performed at the Courthouse Theatre from 8 to 15 July, 2017.

Written by one of Australia’s most prolific writers Hannie Rayson, Falling From Grace is a story of friendship between three women.

Falling From Grace

Having been colleagues and friends for years Suzannah, Maggie and Janet they have always helped each other through a life crises from husbands, lovers, children and work.

Their magazine is planning on printing an article about the high-profile female researcher Miriam Roth who’s conducting a trial of a drug for PMS.

Falling From Grace deals with what is moral or ethical and how people deal with difficult situations. It may not be as clear cut as it seems when various facts are revealed.

Directed by BNT long-time member Peter Nethercote and will star Jane Gaylor, Janette Baxter, James McLaren, Mary-Rose McLaren, Madeline Holland, Trevor Day and Miranda Donald.

A Q&A will take place with playwright Hannie Rayson after the matinee performance on 9 July.

Ballarat National Theatre have been entertaining the people of Ballarat and district since 1938. If you haven’t attended a performance, it might be time to support this local Ballarat theatre company.

Vanessa Menjivar

Entertainer Vanessa Menjivar joined me for a Coffee Break to chat about her current show The Songs of Alan Menkin presented by Flourish Productions.

You’ll be performing in “The Songs of Alan Menken” at Southbank Theatre in Melbourne on 24 June.  How did you become involved in the show? 
I auditioned for Flourish my first year out of BAPA (Ballarat Academy of Performing Arts) back in 2015. I was buzzing with so much energy and so excited to finally work with people outside of university and we’ve been done this show a few times since.

Who else will be performing in The Songs of Alan Menken?
Emily Paddon-Brown, Zuleika Khan, Jeff van de Zandt, Seth Drury, Liam J O’Byrne, Josh Ellwood and myself.


What songs will be performed in The Songs of Alan Menken?
We perform songs written by Alan Menken from classics like Beauty and The Beast, Aladdin, Hercules and The Little Mermaid to musicals including Little Shop of Horrors and Sister Act.

Do you have a favourite song which you like to perform from the show?
Zero to Hero is probably my favourite just because it is so much fun and the choreography is so damm sassy.

Are you a fan of Alan Menken?
YES! I grew up listening to so many of his songs in all my favourite Disney movies they were all such cult classics.

This show is produced by Flourish Productions.  Are you able to tell me a bit more about this company?
Flourish was created by Catherine Langley back in 2015 to help support and develop a lot of the new artists in Melbourne from Musical Theatre grads to up and coming musicians. It’s been a great way to create contacts and network and gain some exposure by performing in the shows. The Songs of Alan Menken was the second show by Flourish – in total Flourish has now created 5 unique shows and performed 8 seasons of those shows in the past 2 years at venues including the Hayes Theatre, Chapel off Chapel and now at the Melbourne Theatre Company.


Who were your musical influences growing up?
Aretha Franklin was my biggest musical influence, I was not just mesmerised by her voice and the way she communicated her lyrics.

Do you have any hobbies?
Love to bake and play some competitive badminton.

What is your favourite food?
Can never go past a good sushi.

Do you have a favourite movie?
Just going to shamelessly plug Menken and say ALADDIN.

What is your idea of a good holiday?
Somewhere with lots of sun.

What is the last album you listened to? Vanessa01
Frank Ocean.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what items would you take with you?
My dogs.

Is there anything which you don’t you leave home without?
My beats go with me everywhere. Always listening to music when I have the chance to.

What’s next for Vanessa Menjivar?
I get to tour around New Zealand soon playing Mayor Goodway in Paw Patrols Race to the Rescue Concert.

Vanessa Menjivar will be performing in The Songs of Alan Menkin at the Southbank Theatre on 24 June. For further information about Flourish Productions, visit the website here.

Images supplied. Photos by James Terry.


Next Fall

The critically acclaimed Next Fall will premiere in Melbourne at Chapel off Chapel from 12 to 30 July, 2017.

Next Fall is about the five-year relationship of Luke and Adam. After an accident occurs, it changes everything, beliefs of family and friends are put to the test. Adam is forced to turn the Luke’s family and friends for support.

Next FallIt focuses on family and what rights does a long-time de facto have in a crisis if absent family members have a different view.

This Tony Award nominated play was written by Geoffrey Nauffts.  Elton John and his partner David Furnish produced Next Fall on Broadway.

Presented by Boyslikeme, Next Fall will be directed by Peter Blackburn. The cast of six includes Kaarin Fairfax, Mark Davis, Darrin Redgate, Paul Robertson, Sharon Davis and James Biasetto.

If you would like to attend a heart felt play, make sure you attend a performance of Next Fall.

Click here if you would like to read my Coffee Break With Belinda interview with one of the performers Kaarin Fairfax.



Heart Is A Wasteland

Having admired the work of Aaron Pedersen on television and film, I was pleased to see that he would be appearing in Heart Is A Wasteland.  It’s going to be staged at the Malthouse Theatre from 29 June to 16 July, 2017.

Ursula Yovitch.Aaron Pedersen - Photo credit Deryk McAlpin copy-1Set against the back drop of the central Australian landscape, Rye is a country music star in the making. Playing pubs along vast desert highways, selling CDs for $10. She meets Dan, another wanderer and a love affair blooms during a four-day drive north of Roxby, South Australia to Alice Springs. It’s a journey into how we hurt and how we heal.

Presented by Brown Cab Productions who’ve combined their of love theatre, film and live music into this play. Written by John Harvey and directed by Margaret Harvey. Starring alongside Aaron are Ursula Yovich and Anna Liebzeit.

If you would like to see an Australian story; attend a performance of Heart Is A Wasteland.

Image supplied. Photo by Deryk McAlpin.






The Adventures of Peter Pan & Tinkerbell

As a child, I remember going to pantomimes presented by a local theatre group so I was rather excited when Bonnie Lythgoe Productions will be presenting The Adventures of Peter Pan & Tinkerbell. After Brisbane and Sydney seasons, it will be staged at the Comedy Theatre in Melbourne from 21 to 30 July, 2017.

Well-known entertainer Todd McKenney will be starring as Captain Hook. Tim Maddern, Jaime Hadwen, Katrina Retallick, Robyn Loau and the role of Smee will be shared between Mark Jones and Kev Orkian.

Peter Pan

The Adventures of Peter Pan & Tinkerbell will feature glittering sets, spectacular effects, enchanting costumes and featuring fantastic song and dance numbers.

It will be sure to have lots of comedy and audience participation for the whole family from ages 3 to 103.

For further information on The Adventures of Peter Pan & Tinkerbell; click here.

Image supplied.  Photo by Robert Catto.


Disney On Ice Presents Frozen

Feld Entertainment celebrates 30 years since they first toured Australia with an ice show. The 2017 show is Disney on Ice presents Frozen. It will be staged at Hisense Arena in Melbourne from 5 to 9 July, 2017.  Extra shows added on 22 and 23 July due to audience demand.

It’s quite fitting that this year’s show is Frozen as we are currently experiencing the winter season in Australia.

Disney on Ice FrozenHosted by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Disney on Ice presents Frozen transforms audiences to Arendelle where you revisited the story. At the 2014 Academy Awards, Frozen became the first film by Walt Disney Animated Studio to win Best Animated Feature and it also won Best Original Song for Let It Go.

Disney on Ice presents Frozen, audiences will experience world class ice skating and special effects while being enchanted with the characters of Anna, Elsa, the lovable snowman Olaf as well as new ones including Grand Pabbie, the Trolls and the Marshmallow.

Television personality, Shelley Craft, is the 2017 National ambassador for Disney on Ice who’s a mother of two daughters.

For further information on Disney on Ice presents Frozen, click here.