New Kid In Town: Ed Grey stars in John and Jen

 WAAPA graduate, producer and performer Ed Grey is gearing up for the Sydney Fringe Festival 2011. Erin James, Editor of spoke with this talented young entrepreneur about his latest show John and Jen….

 Ed GreyWAAPA graduate, producer and performer Ed Grey is gearing up for the Sydney Fringe Festival 2011. Erin James, Editor of spoke with this talented young entrepreneur about his latest show John and Jen….
Edward Grey the kind of guy many in the entertainment industry would consider ‘green’ – the new kid in town. He has only recently graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Arts Music Theatre course (2010), but do not be deceived: his boyish looks belie an incredible talent which really must be seen to be believed. 
Not only is this young man an extraordinary actor and singer – he is an accomplished pianist with aspirations to one day become a musical director. He is also co-producing a show in which he is starring for the Sydney Fringe Festival this year and yes, ladies and gentlemen – he is just 22 years old. 
The adage goes: “if you want to work in this industry, you need to create the work for yourself”. 
Ed Grey says that this lesson, instilled in him at drama school by every guest lecturer, full time staffer and ex-student, was certainly at the forefront of his mind when it came to creating this show. 
“We are told 6 million times by 6 million different people – create your own work”, he laughed 
“For me – basically, there was a spot in the fringe program, and I was looking for somewhere to do John and Jen, and it all came about really quickly. The opportunity presented itself, and here we are”. 
Grey explains how he contemplated auditioning for other productions, but ultimately realised it was more beneficial for him (and for his co-star Naomi Livingston, WAPPA graduate 2009) to produce John and Jen himself. 
“I wanted to make my own work. There were other co-op productions that I considered auditioning for, but I realise that none will give me the opportunity that John and Jen will give”, he said. 
“I am really learning it’s quite a lot of fun to get people involved. Once you find the right people, who are as enthusiastic about the project as you are, it makes it all a whole lot easier and more enjoyable because all of a sudden you are not the only one hoping you can pull it off”, Grey explained. 
The integrity of the material, written by Andrew Lippa (composer of The Addams Family) was a selling point, Grey said. 
“[John and Jen] is sincere and it doesn’t pretend to be something that it’s not. It’s simple storytelling, a beautiful score and also very meaty subject material to sink your teeth into”, he explained. 
The musical, starring Grey and Livingston will be presented as a one act, 90 minute piece at Sidetrack Theatre for this year’s Sydney Fringe and has been placed in the hands of Grey’s ‘dream creative team’. 
Despite the impossibilities of scheduling, Grey has managed to secure some of the industry’s freshest faces to form the creative team for this show. Director Ben Giraud (WAAPA graduate 2008) is currently performing in Mary Poppins 8 shows a week, and Grey admits he never thought this first time director would find the time in his busy schedule to work on the project. 
“I thought it would be impossible for Ben to do the show, because of his work schedule”, laughs Grey. “It’s wonderful that all the people I had dreamed of working with can actually manage to do it.”
Choreographer Stephanie Grigg (WAAPA graduate 2010) is currently performing in the blockbuster hit Love Never Dies at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre, and has taken time out of her weekends to fly to Sydney and work with the performers. Matt Schubach (NIDA graduate), is currently working on Jersey Boys has agreed to create the lighting design for the piece. 
“We also have a great designer [WAAPA graduate] Anna Gardiner”, said Grey, explaining that the set will be minimalistic – a perfect fit for the Fringe Festival.
Grey admits that while nothing is set in stone, he would love to see the show performed again after the Fringe Festival is over. 
“Depending upon availability, we would love this show to see the light of day again”, he said. “I’d love it to have another incarnation”. 
John and Jen promises to be one of the highlights of this year’s Sydney Fringe Festival. The show opens on September 20, 2011 at Sidetrack Theatre, starring Naomi Livingston and Ed Grey. 
For more information, visit: Directed by: Ben Giraud
Musical Director: Isaac Hayward
Choreographer: Stephanie Grigg
Designer: Anna GardinerLighting Designer: Matt SchubachCo-Producer: Benita de WitCo-Producer: Ed Grey  We caught up with Naomi Livingston to ask her our 20 questions this week!  

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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