DRIFTWOOD THE MUSICAL – New York Bound

Following a sold-out world premiere Melbourne season in 2022, the Producers of Driftwood The Musical have announced the production will head to New York later this year to explore its potential in the heartland of musical theatre.

This moving and enthralling story of a family surviving the ravages of war will transfer to New York in the spring to undertake a series of workshops and presentations, where Producers are currently in early discussions with theatre owners and investors regarding the scheduling of a future New York season and potential tour.

The New York workshops will be directed by awarding winning Australian Director, Gary Abrahams (Yentl, 33 Variations starring academy award winner Ellen Burstyn, Admissions for Melbourne Theatre Company and the Australian Premieres of Hand to God and Bad Jews).

With an original score by Australian composer Anthony Barnhill, Driftwood follows the lives of renowned Austrian sculptor Karl Duldig and his artist/inventor wife, Slawa Horowitz-Duldig through pre-war Vienna and Slawa’s invention of the original foldable umbrella, miraculously escaping Nazi-controlled Austria and the Holocaust, the tragedy of separation and loss of family and belongings, and the eventual rebuilding of their lives on the other side of the world.

Driftwood The Musical had its world premiere in Melbourne in 2022 and will return to Chapel Off Chapel from 3 – 20 May before travelling to Sydney playing three seasons at Glen Street Theatre, 24 – 28 May, Riverside Theatres, 31 May – 4 June and Eternity Playhouse, 7 – 18 June.

Driftwood The Musical is presented by the Umbrella Foundation and has been nominated for a Green Room Award 2022.

Driftwood The Musical is based on Eva de Jong-Duldig’s critically acclaimed memoir ‘Driftwood – escape and survival through art’ and original stage play by Jane Bodie.

Tania de Jong, Producer and granddaughter of Karl and Slawa Duldig:

The Driftwood story is understandably extremely close to our hearts and it’s been a privilege to be able to tell this story on Australian stages. Driftwood is a story of love, creativity and art, courage, loss and triumph over the greatest of adversity. So many generations were lost, so many stories left untold. In sharing my grandparents’ story we honour and give thanks for the those whose lives were cut short.

Peter Hunt, Producer:

New York is the spiritual home of the musical world, we are humbled and excited to have this opportunity to further the Driftwood story and share it with New York audiences.

Consulting Producer, Craig Donnell:

Driftwood will go into rehearsals in April and is scheduled to play seasons in Melbourne and Sydney commencing May this year. The Australian tour will conclude at the end of June, and this will be the last opportunity for Australian audiences to see the production before we head to New York.

Anthony Barnhill, Composer & Lyricist:

The audience and critical reaction to the premiere season has been beyond our wildest dreams. The interest from New York is the icing on the cake. We can’t wait to start work and see what can be achieved.

Gary Abrahams, Director:

When I first read Eva’s memoir I was immediately drawn to the power of the shared experience, and the topicality of this story about extraordinary people whose lives were upended by the chaos and destruction of war. I was also deeply moved by Eva’s own journey of self-discovery, as she learned the truth about her parents’ past.

Slawa was a woman ahead of her time, an artist and inventor whose inventions have touched all our lives and continue around the world today. This woman and her sculptor husband Karl, this family, sacrificed so much, like so many who endured these shared experiences, in order to flee persecution and eventually find safety.

Stephanie Johnson, Australian Stage:

The stagecraft is mesmerising. The music is sublime. The acting and singing are superlative. This world premiere production is set to take the world by storm. This story and stunningly crafted musical deserves to tour the world as a beacon of hope, and a reminder to avoid history repeating itself.


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