Hayes Theatre Co announces 2020 Season

Last night, the iconic Hayes Theatre Co announced their season for next year.

Named after the iconic Nancye Hayes AM, Hayes Theatre is dedicated to honouring the history of Australian Musical Theatre, its practitioners, and developing the next generation of performers, creatives and producers.

One of Australia’s most acclaimed independent theatre companies, productions at the Hayes have been nominated for and won numerous Helpmann Awards, Sydney Theatre Awards and Glugs Awards.

With a brilliant assortment of new Australian work, niche musicals, and thrilling cabarets, there is certainly something for everyone in the 2020 lineup.

Irene | 8 – 11 January

Starring Stephanie Caccamo and Nancye Hayes

Originally produced in 1919, Irene is charm, comedy, romance and nostalgia rolled into one hilarious Irishwoman. A strong-hearted Irene gets to model for a famous dress designer, and somehow wiggles her way up the social ladder when she is mistaken her for the niece of a famous socialite.

With its book by Hugh Wheeler and Joseph Stein, the musical comedy is an adaptation of the play Irene O’Dare by James Montgomery, and originally starred Debbie Reynolds in its Broadway run.

Directed by Shaun Rennie, this neglected musical is definitely not one to miss.

The Life Of Us | 16 January – 9 February

Starring Ben Bennett, Ashleigh Taylor, Toby Francis & Pippa Grandison

The Life Of Us follows the long distance romance of Charlie and Ellie. Forced apart by circumstance, they maintain their relationship through technology, but how much connection can a person truly feel through a screen? As we watch their lives unfold and their relationships crumble, we begin to understand what we want isn’t always what we need. Mentored by the legendary Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Godspell) The Life Of Us is Australia’s new, groundbreaking musical, with an extraordinary ability to express universal feelings of love and heartbreak into a deeply affecting and intimate musical.

The Rise and Disguise of Elizabeth R | 13 February – 1 March

Gerry Connolly is a familiar and much-loved face in Australia. A versatile actor, comic and musician, we have watched him in classics Fast Forward and Joh’s Jury and on stage in Urinetown and Nick Enright’s Summer Rain, in opera, with symphony orchestras and the regal opening of an envelope. Perhaps his most enduring performance has been his inhabitation of Queen Elizabeth II. Over four decades, his loving (and uncanny) representation of her, full of dry wit and surprising ingenuity, has become an Australian icon.

This brand new story brings to life many of Gerry’s brilliant alter-egos, from Her Maj, her son, her bête noir the Baroness Thatcher, her Australian PMs to other famous home-grown personalities… As the Queen nears the end of her reign, this show explores her history, her hidden personality, and the weird sense of intimacy that has developed for Gerry over decades of walking in the shoes of The Monarch.

Directed by Hayes favourite Shaun Rennie (Only Heaven Knows, The View UpStairs) and supported by a cast of talented comic triple threats, Gerry will push boundaries, as always, in this outing, full of pathos, humour and magic. Expect the unexpected in a show that delivers what the Royal Family isn’t known for: gags, show tunes, and dancing.

The Bridges of Madison County | 6 March – 5 April

Starring Kate Maree Hoolihan, Marin Crewes, Anton Berezin, Beth Daly, Barry Mitchell, Katie McKee, Grady Swithenbank

Based on the best-selling novel, and developed by the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning creative team of Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years, Parade, Songs for a New World) and Marsha Norman, The Bridges of Madison County captures the lyrical expanse of America’s heartland along with the yearning entangled in the eternal question of, ‘What if …?’

Francesca Johnson is an Italian immigrant housewife living a happy existence on a farm in the American Midwest. However, when her family go off to the 1965 State Fair, she meets Robert Kincaid, a National Geographic photographer on assignment filming bridges in the area. Their initial friendship develops into a brief but passionate affair which has devastating consequences on all of their lives. The winner of the 2014 Tony Award for Best Score and Orchestrations, this sweeping romance about the roads we travel, the doors we open and the bridges we dare to cross will leave audiences breathless.

Merrily We Roll Along | 16 April – 23 May

Starring Elise McCann & Ryan Gonzalez

Merrily We Roll Along is the heartbreaker of Sondheim musicals, looking at how the best of friends lose their way as they fight to win at life. We follow a trio of friends – Franklin Shepard, a composer; Charley Kringas, his writing partner lyricist; and Mary Flynn, an upcoming novelist. All three are primed to change the world through words and music. However, success has a way of opening doors that take them further away from what – and who – they love. Famously told in reverse, Merrily We Roll Along is an emotional detective story that investigates how grown-up sellouts are forged from wide-eyed poets.

The show will be created by a multi-award winning team of director Dean Bryant (Sweet Charity, Assassins, Little Shop of Horrors), choreographer Andrew Hallsworth (Muriel’s Wedding, Sweet Charity) and musical director Lucy Bermingham (In The Heights, Caroline, Or Change).

Dubbo Championship Wrestling | 29 May – 27 June

There’s not a spare seat in the West Dubbo High School Gym. Ozzy the Aussie Battler flicks his cape and steps into the ring, and the crowd go troppo. This is Dubbo Championship Wrestling, the hilarious new Aussie rock musical that will change everything you thought you knew about professional wrestling, regional Australia, and musical theatre itself.

Rose, a young woman from Dub-Vegas with wrestling in her blood, has long ago turned her back on the family business and Dubbo’s stifling small-town ways. When circumstance brings her back to her hometown on the eve of Dubbomania, the biggest wrestling tournament of the year, Rose is drawn into a monumental battle over family and identity, featuring capes, choreography, and some of the most colourful characters you’ll ever meet.

The violence, the joy, the costumes, the thumbtacks. Will there be blood? We bloody hope so.

Head Over Heels | 3 July – 2 August

The Producers of the 2019 smash hit American Psycho – The Musical, and director Ellen Simpson bring you Head Over Heels; a bold new musical comedy from the visionaries behind Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Avenue Q, Next To Normal and Spring Awakening.

In a brazen (yet completely on-brand) attempt to flout the dire warnings of the Oracle, King Basilius of Arcadia sets off on a journey of evasion and avoidance, entire family in tow. The next few raucous and ruff-filled hours see all that is familiar to this royal clan tipped on its crown as they are flung, loins first, into a new age of inclusion and transformation.

Set to the music of the iconic 1980’s all-female rock band The Go-Go’s, this hilarious and ground-breaking piece features songs, “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed” and Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth.”

The Sovereign Wife | 7 August – 5 September

Creator of the landmark Keating! composer Casey Bennetto teams up with Sisters Grimm to explore the guts of our brave nation, in a toe-tapping musical colonoscopy: The Sovereign Wife.

After six months at sea, Moira O’Flaherty finally sets foot on the Ballarat goldfields. With her husband Connor by her side and a baby on the way, she is ready to reap the spoils of the Lucky Country. But when Connor sinks into drunken despair and the goldfields erupt in bloodshed, the Rose of Donegal County must learn to survive in the soil of this vast new land.

With a dazzling, genre-hopping score, The Sovereign Wife takes you on a sprawling journey to the mythic heart of our country. Award-winning cult theatre-makers Sisters Grimm (Calpurnia Descending, Summertime in the Garden of Eden) smash together all the stories Australia loves to tell about itself – combining the subtlety of Baz Luhrmann’s Australia with the soaring beauty of Gina Rhinehart’s poetry.

Mental As Everything | 9-11 September

Starring Damon Smith & Adam Coad

Mental As Everything is a raw and honest cabaret performance that explores the multifaceted nature of mental illness. Creator and performer, Damon Smith, will take you on a journey of his deeply personal experience of living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and bipolar disorder, backed up by his anxious musical cohort Adam Coad. In this two-man show, Damon and Adam, will invite you inside their own minds and take you on an often-awkward journey of hilarious onstage buffoonery and original songs pertaining to mental illness.

Cheeky | 9 & 11 September

After a sold-out Melbourne season, Green-Room Award winning cabaret artist, Maverick Newman brings his new show Cheeky to the Hayes. A WAAPA grad and a six-time Green Room Award nominee (2019 winner for Best Original Songs), Maverick is without a doubt one of the most exciting new voice in Australian cabaret.

There’s only one way to attack the themes and issues of a 22 year-olds life and that is with complete and utter cheek.

I’m Literally Losing My Mind | 10 & 12 September

Starring Naomi Livingston
Supported by Scott Sheridan, Chris Archer & David Emery

A multi-generational journey through motherhood, mental health and mortality.

This soul-ripping, thought provoking, original score about panic, parenting and the realities of mental health, is guaranteed to crack you up and crack you open. This brand-new show explores overactive imaginations, seeing ghosts, some guy called Graham, meditation gone wrong, and heaven forbid, maybe even birth. And who the fuck is named Graham these days? Sorry Graham.

What’s real and what’s fiction doesn’t matter. It’s the story of a lineage of women, and what it is to be a mother, have a mother, lose a mother and what becomes our legacy for our children.

The Other Einstein | 10 & 12 September

Starring Katelin Koprivec
Supported by Conrad Hamill, Beth Daly, Chris Archer & David Emery

It takes more than a genius to solve matters of the heart.

The Other Einstein reveals a forgotten woman whose light was lost in Einstein’s enormous shadow. In 1896, Albert Einstein meets Mileva Marić. They study physics together, fall in love and marry. Einstein goes on to found modern physics. Mileva endures a lost baby girl, a schizophrenic son and Einstein’s multiple infidelities.

Through it all, was Mileva just Einstein’s wife? Or was she Einstein’s uncredited co-author? Through classic show tunes and splashes of pop hits, this dynamic cabaret crashes the old with the new, science with art, as Mileva risks everything for her husband and the Nobel Prize that could tear them apart.

Bonnie and Clyde | 18 September – 18 October

Producer of In The Heights, Joshua Robson Productions (formally Blue Saint Productions), is excited to bring another professional premiere to Sydney.⁠

At the height of the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went from two small-town nobodies in West Texas to America’s most renowned folk heroes and Texas law enforcement’s worst nightmares. Fearless, shameless and alluring, the Tony-nominated Bonnie & Clyde, from the legendary Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, Civil War, Dracula) is the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire country.⁠

Directed and choreographed by Amy Campbell (In The Heights, Hair), Bonnie & Clyde is a thrilling and sexy musical with a non-traditional score, combing blues, gospel and rockabilly music.⁠

Young Frankenstein | 6 November – 5 December

Hayes Theatre Co presents the Australian premiere of this brilliantly kooky musical comedy, adapted by comic genius Mel Brooks (The Producers, Blazing Saddles) from his own legendarily funny film.

Scientist Frederick Frankenstein (“it’s pronounced Fronk-en-steen”) – grandson of the infamous scientist – travels reluctantly to Transylvania where he has inherited his family’s estate. Before long, he finds himself back in the mad scientist shoes of his ancestor, and with the help of hunchbacked sidekick Igor and yodeling lab assistant Inga, he brings to life a new creature to rival his grandfather’s. But this time, when the monster escapes – absolute hilarity ensues.

Young Frankenstein has all the panache and quick-fire humour of the screen sensation, with a little extra theatrical flair. Featuring songs like “The Transylvania Mania”and the immortal “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” Young Frankenstein is scientifically proven, monstrously good entertainment. Directed by Alexander Berlage (Cry-Baby, American Psycho), get ready for an electrifying camp gothic spectacular that will leave you in stitches.

For tickets and more information, please visit the Hayes Theatre Co website.

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator, and is the current Deputy Editor-in-Chief of AussieTheatre.com. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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