John Frost OAM is 2014 recipient of the JC Williamson Award

Live Performance Australia (LPA) has announced that theatre producer John Frost has been named the recipient of the JC Williamson Award for 2014 – one of the highest honors in the Australian Live Performance business.

The JC WILLIAMSON AWARD is the foremost honour that the Australian live entertainment industry can bestow. The award recognises individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the Australian live entertainment and performing arts industry and shaped the future of our industry for the better.

John Frost
Producer John Frost. Image by Justine Walpole

Past winners include such iconic figures as Dame Joan Sutherland OM AC DBE, Barry Humphries AO CBE, Michael Gudinski AM, John Farnham AO and Graeme Murphy AM.

John Frost is the Managing Director of the Gordon Frost Organisation. Affectionately known as “Frosty the Showman”, Frost began in the industry at the age of 16 as a dresser for JC Williamson. He worked his way up the ladder to, in 1983, open the The Gordon/Frost Organisation with the late Ashley Gordon.

Together they  negotiated the lease for Sydney’s Footbridge Theatre, where they successfully produced a range of shows including Jerry’s Girls, Night Mother, The Venetian Twins and Women Behind Bars.

The company then moved into large scale musicals such as Big River, The King and I, South Pacific, Hello Dolly!, The Secret Garden, Smokey Joe’s Café, Cabaret and Crazy for You.

He co-produced Sir Peter Hall’s acclaimed productions of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband starring Googie Withers and John McCallum, and Lady Windermere’s Fan starring Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London.

In 1998 John Frost joined forces with Sports and Entertainment Limited (SEL) to produce Grease – The Arena Spectacular! The production broke all box office records for an arena event in Australia.

His production of The King and I on Broadway won the coveted Tony Award for ‘Best Revival of a Musical’ as well as the Drama Desk and New York Outer Critics Circle Award, and the production is set for an Opera Australia revival this year.

John has also been the recipient of two Mo Awards and a Sydney Critics’ Circle Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 from GLUGS.

John was represented on Broadway with the smash hit musical Hairspray for which he won his second Tony Award. Since January 2006 he has produced the national tours of the National Theatre of Great Britain’s celebrated production of An Inspector Calls, the Broadway theatre icon Mandy Patinkin and Hollywood and cabaret legend Debbie Reynolds.

John Frost, in partnership with The Really Useful Company Asia Pacific, presented The Phantom of the Opera Australian tour starring Anthony Warlow. In 2009 John was represented on Broadway with the play, Exit the King, starring Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon.

John was one of the producers of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and produced the Australian tours of the West End hit Calendar Girls, Fame the Musical and the Australian and Asian tour of Chicago.

He recently co-produced the Australian and Asian tours of Doctor Zhivago and the Broadway blockbuster Wicked, the Australian tour of Annie, Geoffrey Rush in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, the Opera Australia/Lincoln Center production of South Pacific, and Legally Blonde the Musical.

Most recently he presented Driving Miss Daisy starring Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones and Boyd Gaines. Currently touring Australia are Grease and The Rocky Horror Show. John is currently represented in London’s West End with hit shows The Bodyguard and Blithe Spirit.

Upcoming Australian productions include the return tour of Wicked, The King and I with Opera Australia and Once with the Melbourne Theatre Company.

“I am truly grateful to Live Performance Australia and the JC Williamson Award Committee for this incredible honour,” Frost said.

Receiving the JC Williamson Award is the highest tribute that can be bestowed on someone working in the performing arts industry, and to be acknowledged by my peers for a job I love is gratifying and inspiring. I’m humbled to be in the company of Googie Withers and John McCallum, Kenn Brodziak, Clifford Hocking, Tony Gould and other past recipients of this prestigious award.”

John Frost will be honoured at an industry celebration hosted by LPA in association with Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in Brisbane.

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and was the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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