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Harvest Rain 2014 Season

Home > Brisbane > Music | Musicals | Nightlife | Performing Arts | Theatre
by Geraldine Massey (subscribe)
I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
Published November 18th 2013
Musical romps with gangsters, cats & King Arthur's knights
"There's no business like show business" and that business was on show in spectacular style at the all-singing, all-dancing launch of Harvest Rain's 2014 season at QPAC's Playhouse last night. Harvest Rain, Queensland's first and only professional musical theatre company, revealed their program of musical productions for next year, and what a program that is. Their "Stars Shine Bright in Brisbane in 2014" is a trio of really big musicals with an even more impressive list of musical stars, straight from the 'Who's Who' of Australian musical theatre.

harvest rain, guys and dolls, cats, spamalot, 2014 season, qpac, qpac concert hall, brisbane theatre, brisbane musicals
The big time finale, with stars and ensemble chorus, to the 2014 season launch

The Launch

The evening was introduced by Ross Cunningham, QPAC's Director of Presenter Services, and we were then put in the very entertaining hands of Harvest Rain's CEO and Artistic Director, Tim O'Connor for the rest of the rollicking musical ride. O'Connor, who is recovering from laryngitis and confided to the audience that he sounded "like Joan Rivers", was clearly excited and his enthusiasm was shared by the musical-loving audience, who received each new announcement, musical performance and chat with the stars with spontaneous applause, whistles, shouts, and laughter.

The Shows

Guys and Dolls

O'Connor's first announcement revealed the 2014 season opener, the evergreen Guys and Dolls, which will liven up QPAC's Concert Hall in March 2014. After their success in Harvest Rain's 2013 production of Oklahoma, Ian Stenlake and Angela Harding will once again star in a boy-meets-girl scenario, although this one explores an unlikely musical world of New York gangsters and gamblers.

harvest rain, guys and dolls, qpac, qpac concert hall, brisbane theatre, brisbane musicals
Image from Harvest Rain website.

There was no denying the stage presence and vocal talents of Stenlake, who delivered an energetic version of Luck Be a Lady supported by a talented chorus of singers and dancers, then joined with Harding for the love song, I've Never Been in Love Before, before the colourful and hugely entertaining, 30-strong rendition of Guys and Dolls by the ensemble cast. O'Connor's post-production chat with the stars revealed Stenlake's love of the Guys and Dolls' humour and Harding's acknowledgement that Guys and Dolls was the first live musical theatre production she had seen.

But the really big news was that O'Connor had recently signed on Gold Logie winner, Daryl Somers, for the role made famous in Australia by the late Ricky May - Nicely Nicely Johnson. Somers, in explaining his reasoning for accepting the part, said that he had felt his friend Ricky "Talking to me from beyond, telling me to take the part... and start eating!"

Cats

The audience was clearly thinking 'How could O'Connor top that?' Well, his next announcement almost took the roof of the Playhouse. In a large scale arena production Cats will inhabit the Convention Centre for five purring performances in July. And this one is guaranteed to be a record breaker. Over 500 performers will take to the stage in what will be the largest production of Cats ever staged in the southern hemisphere.

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Image from Harvest Rain website.

The production will be headlined by Marina Prior, whose soaring rendition of Memory proved that she hasn't lost any of her vocal touch. Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats was another fine performance by the ensemble cast. Prior told O'Connor and the audience that she was looking forward to playing Grizabella, "the old, sad glamourcat".

Harvest Rain will be conducting auditions for the Cats youth ensemble from the 2nd - 7th December 2013. See here for details.

Spamalot

O'Connor's last announcement for the evening was that Harvest Rain's final production for 2014 will be the riotous Spamalot, the show that "raises silliness to an art form". It will show at QPAC Concert Hall in October. This show will reunite Simon Gallaher and Jon English, thirty years after their musical romp, Pirates of Penzance, hit the stage.

harvest rain, spamalot, qpac, qpac concert hall, brisbane theatre, brisbane musicals
Image from Harvest Rain website.

The chorus delivered again with a rousing Knights of the Round Table - you know, "We eat ham and jam and Spam a lot', and we were then introduced to the Lady of the Lake, the wonderful Julie Anthony, who hammed it up with Simon Gallaher with The Song That Goes Like This. Of course it wouldn't have been complete without Jon English, who joined them, complete with trademark mullet, for Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

Gallaher and English then spoke with O'Connor about their shared musical history and Anthony, who said that she's "been knitting for the last two years... it's a very long scarf", explained that the opportunity to work with Gallaher again and her love of Monty Python, had coaxed her out of retirement for this role.

Conclusion

O'Connor made special mention of the direction and choreography by Callum Mansfield and the work of Production Manager, Megan Whiting. He also acknowledged the very professional supporting cast, comprised of members of Harvest Rain's highly successful internship program. Surely there are bright futures ahead for some of these talented, young performers.

harvest rain, guys and dolls, cats, spamalot, 2014 season, qpac, qpac concert hall, brisbane theatre, brisbane musicals
harvest rain, guys and dolls, cats, spamalot, 2014 season, qpac, qpac concert hall, brisbane theatre, brisbane musicals
 

This was an evening of infectious enjoyment, and if so much fun can be had merely at the season launch then the musical theatre goers of Brisbane should hold on to their hats in anticipation of the real thing. I say "let it rain!" for 2014. You'll be guaranteed a good time if you dip your toe in these refreshing, effervescent and highly professional musical waters.

Season 2014 Details and Subscriptions

Guys and Dolls: Seven performances from Thursday 20th to Saturday 23rd at QPAC Concert Hall

Cats: Arena production - Five performances only from Friday 4th July to Sunday 6th July at Brisbane Convention Centre

Spamalot: Seven performances from Thursday 2nd October to Sunday 5th October

Become a subscriber for all three shows, or make group bookings for ten or more people (call (07) 3840 7466) to save.

Subscriber Rates
A Reserve Subscription: $238 (save $59)
B Reserve Subscription: $213 (save $24)
A Reserve Subscription: $186 (save $21)

Subscribe or make a group booking before 29th November and you will go into the draw to win a special star experience for each of the shows.

Regular tickets will be on sale in the new year. Keep an eye on the Harvest Rain website, join their mailing list or follow them on Facebook.

harvest rain, guys and dolls, cats, spamalot, 2014 season, qpac, qpac concert hall, brisbane theatre, brisbane musicals

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*Geraldine Massey was invited as a guest
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Why? Because Brisbane loves a good musical
When: Guys and Dolls: March 2014, Cats: July 2014, Spamalot: October 2014. See article for full details.
Where: QPAC Concert Hall and Brisbane Convention Centre
Cost: Varies. See website for details.
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