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Little Miss Sunshine at Stirling Theatre

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Sun shines bright as popular film becomes musical
Little Miss Sunshine, Stirling Theatre, musical, play, stage, performing arts, Toni Collette, Olive, pageant, family
Richard Hoover (Mitch Lawrence, left), Uncle Frank (Tim Tyrie), Dwayne Hoover (Charlie Martin), Sheryl Hoover (Steph Hickey), Grandpa (David Cosgrove) and Olive Hoover (Tahli Redgwell) have seen brighter days in Little Miss Sunshine. Picture: Guy Jackson


Originally an Oscar-winning film, Little Miss Sunshine is now a stage musical and it's coming to Stirling Theatre this November. Written by William Finn and James Lapine and directed by Tyler Eldridge, the story follows an incredibly dysfunctional family as they cross the US in a clapped-out Kombi van so their youngest daughter can take part in a regional children's beauty pageant.

"Let's just say everything that could go wrong, does go wrong," Tyler said. "People should expect the same hilarious story from the film, as they travel from Albuquerque to Rodondo Beach, California. The musical takes this story and adds a lot of heart be prepared for some really moving moments."

Little Miss Sunshine, Stirling Theatre, musical, play, stage, performing arts, Toni Collette, Olive, pageant, family
Little Miss Sunshine features Tahli Redgwell, left, as Olive and David Cosgrove as Grandpa. Picture: Guy Jackson


One of the biggest challenges, according to Tyler, is the fact Little Miss Sunshine is so well-known as a film. "How much do you make your own and how much do you lift directly from the film?" he said. "It's a very fine line.

Another challenge is the movie is essentially a road film and that comes with the interesting task of staging multiple scenes and songs that happen in the Kombi van
."

Little Miss Sunshine, Stirling Theatre, musical, play, stage, performing arts, Toni Collette, Olive, pageant, family
Uncle Frank (Tim Tyrie, left) discusses his love of Proust with Dwayne (Charlie Martin) in Little Miss Sunshine. Picture: Guy Jackson


Performing in the Hills area since he was a child, Tyler has more recently worked as a director and musical director with Roleystone and Blak Yak Theatres on Little Shop of Horrors, First Date The Musical, Calvin Berger and Annie. In 2017, he was named best director of a youth production at the annual Finley Awards for Calvin Berger.

"Little Miss Sunshine and its story of a family, trying their best against all odds to achieve their daughter's pageant queen dreams, really resonated with me," Tyler said. "The book and music are fantastic and I feel this show, while quite mature, covers many important themes about overcoming death, striving to achieve your dream and what being a family is really all about."

Little Miss Sunshine, Stirling Theatre, musical, play, stage, performing arts, Toni Collette, Olive, pageant, family
Richard (Mitch Lawrence, left), Olive (Tahli Redgwell), Dwayne (Charlie Martin) and Sheryl (Steph Hickey) in Little Miss Sunshine. Picture: Guy Jackson


Steph Hickey plays Sheryl, someone having a rough time."The whole story really hinges on the unique family dynamics at play and Sheryl is stuck in the middle of some really complicated relationships," she said. "She wants everyone to be happy and successful but she's also just trying to keep both herself and her family above water, which has been a fun dynamic to portray.

It's one of the most challenging roles I've had the opportunity to play the score is vocally challenging with some tricky but beautiful melodies and harmonies. This is the first time I've performed in a small ensemble show so it places more pressure on each of us individually to get our vocals perfect. It also means the cast dynamics need to be spot on, so we can really portray the family relationships at the core of the story
."

Little Miss Sunshine, Stirling Theatre, musical, play, stage, performing arts, Toni Collette, Olive, pageant, family
The Hoover family (Tahli Redgwell, left, Steph Hickey, Tim Tyrie, David Gosgrove, Mitch Lawrence and Charlie Martin) in Little Miss Sunshine enjoying dinner during their road trip. Picture: Guy Jackson


Performing for more than 10 years, primarily in Melbourne, Hickey was nominated for best female in a supporting role at the 2013 Music Theatre Guild of Victoria Bruce Awards for her role in Urinetown. Since moving to Perth, she has appeared in Dark Psychic Productions' The Addams Family and Carrie at Phoenix Theatre and Oklahoma! and Robin Hood: The Truth Behind the Green Tights at Roleystone Theatre. More recently, Hickey was nominated for best actress in a musical for her role in The Wedding Singer at Limelight Theatre.

"Little Miss Sunshine has so much heart," she said. "At its core, it's a comedy but the show still has beautiful moments of darkness and sadness that the score brings out nicely. It's a fantastic tribute to the movie but there are a lot more layers to some of the characters in the musical, which are really exciting to delve into."

Little Miss Sunshine, Stirling Theatre, musical, play, stage, performing arts, Toni Collette, Olive, pageant, family
Little Miss Sunshine sees Grandpa (David Cosgrove, left) give advice to his son Richard (Mitch Lawrence). Picture: Guy Jackson


Little Miss Sunshine plays at 8pm November 16,17, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 and December 1 with 2pm matinees November 18 and 25. Tickets are $25, $22 concession book through Morris News on 9446 9120 or at www.trybooking.com/XMJH. Stirling Theatre is on Morris Place, Innaloo.

Little Miss Sunshine, Stirling Theatre, musical, play, stage, performing arts, Toni Collette, Olive, pageant, family
The Hoover family (Mitch Lawrence, left, Tim Tyrie, Charlie Martin, Steph Hickey, David Cosgrove and Tahli Redgwell) wait for the pageant results in Little Miss Sunshine. Picture: Guy Jackson
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Why? If you loved the quirkiness of the original film, this musical has all that and more with a fresh take and plenty of heart.
When: 8pm November 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 & December 1; 2pm November 18 & 25
Phone: Morris News 9446 9120
Where: Stirling Theatre, Morris Place, Innaloo
Cost: $25, $22 concession
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