I saw my first live theatre performance at the age of seven when my parents took me to see Kiss Me Kate in Perth in 1952. I was mesmerised by the colour, the glamour and the excitement of the show. It was way beyond my comprehension as it is based on a players’ troupe performing The Taming of the Shrew and living out the theme off stage.
As a young adult I joined a theatre company and appeared in about 20 stage musicals, including Kiss Me Kate. I was in the chorus mostly but played minor character roles. My favourite shows were My Fair Lady, Oklahoma, Camelot, The Sound of Music and Evita.
My Fair Lady was a fantastic show. Our company had all the costumes and sets from the original Melbourne production and a full orchestra. The critics rated our production (in Canberra) as equal to anything in Melbourne or Sydney. As well as great music, the show has wit and humour, some brutish behaviour and a happy ending. Everyone leaves the theatre smiling.
The camaraderie of the cast makes a show a lot of fun and that starts with the several weeks of rehearsal before opening night. Most cast members pitch in with the bump-in to the theatre of the sets and they all pitch in to the after show parties. You develop great friendships and many of your friends appear in other shows with you. These friendships extend to the directors, stage hands, make-up, costumers and props managers. It takes a good team behind the scenes to make a show live.
I love this form of theatre and now have a collection of most musicals that have been recorded on DVD.
I remain grateful to my parents for that first experience.
I love the shows where you are familiar with all (or most) of the songs.
Oklahoma and The Sound of Music are both filled with songs that are very popular. They both have villains (and that’s where I tend to get cast) but the good guys win.
Camelot and Evita don’t share the happy endings but they have a lot of drama and some sensational music.