MELVILLE Theatre is celebrating more than 30 years of staging musicals this November and December with a special retrospective taking in some of its most popular productions.
Looking Back is an opportunity for audiences to reminisce with excerpts from A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Scrooge, A Chorus Line, The Dancing Years, The Boyfriend, Old Time Music Hall, Fiddler On The Roof, Blood Brothers and The Sound of Music – winner of the Finley Award in 1984.
Presented within the framework of a play written and directed by Vanessa Jensen and Sue Lynch, experienced husband-and-wife team Justin and Katherine Freind have the task of musical direction.
“Looking Back has a small but talented cast and will leave audiences humming some familiar tunes,” Katherine said.
“We have some chorus numbers and quite a few solos and duos, plus a children’s chorus of seven.
“The show is semi-staged and, at times, done in an ‘audition/rehearsal’ format.”
Katherine’s father David Burton started Melville Theatre in 1982 and she appeared in its first musical The Sound of Music two years later, followed by the pantomime Cinderella and Fiddler On The Roof.
“In Looking Back, three generations of my family are involved – my mother Neroli, myself and my three children Matilda, Cooper and Blake,” she said. “It’s a nice tribute to my father.”
Learning dance as a three-year-old and performing at age seven, Katherine has performed extensively in range of productions with highlights including Evita at His Majesty’s Theatre and Oliver, The King and I, The Mikado and Cruisin’ The Musical (with Glenn Shorrock), all at the Regal Theatre.
She studied at the WA Academy of Performing Arts and Trinity College of London and spent five years as part of the duo MUSE with Nat Ripepi, supporting numerous local, interstate and international acts while also releasing a CD.
Katherine has also been director or musical director of numerous shows including The Great Christmas Tree Robbery, The Wizard of Oz, Snow White, Annie, Beauty and The Beast and Aladdin Jr and currently owns The Stage Key Company, providing dance and musical theatre training for 300 children and adults.
“Looking Back came about as a result of us having to cancel our intended production of The Pirates of Penzance due to a lack of men,” she said.
“We needed to pull something together fairly quickly so the idea of a show highlighting the history of musical theatre at Melville was born.
“I have a long history with Melville Theatre and thought it would be apt to share my love of musical theatre with the company that my father began.
“The main challenge is the short amount of time we have and the small cast – but they are all extremely talented and dedicated and I know they will deliver a very entertaining show."
Looking Back plays at 8pm November 27, 28, December 3, 4 and 5 with a 2pm matinee November 28. Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book on 9330 4565 or at www.meltheco.org.au.
Melville Theatre is on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra.
looking back1: Katherine and Justin Freind, far right, are bringing some of Melville Theatre’s favourite musicals back to life in Looking Back.
looking back2: Katherine Freind, front left, with husband Justin on keyboards, have brought back several actors to perform excerpts from some of Melville Theatre’s most popular musicals.
The Melville Theatre Company was the brainchild of David J. Burton who, in 1982, called a meeting for interested people in the community to form a theatre company in the Melville area.
As a result, the Melville Theatre Company was born. The newly formed company's first production was the farce, Not Now Darling. With its second production, The Sound of Music, the young company won the Finley Award for the Best Production of the Year in Community Theatre. Since then, actors and directors have consistently featured in the list of awards at the annual State Drama Festival, now known as Dramafest.
Initially, performances were in the Melville Civic Centre but, since 1987, the venue has been the Roy Edinger Centre, on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra.
P: 0411 462 164