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Platform Paper 42
Australians love musicals. IBIS World estimates the music and theatre production industry in Australia generated revenue of $1.2 billion in 2013–14. It is big business. But as profits from yet another revival of Les Mis or Wicked flow back to the originators and investors abroad, the local, original, bigtime musical is virtually extinct. Here we have no shortage of composers, producers and performers but rarely do they have the chance to fully develop a large-scale work, especially one that tells our own stories with our own music. It is too complex, too risky, easier to build a show around familiar hits. Not good enough, says John Senczuk. He proposes pooling our resources into a national development program that will sustain new work right through to commercial readiness. He calls it The Perth Solution and has found a way to bring it off and make it sustainable.
‘THE most intelligent clarion call on behalf of the Australian musical, ever written. Gale Edwards
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Why don’t we create more—or any—original Australian musicals? Clearly the prevailing repertoire employs an enormous number of talented Australian artists; increasingly more local directors, designers, choreographers and musical directors; and we’ve developed a growing cohort of triple-threat local stars.10 These numbers are consistently building from the established institutions WAAPA, VCA and NIDA and the plethora of other music theatre training programs. Many of these artists are employed internationally: Hugh Jackman, Caroline O’Connor, Simon Phillips, Gabriella Tylosova, Michael Scott-Mitchell, to name a few. But our writers, lyricists and especially composers are neglected.