Friday, October 26, 2012

Geoffrey Rush Reveals Unsung Sondheim Lyrics for Melbourne: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Geoffrey Rush (Pseudolus)
According to Geoffrey Rush, Melbourne audiences will be treated to Sondheim’s ‘as yet unperformed lyrics’ when the show opens at Her Majesty’s Theatre this Saturday.

Speaking to Stage Whispers this afternoon, the 61 year-old actor revealed the song in question is ‘one of the major numbers, which has always traditionally been done as a choreographed dance number for all the courtesans in the brothel. [Sondheim had] originally written verses for them to sing. So Simon [Phillips] said, We’re going to reinstate that.’

Mitchell Butel, Shane Bourne, Gerry Connolly and Geoffrey Rush

After a forty-year acting career, it’s surprising to learn it is possible to astonish the Triple Crown actor (with Academy, Tony and Emmy awards to his name), and yet last Friday night’s preview was something of a revelation.

Magda Szubanski
‘As we discovered at our first preview, when you have 1800 people [in this theatre] they bark. They bite back at us with an energy that I don’t think I’ve ever experience at quite that level,’ Rush mused. ‘The show’s got some ingredient that’s above and beyond what’s on the page. It kind of ignites in the house and it gets a bit out of control. It felt like a rock n roll stadium the other night. People were clapping along in the first number. I’ve never experienced that.‘

Rush is top billing in a comedic cast that oozes hilarity, hijinks and mayhem. Speaking to Stage Whispers today, was another of the show’s drawcards, the inspirational Magda Szubanski (Domina). Wearing an extraordinary red wig, Szubanski said she was ‘loving playing such a haughty bitch’.

‘I haven’t managed to get through one show yet without laughing,’ she smiled. ‘This is a funny, funny bunch of people. It’s rare in the theatre that you really belly laugh, but this show has got really big laughs. That’s kind of an indication of the kind of night you’re in for. But really if you put this bunch of people together its either gonna fall apart and degenerate, or its going to work. And its going gang-busters.’ Continue reading

Watch preview and interviews

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Sondheim Gets a Ticket to Melbourne Season

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