Neglected Musicals has announced the cast for one of Australia’s most loved musicals, They’re Playing Our Song, which plays the Hayes Theatre Co from 14 – 18 February 2024.
With a book by Neil Simon, lyrics by Carol Bayer Sager and music by Marvin Hamlisch, They’re Playing Our Song is based on the real-life relationship of Hamlisch and Sager, a wisecracking composer finds a new, offbeat lyricist – love, romance and mayhem insures.
In the role of Sonia the kooky lyricist is the incomparable Zoe Gertz.Known for her multiple award-nominated performance as Captain Beverley Bass in Come From Away, Zoe was last seen at Hayes in She Loves Me and Neglected Musicals’ Big River.
Justin Smith returns to Neglected Musicals as Vernon, the funny but awkward composer making his way through the pop music scene in the mid-seventies. Justin can currently be seen in the TV series The Artful Dodger and was recently Gough Whitlam in The Dismissal at The Seymour Center.
Joining them as the voices of Sonia and Vernon are Jordan Angelides (Catch Me If You Can); Octavia Barron Martin (The Dismissal), Kat Hoyos (Here Come The Habibs, Hairspray), Matthew Manahan (Cabaret, La Cage Aux Folles), Chloe Marshall (Brigadoon, Hairspray) and and Quinton Rofail Rich (IF/THEN).
Featuring the musical numbers Workin’ It Out, When You’re in My Arms, and They’re Playing Our Song the musical will be directed by Lisa Callingham.
“Lisa Callingham has been in the industry for over 40 years. Spanning the gamut of the musical theatre cannon as performer, choreographer, performing arts mentor and director,” said producer Michelle Guthrie.
“What’s not to love about a sweet, heart-warming musical comedy, put together by the creative team of Neil Simon, Marvin Hamlisch and Carol Bayer Sager,” said director Lisa Callingham.
“The script is incredibly witty and full of classic Neil Simon humour, one liners and show business “in-jokes” and along with the wonderful music, truly transports me personally back to the 70’s where the world was full of optimism and anything seemed possible.”
They’re Playing Our Song opened on Broadway in February 1979, where it ran for 1,082 performances. The cast starred Robert Klein and Lucie Arnaz. Notable cast replacements included Stockard Channing and Victor Garber. On the West End the musical starred Tom Conti and Gemma Craven running for over 2 years.
The original Australian production opened in August 1980 at the Theatre Royal starring John Waters and Jackie Weaver. Seth Rudetsky and Sutton Foster starred in a one night only benefit in 2010 and LA’s Reprise Theatre Company production starred Jason Alexander and Stephanie J Block.
Other Australian productions have included the 2003 The Production Company staging with Sharon Millerchip and Ian Stenlake and The Ensemble in 2015 with Georgie Parker and Simon Burke.
“For me, there’s such romanticism about the music and ultimately, it’s a simple love story… of 2 complex people. I can’t wait for the brilliant cast we’ve assembled to bring this show to life and introduce They’re Playing Our Song to our Neglected Musicals audience,” added Lisa Callingham.
Neglected Musicals is a theatre initiative dedicated to presenting musical theatre that has never (or rarely) been seen in Australia. The musicals are presented with scripts in hand, and with piano accompaniment after only a day’s rehearsal. There have been 25 Neglected Musicals presented since 2010.
They’re Playing Our Song
Hayes Theatre Co, 19 Greenknowe Avenue, Elizabeth Bay (Sydney)
Season: 14 – 18 February 2024
Information and Bookings: www.hayestheatre.com.au
Image: They’re Playing Our Song (supplied)