They’re back in black! The critically acclaimed and Helpmann-award winning Ladies in Black will open in Brisbane from January 28 in a record-making return encore season.
With a dash of delicate comedy, Ladies in Black is a magical modern-day fairytale set in a stylish department store – F.G. Goodes – in a city on the cusp of becoming cosmopolitan: Sydney is crossing the threshold between the stuffy repression of the 1950s and the glorious liberation of the 1960s. Donning a distinguished black dress, the bright-eyed, bookish school leaver Lisa is about to join the ranks on the sales floor of the city’s most prestigious department store – temporarily, of course.
Her domineering dad intends to railroad her into a career as a secretary, but Lisa has grander schemes in mind. In that summer of innocence, a world of possibilities opens up as she befriends the unlucky Fay and the frustrated Patty. Then the exotic, compelling European refugee, Magda, mysterious mistress of the model gowns, takes Lisa under her wing.
From the Christmas rush to the chaos of the sales, these women stand shoulder to padded shoulder and together learn lessons in life, love and longing – and at the end, it’s not just the fancy frocks that are forever altered.
From the adaptation of Madeleine St John’s 1993 novel, The Women in Black, this blockbuster production has been brought to life by Australian screenwriter Carolyn Burns and internationally-acclaimed director Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Love Never Dies) with original music from legendary singer songwriter, Tim Finn OBE (Split Enz, Crowded House).
The world premiere of Ladies in Black, the stylish story of fashion, friendship and 1950s Australia took place in Brisbane in November 2015 with the frock-fest signalling a stunning and triumphant return of musical theatre for the Queensland Theatre. Ladies in Black won the coveted Helpmann Award for Best New Australian Work and was nominated for another five.
The show features over 20 original songs written by Tim Finn and a stunning range of some 30 custom-designed and created dresses and suits. The genesis of Ladies in Black actually happened at the Brisbane Airport – Tim Finn was famously looking for a book to read, bought The Women in Black and on reading it, was compelled to call Simon Phillips and plant the seed for a stage production. On the plane, he started writing the music. The rest is history.
A standout cast of some of the best Australian stars of stage and screen will bring this extraordinary production to life in 2017: Kate Cole, Carita Farrer Spencer, Bobby Fox, Natalie Gamsu, Madeleine Jones, Kathryn McIntyre, Trisha Noble, Ellen Simpson, Greg Stone, Tamlyn Henderson and Sarah Morrison.
Revisiting the role of Lisa, the young starry eyed school-leaver, is Queensland-born rising star, Sarah Morrison. Sarah studied Opera at the Queensland Conservatorium after high school, and then moved to Victoria to follow her love of musical theatre. This is a pivotal role for Sarah for which she has won acclaim and ovation.
The brilliant Bobby Fox, who wowed audiences playing Frankie Valli in the smash hit, Jersey Boys, also returns as Rudi (otherwise known as the ‘Continental’) along with the multi-talented and award-winning artist Carita Farrer Spencer who plays Mrs Miles, and fellow Queensland graduate and music and stage star Kathryn McIntyre who as Myra. Accomplished Melbourne-based actor Greg Stone (Once, The Weir, The Glitch) takes on the dual roles again as Mr Miles and Stefan, and Kate Cole again takes to the stage as the characters Miss Cartwright and Joy.
New to the cast for the 2017 Australian tour is the leading lady of stage and screen Natalie Gamsu (Strictly Ballroom, Mary Poppins, Dr Zhivago, Neighbours) who will play the character of Magda, as well as Sydney-based Madeleine Jones a Helpmann Award 2015 nominee for her starring role in Once. Madeleine will play Patty.
Taking the role of Fay is leading singer and stage performer, Ellen Simpson, who was most recently seen as Renee Geyer on television screens in the blockbuster tele series, Molly.
One of Australia’s most experienced and noted actors is the multi-award winning Trisha Noble (Shout, Blonde, All Saints, Rats, Dusty, Three Winters Green) playing the dual roles of Miss Jacobs and Mrs Crown. After a highly successful career spanning two decades in the UK and the USA, Trisha is now well and truly home and continues to demonstrate her versatility in a diverse range of roles onstage, television and film.
Rounding out the cast is WAAPA graduate and rising Australian star, Tamlyn Henderson (Les Miserables, Careless Love, Cedar Boys, Redfern Now, All Saints) who will play the character of Frank.