The two week season in Sydney (Seymour Centre) and one week season in Melbourne (Besen Centre) were resounding successes!
The reknowned opera singers Joanna Cole (Mary) and Paul McCleod (Father Woods) were fantastic leads whose beautiful voices, both individually and in tandem, moved the audience emotionally. Eugene Raggio played a believable and strong Fagan, and Tony Girdler was wonderful as the "bad guy" Father Horan. Rioghnach McCaughan (Sister Theresa) delighted the audience with her beautiful singing, and Donald McDonald and Faye Anderson made for an authentic Alexander and Flora MacKillop. Father James McCarthy and Father Bill Milsted were both promoted to Bishop and Pope respectively, with James revealing a hidden comic talent in his representation of the ailing Bishop Sheil.
The music sounded fantastic under the highly skilled baton of Tim Chung, and the Melbourne orchestra (arranged with the help of Xavier College music staff), brought out the drama and intimacy of the score beautifully.
Anthony McCarthy (Director) and Kieran Walton (Producer) and their assistants did a superb job of managing the logistics of a touring show, and behind the scenes the parents of the Kids' Chorus looked after the costumes, logistics and front-of-house, and there was a great family and community feeling all around!
The audience came from many parishes and Catholic communities, as well as from the general public, some of them travelling hundreds of kilometres to see the show!
Special thanks to Rob Clancy (Catholic Super) and the Catholic Education Office for supporting the production.
Mary MacKillop College
June 1st 2009
The girls' secondary college world premiere performance of the full musical at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre was a hit, with an audience of over 2,000 from all around Australia. Rachel Vidoni played the role of Mary, and her powerful rendition of Mary's ballads was deeply moving. The other lead roles displayed strong acting and singing skills and the supporting actors and chorus were extremely professional in how they managed the pressure of performing in a large venue to a large audience.
Without any prior fully-staged productions to work off at the time, the Director Timothy Davey came up with some great staging ideas, including a dramatic approach to the hanging of Fagan, and Robyn Carroll displayed a MacKillop-like calm and fortitude in managing around the cast and crew. The opening contemporary Aborginal dance number was mesmerizing, and the costumes and makeup were amazing - it felt like being transported 100 years back in time. Many of the crew (led by the teenager Patrick Bojanic) and orchestra (conducted by Karen Woolford) were also students, and for some involvement in the show counted towards their music industry studies.
Days in the Diocese
July 13th 2008
A concert version of the musical was performed at Central Hall (Australian Catholic University, Melbourne) to World Youth Day pilgrims and locals. The childrens' chorus consisting of Anton, Olivia, Finn and Lili were a hit, and Jacqui Moore's beautiful rendition of Mary's ballads received many compliments. Richard O'Shaughnessy once again proved his acting skills playing numerous supporting roles, and Michaela Philp kept the story together as the narrator.