By Taylor Kendal
In the world of performing arts, no matter what your avenue; actor, director, musician, crew, very little can mimic the feeling of pride at seeing the next generation of up and coming artists. It is a joy to see how their hard work and time have paid off; how their repertoires have grown and how they have put their lessons taught to work and showcase how far they have come. It is this very idea that is behind August’s Morning Melodies at Art Centre Melbourne; the Victorian College of the Arts Music Theatre Showcase. Crafted and created exclusively for Morning Melodies, this performance highlights some of the future stars of tomorrow performing an incredible array of classic songs of the musical theatre genre that we know and love so well.
The Victorian College of the arts (VCA) is located in Melbourne, and is part of the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Music. They strive to provide the best environment and education for the next generation of artists, particularly in the beloved world of musical theatre.
Created and hosted by VCA head of Music theatre, Tyran Parke with musical director Rainer Pollard on piano accompaniment, this showcase brings together 35 bright shining talents in a spectacular one hour performance to both entertain and show a glimpse of the future ahead.
With performances of stunning solo numbers, electrifying duets and group numbers, performing classic numbers from beloved musicals such as West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Gypsy and South Pacific, just to name a few, the students of VCA don’t hold back in showing the audience what they’ve got.
The performance started on a high note with the entire ensemble on stage, dressed to the nines in such bright, beautiful attire, with a lovely arrangement of Something’s Comin’ from West Side Story. The transition from a slower pace to the familiar tones of frantic dreaming that is at the heart of the song is highlighted with some incredible, professional-sounding harmonies, and the clear agreement that these kids love what they’re doing, and are born to be on the stage. Every performance is treated like their bright shining moment, and the students never lack in their talent. An array of soulful harmonies, beautifully held tone and control of the notes, and a professional level dedication to the song itself and the sacred space in which they were performing. Be it a solo performance or with another, the chemistry was high as these students inhabited the characters that they were portraying, even for a few moments.
While every song was engaging and held such incredible merit, a highlight for me would have to be the final number; a simply breathtaking rendition of the classic (and my favourite song) Over the Rainbow. Soloist Hettie Zygierperformed such a raw, emotional take on the song, with a dreamy, rather Garland-esque style to her voice. Soon joined on stage by the rest of the cast, the audience was sent off with hauntingly beautiful harmonies and a blend of such different and unique voices coming together so perfectly.
There was a rather clear theme throughout the performance, whether it was intentional or simply my mind working in overdrive, but one thing that was at the forefront for the entire hour was the notion of dreams. Both the opening and closing number laments the idea of something just that little way out of reach. But it’s in my opinion that every single one of these students is on the right track to finding it, and soon. Keep a look out, Australia. The future is on it’s way.
Cast: Sheridan Adams, Lachlan Bartlett, Alanna Baschera, Lily Baulderstone, Christopher Burgess, Emily Casey, Monique Clancy, James Colbourne-Keogh, Chloe Crick, Tiegan Denina, Jack Duff, Darcey Eagle, Sophine Guindolin, Ben Hallam, Scout Hook, Jackson Howe, Phillip Humphrey, Noah Janssen, Tom Kantor, Asha Khamis, Brandon Koolloos, Savannah Lind, Noah Missell, Daniel Nixon, Karis Oka, Grace Phillips, Caity Plummer, Sam Richardson, Brandon Stoddart, Jasmine Vaughns, Obed Wallis, Caire Warrilow, Giovanni Young, Erica Wild, Hettie Zygier.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.