‘What Makes a Musical a Musical?’ This (musical) cabaret has answers

Have you ever wondered what makes a musical, a musical?

On the surface, one might say it’s theatre + singing, but the genre has become so much more than the sum of its parts.

The team at Grey Lantern Productions have set out to explore this question with their latest work, What Makes a Musical a Musical… A (Musical) Cabaret.

Delving into the world of demanding divas, unnecessary subplots, creative demons and general campery, the show pokes light-hearted fun at the divisive form.

We caught up with star Matthew Manning to find out more about the locally made musical about musicals.

What do you think makes a musical a classic?

A Musical has always had that something extra for me, something that takes you out of your own reality and into the world of the story. If I were to pinpoint what makes a musical classic – it would have to be the way in which the story can be told through not only words but through the song and dance as well.

Whilst it may seem just a little bit ridiculous bursting into song without warning – there is something so genuine about a character sharing their journey with the assistance of the music.

Divas are integral to the world of musical theatre – who are some of your icons?

At the risk of sounding like every other Perth musical theatre boy, Hugh Jackman can’t go without a mention. His sheer passion and drive topped with his endless humility are characteristics I could only attempt to replicate.

In all honesty there is no one who I don’t admire in this industry, I think everyone brings their own unique style to the arts and it’s because of that we can have some imaginative and powerful performances.

It’s not just on the stage either, there’s plenty of eccentric writers/composers as well. Did any inspire you in particular?

The writing and composing aspects of theatre are something I have come to appreciate more and more over the last few years. In terms of particular inspirations, it wouldn’t be fair not to mention the incredible creative team for this very show.

It’s been an absolute privilege to see their creativity burst from our very first brainstorm to the full formed, insightful and absolutely hilarious piece we are so lucky to perform.

What kinds of musical tropes should musical fans expect to be skewered in WHAMAM?

If there’s a musical trope out there, we touch on it. Sometimes it’s merely satirical and sometimes it’s a very real look at the world of musical theatre.

To put it simply, this show is all about what makes a musical a musical? The good, the bad, the ugly and the absolutely hilarious.

How does it feel to be premiering a totally Western Australian work?

Premiering work is always a super exciting feeling. Being able to premiere this work is an absolute privilege, it’s really the first time I have been involved in a production from the very beginning.

Seeing it grow and develop has been inspiring to watch and being able to show off the work of these incredible creatives is something I’m very proud of.

Finally, tell us about the cast!

Where to start? This bunch of absolute crazies (cast and crew alike) are the most talented, focused and inspiring group of people I have ever worked with.

Being a young performer, I feel so honoured to be around so many people who I can look up to both as performers and all-round incredible people. You would be missing out on the chance of a lifetime to see these guys doing what they do best!

What Makes a Musical A Musical – The (Musical) Cabaret is coming to Subiaco Arts Centre from 2nd – 6th March. For more information, head to ptt.wa.gov.au

Leigh Andrew Hill

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