Broadway Reviewed - Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Broadway Reviewed

The Synopsis

New York City and the bright lights spill out above 500 theatres and movie houses stretching from 41st to 62nd Street in an area that many refer to as the entertainment capital of the world: - BROADWAY. On Broadway, no decade began as splendiferously as did the 1950’s. On November 24th one of the greatest triumphs of musical theatre made it’s debut. Based on stories, characters and a language invented by the Broadway chronicler, Damon Runyon, ”Guys and Dolls” became a legend after one performance. March 1951 saw the opening of Rogers and Hammerstein’s latest musical “Anna and the King of Siam (renamed “The Kong and I”). Tragically, this was Gertrude Lawrence’s farewell to the theatre. A year and a half later the show opened she died of cancer. Her co-star, Yul Brynner, went on to play no fewer that 4000 performances as the King of Siam. The critics did not review the opening of “Kismet”. Why? Because in 1953 there was a newspaper strike that lasted for weeks. By the time they could get their critical claws on it (Operettas were fast losing critical favour) it gathered such popular momentum that nothing short of an armed attack could have stopped it. It not only became a resounding hit but, to collective critical despair, won the Tony Award for the best musical\al of the year. The pulsating energy created by Bernstein, Sondheim and Laurents bursts onto stage in 1957 in the form of “West Side Story”. The film version of this modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet went on to win an Oscar, giving the show the universal recognition it deserved. Despite the great rebellion of the 60’s where The Beatles, Bob Dylan, flower children and dropouts were creating and screaming to music that was growing further and further away from Broadway, the theatre was still able to produce hits such as “Hello Dolly”, “Do I Hear a Waltz” and “On a Clear Day” thus ensuring its future. Critics report that there were only three hits in 1965-6: - “Mame”, Man of La Mancha”. And “Sweet Charity”. Two of these shows joined the ‘golden dozen’ longest running musicals on Broadway. One of the most unusual musicals of the 60’s was “Cabaret”, based on the play “I am a Camera”. It ran over 1100 performances and became one of the greatest musical films ever made, winning an Academy Award for both Best Film and Best Director. Talk about theatre in the 70’s and shows such as “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Evita”, Chicago”’ “Annie”, and “A Chorus Lin” are sure to dominate the conversation. Not all the shows made it. Critical comments on Sondheims “Follies” ranged from “so brilliant as to be breathtaking at times” to “another torn marriage manual”. Whilst the show failed commercially it received the Drama Critic’s Award for the Best Musical of the season. “Pippin” suffered a similar fate playing for 5 years on Broadway and only 85 performances in London. Today, names such as Tim Rice, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sonheim dominate the skylines of New York. We have come to expect the standard of theatre shown in such musicals as “Cats”, “Chess”, “Les Miserables” and Phantom of the Opera”. We hope you will enjoy the feast of song and dance that has entertained millions over the past 40 years, as the Hills Musical Society presents “Broadway Reviewed”.

The Production Team

Directors – Peter Burgess & Marie Williams

Choreographers – Kate Klusman & Paul Wright

Musical Director – Pat Gleeson

Rehearsal Pianist – Rose Grozdanic

The Cast

Julie Aubert, Lisa Balaschow, Bill Barry, Carole Barry, Richard Barta, Anthony Brincat, Laraine Brown, Lynne Chester, Trevor Cooper, Samantha Cordwell, Michelle Croudace, Craig Curran, Sonja Curran, Trudi Dalton, Steve Donelan, Don Donaldson, Helen Fawcett, Robyn Goldman, Lorraine Grant, John Guthrie, Caryn Hansford, Bruce Holden, Janelle Ingles, Nola Jones, Janet Kay, Jeff Kerr, Angela Kennedy, Shelley Kennedy, Jeannette Kerr, Anne Kitto, Andrew Klusman, Robert Lashmore, James Llewelyn, Bronwyn McDonald, Jon McKay, Kerry Maude, Michelle Millgate, Rosemary Murphey, Jane Muscat, Alia Naughton, Ian Nicholas, Cilla Norris, Marion Palazzi, Michael Peploe, Patricia Rafter, Matthew Robinson, Jane Selleck, Graham Stevens, Neil Stewart, David Stringer, David Taylor, Betty Tougher, Anne Warren, Fred Waski, Brian Watkins, David Welzel, Lisa Wilkinson.

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers

The Synopsis

Set in Oregon in 1850, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is the story of Adam Pontipee who goes to town looking for a bride. He finds Milly working in a restaurant & convinces her to marry him. Milly’s ecstasy quickly sours when she learns that she is also to take care of Adam’s six unkempt, burly brothers. Deciding to make the marriage work, Milly sets a plan in motion to teach the brothers how to court girls & marry them off.

At the town social, the brothers & girls’ town suitors square off in a rousing challenge dance, which ends in a brawl & the brother’s banishment from town. When Adam realises that all the brothers are I love, but frustrated by the banishment, he tells them to follow the example in one of Milly’s books, and do “like the Romans did with the Sabine women’, just take the girls – and a preacher to marry them all. The boys kidnap the girls from the town & escape by causing an avalanche, which shuts off their pursuers. Because they forgot to kidnap the preacher, an angry Milly bars the men from the house until the spring thaw when the girls can be taken back to town. Adam refuses to take Milly’s orders & leaves for the trapping cabin. During the winter, the brothers & girls long for each other. By spring, the couples are together& in love. The arrival of Milly’s baby prompts Gideon to go up to the cabin to get Adam to come home. Adam refuses but questions his feelings for Milly. When Adam does return, Milly & the couples are singing the baby to sleep. Adam realises that he was wrong & decides to take the girls back to town. The girls overhear Adam’s plan & run to hide because they want to stay with their men. The townspeople appear & misinterpret what is happening as the brothers catch the girls in a situation that appears more sinister than it is. All ends well when the townsmen fulfil everyone’s wishes by forcing the couples to marry in a shotgun wedding.

The Production Team

Directors – Paul Wright & Michelle Millgate

Choreographer – Michael Griffiths

Musical Director – Kevin Cameron

Assistant Musical Director – Karen Jones

Rehearsal Pianist – Lyn McPherson

The Cast

Mark Daniels (Adam Pontipee), Jane Selleck (Milly), Mark Oastler (Benjamin), Neil Rochow (Caleb), Greg Hansford (Daniel), Graham Stevens (Ephraim), Neil Stewart (Frank), Michael Peploe (Gideon), Lisa Balaschow (Dorcas), Lynne Chester (Martha), Janina Hamerlok (Ruth), Caryn Hansford (Liza), Anne Warren (Sarah), Angela Kennedy (Alice), David Stringer (Carl), Bruce Stewart (Joel), Paul Newton (Jeb), Matthew Robinson (Matt), Anthony Brincat (Zeke), Andrew Klusman (Luke), Bill Barry (Mr Bixby), Michelle Croudace(Mrs Bixby), Belinda Lemon(Ellen Bixby), Brian Watkins(Preacher), Robyn Goldman(Mrs Perkins)