MEET THE SWEET CHARITY CAST – Phoebe Sloane (Nickie), Bree Cummins (Helene), Vanessa Parkinson (Helga)

Phoebe headshotTELL US ABOUT YOURSELF: My name is Phoebe Sloane, and I am 18 years old. Sweet Charity will be my 6th show with Holiday Actors, and I have been performing since I was 4 years old with dance concerts, school shows and in Primary Performers productions. I’m a sucker for all musicals, as I love to delve into each character and song, and learn lyrics by listening to songs over and over again until I can karaoke my way through them. Musicals bring people together.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER: My character; Nickie is a woman who has had to withstand the tests of time and is someone who offers the younger Fandango girls advice she wishes she once had. In a way I’m much the same in my own life, as I am someone who wants to help others grow and be their best.

TELL US ABOUT REHEARSALS: Sweet Charity rehearsals are moving along really nicely, we have learnt everything we need to know, and now is the time to perfect and polish before heading into the theatre. This is the time to really grasp the essence of our characters and give everything to our performances.

WHY DO YOU LOVE HOLIDAY ACTORS? Holiday Actors is a place where I can be myself and It’s where I’ve found some of my lifelong friends.

WHY SHOULD WE SEE SWEET CHARITY? Sweet Charity has everything from ‘Fosse’ choreography to intricate scene work and beautiful harmonies that the whole family can enjoy. Our show demonstrates companionship along with a sense of adventure with a little bit of faith, and we all cannot wait to perform Sweet Charity at the Lighthouse Theatre from the 11th-14th of January 2017 and show just what we’re capable of!

Bree headshotTELL US ABOUT YOURSELF: I’m 17 and I’m in to all types of art – especially performative! I have aspirations to become a professional actress, yet also to study in fields of nutritional science and naturopathy. Having just graduated year twelve at Mortlake College, I plan to pursue these ambitions through tertiary study. My love for the arts stems from my school’s annual musical which has seen me as a cast member for eight years, six of which I was main cast. The thing I enjoy least about any production is packing up my costumes after the last performance.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER: I play the role of Helene, a taxi dancer in the Fandango Ballroom and best friend to Charity, who contributes a whole lot of sass to the show as a result of her own disappointments with love. She remains quite the pessimist for the most part, lending herself fully to her role as a dance hostess however, at times, her character is instilled with a vague and fleeting sense of hope that she could overcome her ‘crummy’ occupation. Still, hardened by her own heartbreaks, Helene is vain and self-interested and likes to command attention in the ballroom. Often the deliverer of sarcasm and scandalous remarks, her attitude is counter-balanced with hostess Nickie, who possesses many maternal qualities. While Helene is often amused at Charity’s misfortunes with men, she always sympathises internally with her because of her own experiences.

TELL US ABOUT REHEARSALS: This year will mark my first ever show with the Holiday Actors Company, and first experience with the Musical ‘Sweet Charity.’ Getting involved is definitely proving to be a rewarding experience and the intensive rehearsals that occupy my weekends since September have been so enjoyable. Being introduced to new methods of rehearsal is always great as an aspiring actress and having the opportunity to work with so many talented, like-minded youths from the area makes rehearsals very satisfying. Not only are the cast fun, the production we are doing perfectly encapsulates the fun of the 60s decade with its quirky, isolated dance moves and comical dialogue.

WHY DO YOU LOVE HOLIDAY ACTORS? Holiday Actors has provided a great opportunity to experience more of the theatre environment I love and be involved with the creative processes productions encompass. I love being involved with this local theatre company because of the strong, familial bonds the cast form during production season and the carefree, inclusive atmosphere generated at our rehearsals. After my first rehearsal, I was left wondering why I hadn’t been involved in previous productions with the company because I found it so welcoming and edifying.

WHY SHOULD WE GO AND SEE SWEET CHARITY? Our own debut directors, experienced choreographer, cast and behind-the-scenes production team have given the local community the chance to support local talent, while being simultaneously entertained by the award-winning production! Show tickets to this event would make an excellent Christmas present for your friends and family.

WHY IS SWEET CHARITY GREAT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY? ‘Sweet Charity’ resembles the most fun and relatable story of misadventures I’ve ever encountered. Whether you’re a hopeless romantic like Charity, an admirer of witty humour and dialogue, or can simply just appreciate the value of an amazing musical score, this year’s Holiday Actors’ musical can be enjoyed by all audiences!

VP headshotTELL US ABOUT YOURSELF: Hi, my name is Vanessa Parkinson and I will be playing the character of ‘Helga’ in Holiday Actors production of Sweet Charity. Sweet Charity marks my sixth show with Holiday Actors, my first being Hairspray in 2013. Musical Theatre is my absolute passion (though my family would say it’s more of an obsession). I pride myself on my ridiculously extensive knowledge of all things Broadway!

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER: I’m so excited to be playing such a funny role! I am lucky in that my character Helga, was pretty much created for me. Typically, Helga is actually a male character named Herman, however in this production we are changing it up! Helga is the kooky, old, tyrant of the Fandango Ballroom with a hidden soft side. It has been really fun developing Helga, I kind of like to think of her as a weird hybrid of Miss Trunchbull, Mama Rose and Edna Turnblad.

TELL US ABOUT REHEARSALS: Rehearsals have been super fun, as per usual. Because I am one of the older cast members this year, it has been awesome getting to know all these beautiful fresh faces and becoming close with the new generation of Holiday Actors whilst working on a classic show together.

WHY DO YOU LOVE HOLIDAY ACTORS? I love Holiday Actors because it is really the only place in Warrnambool where kids can come and share their passion for performing with one another. It has been so instrumental in my development as a performer and I really am so grateful to be a part of such a supportive community.

WHY SHOULD WE SEE SWEET CHARITY? You must come and see Sweet Charity in January! It is such bright and energetic show with an awesome fresh cast! It’s a tale of finding yourself even if you don’t know what you’re looking for. It is a truly heartwarming show and a real classic!

WHY IS SWEET CHARITY GREAT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY? It’s a story about hope and teaches the lesson that even when things seem impossible, there is always something better out there for you. The older generations will recognise some of the music too! I caught my Mum singing ‘Rhythm of Life’ the other day even though she swears she despises musical theatre! It’s quirky and unique and just a really fun show!

Book by Neil Simon / Music by Cy Coleman / Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Based on an original screenplay by Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Flaiano / Produced for the Broadway stage by Fryer, Carr and Harris / Conceived, staged and choreographed by Bob Fosse

MEET THE CAST: Gabriel Tejano introducing Oscar from Sweet Charity

Gabriel headshotTELL US ABOUT YOURSELF: Hi everyone! I’m Gabriel and I play the supporting role of Sweet Charity, Oscar Lindquist. I’m 17 years old and enjoy playing guitar, which initially got me involved in musicals. After playing in two shows in the orchestra (LSOH and Big Fish), I decided to join Warrnambool College’s musical Legally Blonde and was cast as Emmett Forrest.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER: Oscar is quite an odd character, funny, but odd. We are first introduced to him in the “elevator scene”, where we quickly discover his vulnerability in “small, tight places that you cant get out of”. Out of this, Charity and Oscar begin a roller coaster of a relationship. Madly in love, we see Oscar change from a shy and anxious tax accountant into a protective, comforting and more confident man.

TELL US ABOUT REHEARSALS: Sweet Charity Rehearsals are something no doubt I and many others look forward to throughout the week. We start rehearsals with a few quick games which, sometimes (most of the time), end very hectically, with people grabbing and not letting go in order to win a game of Traffic Lights. It’s fun. We usually continue the day with dancing, acting and lastly singing.

WHY DO YOU LOVE HOLIDAY ACTORS? Joining Holiday Actors for the first time has been quite a thrill. The super-friendly cast has made it easy to settle into because you’re around people who share the same interests with you; hobbies, music.. musicals – and even if you don’t know many lyrics from musicals, you’ll finish the show knowing more lyrics than ever. *cough* Hamilton. *cough*

WHY SHOULD WE SEE SWEET CHARITY? Sweet Charity is a quirky, emotional and constantly funny musical about determination, hope and love. We follow Charity Hope Valentine and her adventures, or better yet, misadventures in the hopes of finding where she truly belongs and through this, discovers her own rendition of love.

WHY IS SWEET CHARITY GREAT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY? Sweet Charity is for the whole family because it’s packed with exciting dances, a hilarious story and characters and above all, it’s fun! Though it’s not as commonly known as the other big musicals, it definitely deserves to be! Come see for yourself!

Book by Neil Simon / Music by Cy Coleman / Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Based on an original screenplay by Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Flaiano / Produced for the Broadway stage by Fryer, Carr and Harris / Conceived, staged and choreographed by Bob Fosse

MEET THE CAST: Zara Lukeis introduces Charity Hope Valentine

Zara headshotTELL US ABOUT YOURSELF: My name is Zara Lukeis, I’m 15 years old and attend school at Emmanuel College here in Warrnambool. This year in the Holiday Actors production of Sweet Charity I will be playing the role of ‘Charity Hope Valentine’. This is only my third show with Holiday Actors and is my first time ever playing a lead role in a show! I love everything to do with performing arts, whether it be musical theatre or dance I always enjoy getting up on the stage and performing for people.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER: The show is a story about my character, ‘Charity Hope Valentine’, the girl who just wants to be loved. Whilst Charity faces plenty of ups and downs throughout her life she always manages to stay optimistic, although many of the situations she finds herself in often get the better of her.

TELL US ABOUT REHEARSALS: Rehearsals, as always, have been really fun this year but also a lot of hard work. It has been a really great experience so far to be able to develop my character and to work with the incredible cast and team of people that I am surrounded by.

WHY DO YOU LOVE HOLIDAY ACTORS? I love Holiday Actors because it brings together an amazing group of people who share a love of performing and musical theatre. I have made so many friendships throughout my 3 years so far with Holiday Actors that I know will last a lifetime. I hope to make so many more wonderful friendships and memories in years to come.

WHY SHOULD WE GO AND SEE SWEET CHARITY? Everyone has to come see Sweet Charity at The Lighthouse Theatre in January! It’s such a bright, fun and entertaining show with a lot of new faces in the cast that you may have not seen perform with Holiday Actors before! Sweet Charity is a show for the whole family and I guarantee that everyone will love it!

Book by Neil Simon / Music by Cy Coleman / Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Based on an original screenplay by Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Flaiano / Produced for the Broadway stage by Fryer, Carr and Harris / Conceived, staged and choreographed by Bob Fosse

2016 Camp and Sitzprobe Highlights set the scene for ticket sales

With tickets on sale now, cast and crew members are eagerly working towards bump in and dress rehearsals, while spreading news of our musical in mid-January. Already word has circulated successfully enough to have a vast majority of our final show seats booked, which is very exciting news, and rewards the amazing hard work of our talented cast!

Zara and Phoebe

This season’s ‘Sweet Charity’ cast, at Holiday Actors, has been powering through rehearsals since late September. With quite a variance of age and impressive influx of ‘newbies’ in the production, cast and crew seem to be satisfying directorial objectives to a high standard. Completing a great deal of the choreography, blocking and songs before the beloved cast camp in early December, the guidance and vision of debut directors, and experienced ones alike, have led this year’s cast to a healthy condition before Christmas break.
Maddie, Lauren, Eden and Angela

However, this silly season has been an unconventional one of sorts due to our relocation of camp. After learning of some bad news, it was with heavy hearts the director’s would reveal camp would be conducted at Warrnambool College Auditorium instead of Brucknell Scout Camp. Despite being confronted by this disappointment, our cast and crew were able to have just as much fun, and do just as much work, over the camp weekend.

If we were to break tradition with location, we would be consistent with our new, colour co-ordinated groups – as opposed to the traditional Harry Potter themed dress up. Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, and Black teams were to become our refreshing innovation of the 2016/17 camp. Open to interpretation, these groups morphed in to ideas associated with their colour. Red became Red Things (from Dr Seuss), the ‘Jean pool’ for Blue group, ‘The Midnight Crusaders’ for Black group, Green team became ‘Team Mint’, and Yellow *****. Organised by our zestful Junior Committee (JC), day one activities saw us collect for warm ups and point-oriented games, before splitting into our groups for more. Regardless of the ability to gain points for wins, the group reward-system was also devised for production team members to award points to teams whom participated in helpful chores. This remained a factor of Red Team’s victory at the end of camp!

Amongst these camp festivities also lay time to do some dedicated practise and revision. The main focus of these rehearsals was the exuberant ‘Rhythm of Life’ dance, choreographed by our talented dance director – Emily Trigg. It would take both days to secure the foundation of, what is generally conceived to be, the biggest chorus number of the show. In addition to this, rehearsal time would be devoted to scene blocking and vocal direction for harmony revision. A lot of cast members were doing well to step up and have their scripts down by camp, as well as be able to confidently perform choreography and scenes. Time was also made to practise for our carolling sessions rolling up to Christmas.

Another feature of our Holiday Actors’ camp would be Red Faces Acts – a camp highlight for experienced cast members. This year, each group would perform their own act to the judges, as well as being encouraged to take the stage individually to win points for their team. Hosted by JC members Angela Kenna (President) and Maddie Solly, some very creative acts were devised, including a Dr Seuss inspired remake of ‘Mean Girls’’ Jingle Bell Rock, a group cover of Shrek’s ‘Allstar’ – which was a crowd favourite – and a performative, confessional-type drama delivered by the Midnight Crusaders. Solo acts consisted of sassy dance routines to beautiful ballads, with acoustic accompaniments, sung by the likes of Annabel Ziegeler, Aiden Morley and our overall winner of the Red Faces competition – Lyndon Hurley! These were followed by a creative ‘Directors’ edition of Billy Joel’s Piano Man that sealed the end of the first camp day.

We owe much of our gratitude, and energy on camp, to the lovely production/committee members and volunteering family members of cast, whom helped set us up with a great deal of food for breakfast, lunches and dinner!

Moving on from camp, the cast arrived at Sitzprobe weekend recently and managed to integrate quite successfully with the band, led by our gifted musical director, Nikki Nuske. Aspects of the show were really starting to fall in to place once we were able to combine the orchestra and on-stage action and continued to improve throughout the weekend. Small alterations and additions to choreography would be made, as well as more work on our harmonies and focus on stage. After a mid-weekend slump, Sunday afternoon was to be a massive highlight, performing two of our biggest chorus numbers, ‘Rhythm of Life’ and ‘Brass Band,’ to friends and family of the cast. The energy and success of this showcase was cause for a sense of accomplishment, and to be repeated at our final rehearsal before break. A massive thankyou to all of the visitors who were able to come along! The game of the cast is certainly enhanced when placed in front of an audience, which makes for an even more productive rehearsal.

Zara, Caleb and Tobin

Our Sweet Charity show will be suitable for the whole family and we hope that you can all come and see this incredible musical.

Spreading the joys of the season

In addition to working super hard at rehearsals, Sweet Charity cast members have also been kept busy carolling throughout December to promote the show and raise funds for the Junior Committee (JC). We’ve had groups perform at Gateway Plaza, Bunnings and Port Fairy singing for the general community, while our carolling at the hospital to accompany Santa on his visit was a particularly special performance to spread Christmas cheer to all those who are ill over the holidays.

image1We also had the opportunity in November to sing at the Botanical Gardens family day, performing a few songs from the show as well as holding a very successful cake stall where we sold delicious goodies made by the cast.
image2On behalf of the JC, we’d like to thank all the cast members who have been making such a great effort to get to carolling sessions. This year’s turnout has been brilliant, and so all our carols have been sounding extra lovely!!!
image3Be sure to get along to our final carolling sessions for the year on Friday 23rd December at Gateway plaza from 10-10:45 and 12-12:45. We’d love to see you there!

Wishing everyone in the HA family a very merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year,
Gabby Good and Phoebe Sloane
Carolling Captains