NSTE to stage a world premiere

October 2, 2017 by Geoff Sirmai
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A new show inspired by a true story of a singing teacher whose life is transformed by an unusual pupil will have its world premiere at Sydney’s North Shore Temple Emanuel next month.

Joanna Weinberg

The brand new, one-act musical play is the latest show from the pen of award-winning writer and Joanna Weinberg (Goddess, Pandora’s Bag, The Piano Diaries, Baroness Bianka’s Bloodsongs, Lifeforce, Every Single Saturday).

It is the story of a disillusioned singing teacher whose life is turned around by an unusual pupil. The singing teacher is played by powerhouse Sydney singer and teacher Margi de Ferranti, the pupil by actress and singer Kate Mannix, with musical accompaniment and arrangements by Steven Kreamer.

The background to The Secret Singer is as intriguing as the show it has inspired.

Weinberg takes up the story:

“I run a community choir in Millers Point in Sydney. One of my stalwart choristers, a woman who had great difficulty walking and also singing, asked me for lessons. Over the course of a year, I taught her every week while – as is the nature of private singing lessons – she told me her life story. The obstacles she faced growing up made Everest look like an anthill! I was so inspired by her determination that I wanted to honour her in a piece of writing. After much soul-searching, writing and re-writing, this has become The Secret Singer – a musical play about a singing teacher whose life is turned around by an unusual pupil.”

Kate Mannix
Photo: Alan Roy

Beyond bringing professional theatre into the community – as is one of the themes of the play – Joanna also wants to meet and talk with the audience and will run a Q&A after the performance.

For Margi de Ferranti, this is also more than performing a role… it is also her life! She has coached Virginia Gay, Rebecca Gibney, Jessica Rowe, Rachel Beck, Kate Ritchie and Michael Cormick amongst many more Australian musical theatre luminaries; she will run a short masterclass in singing after the performance for anyone in the audience who is interested to participate!

Margi’s credits include Les Miserables, Aspects of Love, The Buddy Holly Story, Grease! (as Rizzo), Sunday in the Park with George (as Dot), Fame the Musical (as Miss Bell, Mo award nomination) and Mamma Mia (national tour as Donna).

Kate Mannix has starred in The Taming of the Shrew, Having a Ball, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Kismet. A highlight was playing silent screen legend, Lillian Gish, in the original West End production of The Biograph Girl (1980-81) at the Phoenix Theatre, London – with Miss Gish present on opening night! She also featured as a Jewish mama in the recently seasons of It Shoulda Been You at the Independent Theatre and Riverside Parramatta.

Steven Kreamer is a graduate of composition at the Conservatorium and has been teaching piano, singing and musicianship for four years. He has musically directed many musical theatre and cabaret productions and is currently appearing in Assassins at the Hayes Theatre.

The Secret Singer plays at VJ’s in the Temple in Chatswood on 26 November at 3pm with other public performances at Mosman Art Gallery (5 Nov) and Abraham Mott Hall, Millers Point (28 Oct).

The Secret Singer by Joanna Weinberg (World Premiere)

Starring Margi de Ferranti and Kate Mannix

Musical direction by Steven Kreamer

Sunday 26 November 3pm at North Shore Temple Emanuel

Tickets online at www.nste.org.au/secret-singer

Mosman & Millers Point tickets via www.stickytickets.com.au

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