Arts & Entertainment

‘The Casting Couch’ with Nancye Hayes & Todd McKenney

Todd McKenney & Nancye Hayes. Photo: Christian Trinder

Todd McKenney joins Nancye Hayes in this two-hander in which he interviews her about her long and successful career in Australian show biz.

They will talk, sing and dance their way into the hearts of their audiences in this intimate show which presents some of the most memorable moments in the history of Australian live theatre.

This is Todd’s first major new production after lockdown. The Casting Couch is very casual, so it’s a great way of easing back,” he says.

Todd and Nancye have a history that dates back to 1989, when they were in the musical 42nd Street, and since then they have remained close friends.

I know Nancye’s story so it’s great I can get to interview her and share her fabulous dinner party stories, some of which are very moving but most of which are just hilarious.

Todd says Nancye is like his stage mother. She taught me my craft when I was starting out, and then watching her perform in Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks [with Todd] was a real masterclass for me. I owe Nancye so much.

Todd says he and Nancye “have had hits together and we’ve had flops together so it’s a comfortable relationship and we both have the same passion for being on the stage.”

No two shows at the Ensemble will be exactly the same because Nancye doesn’t know what Todd is going to ask her.

Todd is full of admiration and awe for Nancye.

“She is really the last of that JC Williamson’s era. She’s got such history and knowledge and has an encyclopaedic brain for theatre, so I just wanted to share that with a wider audience because Nancye is too humble to do that on her own.

A quarter of an hour before the end of the show, Todd and Nancye open it up to questions from the audience.

“That becomes the most exciting part of the show,” Todd says, “because that becomes a real conversation with the audience.

Todd wants Australian audiences to know more about the first lady of musical theatre and the ground-breaking work she did to afford Australian stars the opportunity to be the headline acts in their own productions.

Watching Nancye on stage in a non-scripted format is exciting, he comments.

Nancye sings, she dances, she acts brilliantly, she directs, and she’s an elegant lady with a wicked sense of humour.

Nov 21-28. Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougall St, Kirribilli. $69+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.ensemble.com.au

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