Finally, after many years sitting dormant in the heart of the city the newly refurbished Theatre Royal has opened its doors and will bring the best in world class entertainment.
The multi-million-dollar refurbishment has transformed this iconic historical Australian theatre into a magnificent world class theatre where audiences will be able to watch major musicals, plays and live music in stylish surroundings.
Houri Tapiki, the newly appointed General Manager of Theatre Royal Sydney explained that she is privileged to be working in such an iconic venue. “My love has always been theatre and to be able to return to a venue which is so loved and then be able to lead an amazing team that we’ve built since February is a dream come true.”
The Theatre Royal closed in March 2016 and Tapiki explained that the reopening was made possible by past theatregoers who had memorable experiences at the venue over the years.
“Everyone has wonderful memories of this venue so when it closed it was absolutely devastating for so many people. There was a period of lobbying by the public and the government wanted to bring the venue back to life putting it out to tender. Ultimately, Trafalgar Entertainment were appointed the operators. This has been an amazing process to watch as an outsider as obviously I wasn’t a part of that.”
The multi-million refurbishment includes a new auditorium with new seating and staging designed to international standards. The redesign of the theatre has added an extra row of seats which has increased the capacity to 1200. The new floor to ceiling windows at the entrance of the theatre, ribbed ceilings, and the Mercator sculpture by American sculptor Charles O. Perry in the foyer are just a few of the features that have restored beauty and class to the theatre.
“I think it’s going to be really exciting and also emotional for a lot of people coming back to see how we’ve refurbished the venue, but also kept it true to what it originally was and obviously being heritage listed as well. It’s a beautiful space with an amazing line-up of Broadway Musicals including Jagged Little Pill, Girl From The North Country and An American In Paris to grace the stage.”
The Grammy and Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Jagged Little Pill is currently premiering at the iconic Theatre Royal in Sydney.
Inspired by Alanis Morissette’s album by the same name the show stars Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Tim Draxl headlining an incredible cast of 23 performers on stage.
The musical tells the story of the ‘perfectly imperfect’ Healy family and Tim Draxl who plays the head of the family is enjoying the experience.
“This musical covers a lot of territory, dealing with addiction, rape, racial integration and adoption. This is a jukebox musical about a fictional family that uses the music of Jagged Little Pill the album to tell the story. It’s quite ingenious in the way they have placed the songs and created this narrative where the songs slot so perfectly into.”
Best described as a rock musical rather than the usual fluffy romantic kind of musical that audiences may expect, it’s intense with moments of light and darkness.
“If anybody knows the music of Alanis Morissette, specifically Jagged Little Pill, the lyrics are quite serious covering intense subject matters. So, this show is an extension of that and delves quite deep in some of those concepts.”
Bassingthwaighte plays the role of Mary Jane Healy and Draxl is enjoying playing alongside her. “She’s a bundle of energy. She’s awesome! So bright and enthusiastic and fun!”
But will Aussie audiences relate to the story of this seemingly perfect suburban American family attempting to resolve their family issues? “Definitely! I think those social pressures are obviously universal. We all feel now more than ever I think with Instagram etc being constantly fed these perfect images of what life should be like. We’re all under pressure to be these perfect people who have these perfect lives and I think the Healys are just that.”
Draxl explained that anybody who grew up listening to Alanis Morissette should enjoy this musical. “Anybody who had that album Jagged Little Pill must come along and see the show and hear how it has been orchestrated and re-imagined. The show should also appeal to younger audiences as it speaks to them on many levels and covers a lot of issues that are incredibly relevant right now.”
And is it an honour being involved in the first stage production that has re-opened the iconic Theatre Royal?
“Definitely! I’d never performed at the Theatre Royal and this is where I saw my first musical, Phantom Of The Opera where my mother took me many years ago, so it’s exciting from that perspective for me to be performing there finally. But beyond that to be able to re-open a theatre that was tagged as being torn down and turned into more offices, as a theatre community, I think we’re all incredibly excited to be the first production to bring it back to life.”