New musical to be developed in Melbourne

by | Jan 30, 2024

New Harry Chapin musical, SHORT STORIES to be developed in Melbourne this February


Monstrous Theatre has today announced the first development workshop for SHORT STORIES, a new musical with book by illustrious British screenwriter, Mike Bullen, and music from the back-catalogue of the late, great, American singer-songwriter Harry Chapin. 

This will be the third new work Monstrous Theatre has workshopped in the past 12 months, following on from an adaptation of Helen Garner’s THE SPARE ROOM, and a new play JUMP by Theresa Borg. 

A who’s who of Musical Theatre stars have been assembled for the February development, including Robert Tripolino, Georgina Hopson, Johanna Allen, Justin Gray, Rachel McCann, John O’May, Greg Stone and Tod Strike. The workshop will be under the musical direction of Anthony Barnhill with Rainer Pollardas repetiteur. Mike Bullen will direct the workshop with Theresa Borg as dramaturg.  

This workshop is possible due to the generous support of The Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts and Monash University.   

Producer Anton Berezin said “We’re so excited to be developing this brand-new work, right here in Melbourne. I’ve been a huge fan of Mike Bullen’s work since I first watched “Cold Feet”, some twenty years ago, and I grew up with Harry Chapin’s timeless music. Chapin authored so many iconic songs, including the classics ‘Cat’s in the Cradle’ and ‘Taxi’ “. 

Mike Bullen said “I first came across the music of Harry Chapin as a young teenager and immediately became a die-hard fan. Harry, who was tragically killed in a car accident in 1981, wrote story songs and I’ve long felt that they would translate well to the stage. During Covid lockdowns in Sydney, I had the opportunity to test this notion. I wrote a script that linked some of the characters in Harry’s most theatrical songs in a story that explores his favourite themes of loneliness and love. Last year I had lunch in New York with Harry’s widow and son who gave their blessing to this project. It was thrilling to me to think that decades since meeting my hero at the end of one of his concerts, I was becoming acquainted with his family. After a career writing for television, I’ve found it refreshing to write for the stage, something I haven’t done since university. I’m delighted to have teamed up with Anton Berezin and Theresa Borg at Monstrous Theatre, whose experience is invaluable. They’ve assembled a first-rate company to workshop my script with Harry’s music. I am excited to see where this next step on the journey of Short Stories takes us.” 

“Although, the rehearsed presentation this February is by invitation only, we are confident that this brilliant show will be coming to a commercial stage very soon”, said Berezin. 


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