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Joe Starts Again OCR

New musicals in America arrive with a fully orchestrated score and a cast of dozens headlined by names such as John Lithgow. New musicals in Australia are lucky to get ten people together, with the composer playing along on a synthesizer. Such are the relative economics and maturity of the American and Australian musical development industries.

There have been exceptions - John English's Paris concept album (as I recall) was a pretty lavish affair... though, tellingly, the show has never had a major professional production. The Boy From Oz got off the ground in a big-budget way by virtue of Peter Allen's catalogue of mainstream hits and, on Broadway, by virtue of a certain Mr Hugh Jackman. But small-scale musicals dominate the Australian home-grown scene.

It's hard to get more intimate (read low-budget) than Joe Starts Again, based on a play by Mark Fletcher and adapted by two Australian Les Miz alumni, Dean Lotherington (music) and Martin Croft (lyrics and co-book, with Fletcher). Lotherington is the sole musician on the CD. Croft - who also produced the show - is the sole singer/actor. He gives a heart-felt, if at times vocally constricted, performance.

This musical one-hander is about a 49 year old banker who comes to terms with love and loss as he embarks on a trip through the world of dating agencies.

The music is lyrical and moving, though the lyrics are sometimes clunky. They're amusing though... and I never thought I'd hear the screech and whine of a modem negotiating a 56 kbps connection on a cast album!

And the show's small scale doesn't prevent it from featuring a flashy 11 o'clock number... though I imagine given the brevity of the CD it would be more like a 8.45 pm number: the character revealing "I shave my balls."

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 22, 2005 6:24 PM.

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