Melbourne Is Set To Become A Disco Wonderland
The Coopers Malthouse will be turned into a Boogie Wonderland next month as the award-winning hit Velvet finally arrives in Melbourne after sell-out seasons in Edinburgh, Adelaide and the Sydney Opera House. Led by Australian music icon Marcia Hines with Brendan Maclean, this new show channels the iconic Studio 54 as the audience is transported into a hedonistic world of dazzling acrobatics and disco divas telling the story of a young ingénue’s coming of age. I caught up with the legendary Marcia Hines to hear a bit more about this show that is about to take Melbourne by storm.
Marcia Hines is one of Australia’s most versatile stars. She has led some of Australia’s biggest musicals including Jerry’s Girls, Jesus Christ Superstar and made her debut in Hair at 16, released numerous top 10 albums, mentored some of Australia’s best new talent on Australian Idol, been voted the Queen of Pop for three years running and was recently inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. Did she ever believe she would accomplish this much?
‘To say yes, I’d be lying. You just go from one gig to the next gig.’ says Marcia Hines, ‘It’s funny, people say you’ve done this and achieved that but when you’re doing it you don’t have the time to take stock. You just move onto the next thing. But to live in the moment is the most important thing.’
And now she is returning to Australian stages with the new show Velvet. The idea came from her manager when they were in search of a new brand to take around Australia. But this is more than just a vehicle to show off Marcia’s incredible disco voice, it’s a true ensemble show featuring a mixture of acrobatic, burlesque and cabaret performers. ‘It’s a really physical show. The interesting thing about being in this show is that I hadn’t experienced physical theatre before. And that comradery, the way they take care of us all is pretty cool.’
‘There’s a guy in the show called Stephen Williams who pulls himself up on straps. It’s pretty incredible. I’ll be on stage with our two singers Rechelle and Chaska and it’s so great to watch that sometimes we’re singing and we forget the words because his performance is mesmerising.’
Starring alongside Marcia Hines is Brendan Maclean. Having spent time behind the microphone at Triple J, supporting some of our biggest Australian performers on national tours and dominating the acting industry with appearances in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, Brendan is returning to Australia to for this return season of Velvet. And how does she feel about her co-star?
‘He warms my heart. I just adore the boy and he is great to work with. We only met last year when they started the musical side of this project. They told me who he was and I googled him of course. I watched his videos and thought ‘What a cool guy’ and then we met at the house of our Musical Director, Joe Accaria, and our voices just blended so nicely!’
While getting the opportunity to work so closely with this talented cast has been a highlight of the show for Marcia Hines, it has also been an opportunity to champion the resurgence of disco music into popular culture. ‘It’s the weirdest thing. I was just coming back from New York and I was watching ‘The Martian’. That music scene cracked me up. I think [disco] has come back, and maybe it waned a bit, but I don’t think it’s ever left. It is such a popular choice for the scores of movies so even if you didn’t live it, then your parents have blasted it enough to drive you crazy.’
But what’s the appeal? ‘I think it’s the happiness of it. I couldn’t tell you a sad disco song. I can tell you a ‘boo-hoo’ one where someone has left somebody. But not a sad one. There aren’t any sad songs at all.
And it’s great music to do the housework to, by the way.’
The one thing which stands out when talking to Marcia Hines about Velvet is the love that she has for those performers working on the project with her and the extent to which she admires their talent. Her favourite moment each night? ‘Now it wouldn’t be me. It would be Brendan at the end of the show. He sings a BeeGee’s song in a very, very different way. It’s just a moment in time where he’s coming of age and going through it with stripes. I like that. I really do enjoy getting this opportunity to watch other performers perform.
Velvet opens at The Coopers Malthouse, Melbourne for a strictly limited season from March 23. For more information about this show and to book tickets, visit www.velvettheshow.com