Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sondheim: Kookaburra's Company No Laughing Matter

Sondheim: Kookaburra's Company No Laughing Matter

Memo to production companies around the world: Don't mess with a Stephen Sondheim show.

According to Variety, Australia's fledgling Kookaburra -- The National Musical Theatre Company in Sydney -- landed in hot water with the esteemed composer and the general public when it was revealed that it had jettisoned 20 minutes worth of material during a Wednesday performance of its current revival of Company.

Apparently, there was no understudy ready to take the place of Christie Whelan in the role of April when she fell ill. So rather than cancel the performance, Kookaburra excised two songs and dialogue without even notifying the audience.

The Thursday performance was canceled after a big brouhaha (and early denials that anything was amiss), and then a replacement was brought in: Chloe Dallimore. But Friday's performance was also canceled when Pippa Grandison called in sick. Not only did Kookaburra have a bit of bird do on its face, but it could very well have had its license to perform Company taken away due to its egregious lapse in judgment over its initial decision to cut numbers from the show.

Fortunately, audience members who saw the shortened Company are being treated to free tickets for another performance. For amends, a very apologetic Kookaburra is also sponsoring a special benefit performance of the show on July 31 in support of Oz Showbiz Cares and Actors Benevolent Fund.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.

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