Top director pulls out of local musical

DISTINGUISHED Sydney director Rodney Fisher has withdrawn from the “Broadway-style” musical, “Winging My Way to the Top” after only weeks in the job.

L. Karen Strahan and R.  Jill Walsh with Rodney Fisher, centre.

Before the director left…  from left, Karen Strahan, Rodney Fisher and  Jill Walsh.

“Work on reshaping and strengthening the script had been progressing well but, in the end, sheer lack of time meant that an amicable parting of the ways became inevitable,” Fisher told “CityNews”.

One of Australia’s best-known professional directors, Fisher’s departure follows that of the initial director, Stephen Pike, who stood down for health reasons. Fisher had begun rewriting some of the lyrics and had told “CityNews” ahead of his resignation that the show had dramaturgical problems.

The show, written by Karen Strahan and Jill Walsh, is due to open for a fortnight season at The Q, Queanbeyan, on May 8.

Fisher’s departure is another setback for the show, which as previously reported in “CityNews”, achieved only $4311 of its $30,000 crowd-funding target and has so far seen one principal cast member and the original director withdraw. ArtsACT has committed $34,452 to the show, which has a budget of more than $120,000.

As Fisher told “CityNews” last night: “Unfortunately, with performance dates already announced, Karen and Jill have decided that a postponement would prove expensive (however advisable it may be). They plan instead to proceed with the show in its original state.”

Fisher had previously told “CityNews” that while “writing songs for other people to sing” had been the forte of “the girls”, members of the cabaret group The Marvellous Mizdemeanours, their experience of theatre writing and production was negligible and that there were dramaturgical problems in the story of the three Diamond sisters making their way into showbiz that raised questions such as: “Who does this and why?”

He said he had recommended the introduction of a chorus and the excision of at least one main character.

While he was very busy writing a film script, he had agreed to direct the show because he was moved by the enthusiasm of Strahan and Walsh and wanted to help them achieve their dream. He said he now wished them “all good fortune in their endeavours”.

“Winging My Way to the Top”, at The Q, Queanbeyan, May 8-17. Bookings to 6285 6290.    



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