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DISTINGUISHED Sydney director Rodney Fisher has withdrawn from the “Broadway-style” musical, “Winging My Way to the Top” after only weeks in the job.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



5 Responses to “Top director pulls out of local musical”

  1. M Hewson
    March 31, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    I would like to say that not only is this article factually incorrect but poor journalism to boot. A simple check of their website would show that they have plenty of funding from private sponsors and are on track to release the show. so you don’t have to even use google.

    Yes it is unfortunate they lost their director but as they say the show must go on and despite your ill informed piece they are 100% FULLY FUNDED and will go ahead.

    • Ian Meikle
      March 31, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

      Mr Matthew Hewson has not disclosed that he is an employee of one of the financiers of the show. And despite his urgings, the website does not disclose “plenty of funding” beyond a list of sponsors’ logos, including his own travel company. And it still lists Stephen Pike as the show’s director.

      • M Hewson
        March 31, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

        Hmm one would think that if a website is listing sponors it would be wise to check the state of funding before writing an article. Of course there isn’t going to be detailed funding break downs on a marketing website but one would assume that a competent journalist would investigate it further. It listed sponsors and even though it says there are sponsors this article says nothing about them implying that it isn’t funded. This is a fully funded show and a short phone call would have confirmed it.

        As for Stephen being listed the girls have their posters at the graphic designer as we speak getting it changed. Things don’t happen instantly considering Stephen left last Friday. How many graphic designers do you know that work on weekends?

        Yes I am employed by one of the sponsors and yes I am in a position to know exactly what is going on with this show, clearly this reporter isn’t because they didn’t check the facts. That’s what this comes down to, fact checking. But instead City News would rather run with a sensationalist headline and not a factual one.

        • M Hewson
          March 31, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

          My apologies in regards to Stephen. I did get directors mixed up. Stephen is only listed on the original poster on the front page. The director entry in production team is currently empty.

          The posters and advertising material are all being changed to remove Fisher and be updated with their new director.

      • M Hewson
        March 31, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

        I would also like to make it clear I am not speaking for anyone other than myself. I am simply pointing out this article is incorrect and If required I can prove that.

        I would hope that at the very least City News contacted both Jill and Karen to publish their side of the story and perhaps take a little more time investigating in the future.

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