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    Harriet Overman and Chloe Findlay rehearsing for Horsham Arts Council Broadway Showcase.

PHOTOS: Horsham Arts Council's Broadway cast counts down for stage return

By Michael Scalzo

A musical theatre variety show will mark the post-COVID return of one of the Wimmera’s most notable performing-arts production groups. 

Horsham Arts Council, HAC, will launch its Broadway Showcase stage show next week, its first live production since 2019. 

Showcase producer Simon Dandy said the council’s musical theatre return after a COVID-19 hiatus once again allowed performers in the Wimmera a chance enjoy their ‘outlet’. 

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He said there was joy on everyone’s face when the full cast got together at Horsham Town Hall for the last weeks of rehearsal. 

“Whatever you are passionate about, whether it is sport or the performing arts, it is so hard when you can’t do it for such a long time,” he said.

“I love seeing how much it means to people, not only for the love of the craft, but for people’s social and mental health, this is an outlet for people to get away from things, get together with new and old friends, and create something really great.”

The council’s Broadway Showcase will include performances from 24 different new and classic musicals. 

The nearly 30-strong cast will perform hits from musicals including Les Miserables, Hamilton and The Carole King Musical, with six performances scheduled between Wednesday next week and Sunday.

Mr Dandy said cast members’ energy as the performances neared was exciting. 

“When we put this show together COVID-19 was still playing a big role, and we have encountered more hurdles than we usually would to put the show on,” he said. 

“But things have come together so well, especially over the few weeks when the entire cast has come together as a large group for full-scale rehearsals. Until recently we were rehearsing in smaller teams.

“That coming together was such a boost for everyone. We could appreciate all the work the cast had been doing to put this show on.”

Mr Dandy said HAC’s newest member Kayla Wilson had added a ‘breath of fresh air’ from the moment she walked in, while Brittany Bates, who has performed with the council before, had emerged from the pandemic with ‘confidence’.

“From the moment Kayla walked in  she has felt like part of the furniture. She lights up a room and can back it up with talent,” he said. 

“And Brittany, such a great singer who has been involved with ensembles before, has developed even more and we’ve sat back and watched her progress even further. 

“I am really proud of her. What she is doing has taken a lot of guts and it is great to see.”

Mr Dandy said for a regional town, Horsham ‘batted above its average’ with performance talent. 

“People who come along will see people from their community doing amazing things and using talents they perhaps didn’t know they had,” he said. 

“And the beauty about this variety show is with a lot of different musical numbers and styles, modern stuff and classics, whether the audience has previously appreciated or knows musical theatre or not, they will love the colour, the variety and the energy.”

Mr Dandy said the council was already close to locking-in the group’s follow-up show once licensing was approved. 

“The show is something that has been in our minds for a bit and while it is full steam ahead with the Broadway Showcase, it will be finished in a few weeks and, like you always do, you have to move onto the next one,” he said. 

“The new show will be a modern one, a musical adapted from a movie.”

Horsham Arts Council’s Broadway Showcase starts on Wednesday, May 18 at Horsham Town Hall, with matinee and evening shows on Saturday and Sunday to finish the run of shows. 

Tickets are available online at www.horsham

The entire May 11, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!