A warm hello and I’m thrilled to inform you that myself and Frank Howson are joining forces for a special one-off show at Chapel off Chapel on November 16th.
Co-Writer, Frank is in the throes of prepping for Dream Lover at the State Theatre, which is set to thrill and excite audiences down in Melbourne after its huge success in Sydney. The Bobby Darin musical biopic, resplendent with a big band on stage should truly get the Melbourne burghers swooning. This is a piece that Frank co-wrote and we all hope ultimately finds a home in Vegas.
Frank and I have secured the great talents of Sarah MacLaine and guests to work with for our “2 GUYS” show. We will be featuring songs from Chopper, Elvis, Glam, GENESIS TO BROADWAY, and Good Morning Hong Kong. This will be a witty, bravura, straight-shooting musical, theatrical and anecdotal evening.
Also, prep is going well with the multi-talented, multi-racial youth experience with the world premiere of EMBRACE, the musical earmarked for October 6th.
This will be held st the Catherine Chisholm Catholic College. Do come and support.
After the great success of the “HEROES AND REFUGEES” show at Glen Eira Town Hall on August 23rd, featuring Kate Ceberano , Richard Piper and many other fabulous luminaries who devoted their time, on Monday September 5th, the event at William Cooper Justice Centre, and later in the week, we head to Sydney to spread the word.
Watch this space next year for huge developments with the SAMMY musical and the ELVIS show in 2018.
And so dear friends, we move in to the theatre today.
Here in chilly Melbourne the technicals begin today for BOWIE AND MERCURY RISING.
The process has been rewarding.
Thando and Jess have put in fabulous work.
Box office running hot.
Thx to Jack Strom for great final rehearsal pics.
Big week ahead.
Jason, at the helm with the lights, and should be amazing.
Thanks to all the team who have worked so lovingly and diligently.
Quite nervous about our screen/stills/projection and hong this can be resolved swiftly and wonderfully to work and blow people away..in the best way!
Congrats to Froome and Spieth on their skills on the weekend.
So much positive to see Int he world, and if course, the SHOW MUST GO ON…
RISING..the craziness of final week rehearsal..jess out great dancer just returned from nyc…busy getting 50m of chiffon,morph suits, kimono and other items ready..advance sales doing very well..just finished working with programmer to get all sequences and as preset onto my Yamaha Moxf8….as a novice on these matters doing my best to keep check on all this..INTO FINAL WEEK, OPENING ON JULY 26th at CHAPEL OFF CHAPEL
HEROES AND REFUGEES..AUGUST 23rd, at CAULFIELD TOWN HALL..things heaping up well, and tickets to go on sale shortly. Kate Ceberano, Fem Belling, Sarah MacLaine, Richard Piper, choirs, drummers, multi racial and multi faith groups abound. The aim here to promote the great work done by William Cooper and Nicholas Winton. Posters and programming for the evening finished and promises to be a wonderful event, with a great humanist theme and fundraising nature for a possible Indigenous Representation to the 100th anniversary of the final cavalry chase in Be’er Sheva in Israel.
GENESIS TO BROADWAY..the rumor mill runs hot, and there is a strong chance that both Frank Howson and myself will again be joining forces to present this much loved piece. After two rapturous seasons of standing ovation etc, we are in the final throes of sorting out a run at the Alex Theatre in Fitzroy st, St.Kilda. Fingers crossed. Seems Fem Belling, who’s as nominated for a Green Room award on the first time round is bouncing firmly in the frame and we are all ready to roll out this chestnut again.
EMBRACE..we are currently on a little break for the Winter holidays. Les Twentyman has his book launch next week, and this should be a wonderful event.the 70 odd youth in the Western Suburbs, over at the Catherine CHISOLM Catholic College. Thanks gain to ABC AUSTRALIA WIDE for a great insight into the work on their tv special. We are aiming at the world premiere of our new collaborative musical on October 6th.
CHOPPER..looking firmly and fondly down the barrel of unleashing what will be a highly entertaining, moving, powerful, funny and provocative musical in late 2018/2019. All details and info of the Trak we did some three years ago are on chopperthemusical.com this is a project which I’m sure will create waves for all kinds of reasons and I’m thrilled wit the music we have out, especially YOU WERE THE ONE.
SAMMY..after a wonderful experience of having permission from the edge Darby Sammy Davis Junior’s widow to mourn a full production of this piece in the U.K. Over 10 years ago, we are getting ready to relaunch here at Chapel off Chapel from March 13-25 next year. So much incredible music and stories, and featuring much material written for him by the Kate great ANTHONY NEWLEY. This is now a confirmed run.
LONDON..looking forward to getting back to work on numerous projects including REPUTATION, with Alick Glass in December this year.
SPANISH MASTERS..this much loved, virtuosic Andalusian inspiration album available now. This wa such a rich and inspirational and culturally enlightening period. My love of Spanish music, and art prevails. Albeniz , de Falla, Lorca, Rodrigo, Granada, Picasso, Dali, Goya, flamenco..all these influences play a major part in the album of Spanish Masters.
IMPROVISING WITHOUT FEAR. SERIES…with ACU. 12 part series. This ha s even long coming and addresses the “fear” so many musicians have. They will only play music as per the notes, and feel awkward about expressing their own music within. This is a confronting situation, that after so many years at an instrument, fear prevails, as they are not comfortable at all at their instrument. This series addresses core issues of right and wrong notes, choices, musical comfort, overcoming fear, self expression, plying by ear, voyages of self discovery, thrown in with a deal of theory, and practical work for the viewer. Beth Rankin and the team at ACU have done a wonderful job, and the editing and quality of picture and sound is wonderful. Currently sorting out a release for this.
UNCLE BOYDIE. BEER SHEVA. SOIRÉE AUGUST 10. Watch this space for more of this story, that has really taken wing and deserves to make a splash across the globe.
HANDRIX. We are thrilled with how this has been recorded and hanks to the trust in London and to the amazing work of Alan Shearer, this has sat on a back firmer but the idea of a dock that bridges the 250 years and 2 floors of the same house that separated the great Handel and the great JImi Hendrix, is indeed a compelling one.
NERO..looking to bring the very nasty Emperor out of mothballs and onto the stage again.a year has passed since US Independence Day it seems there is good momentum to head to London shortly to get the Dow back on its Roman feet.
LONDON BEAT..will re-emerge on J-Air on 87.8FM very soon after the relocation. For al ,the best in culture and arts in my two homes.
Welcome, to the week when new financial year begins, recriminations go on about the unacceptable events st Grenfell Tower block, when Wimbledon begins… We move boldly into the second half of a very challenging year.
Hoping you all in fine fettle. As Banksy remarked, “saying one thing and doing another, thats hippocrasy, saying many things, and doing nothing,thats democracy.”
In the meanwhile, we ratchet up the focus on the new musical, BOWIE AND MERCURY RISING. Ticket sales doing very well, and rehearsals begin in earnest.
This at the same time as the EMBRACE program moves forward a lick with les at the helm, and with 50 youth, from diverse cultures and backgrounds work together with me on the world premiere of a new musical.
Also, getting all our material together fir the big production of HEROES AND REFUGEES, with an all star cast for August 19 and 23.
Been a cultural time taking in Cunning Little Vixen, Circus Oz, Greek Goddess-starring Maria Mercedes and the new film of the rather disturbing LADY MACBETH.
Prevention, not punishment, needed as drugs and crime swamp our children in a growing crisis
LES TWENTYMAN, Herald Sun
IF I was to describe to you a city where schoolchildren as young as 11 are addicted to and dealing illicit drugs such as ice, LSD, ketamine and synthetic drugs, you are more likely to think of far off places such as Detroit, Caracas or Rio.
Yet this city, once considered one of the safest places to raise children, is far closer to home than you imagine.
Yes, I am speaking of Melbourne, a city we all love, but shockingly today is gripped by an epidemic of drugs and crime that has entered our schools and is now compromising their safety.
In the past three years, police have prosecuted more than 450 drug offences on school grounds, including primary schools, with children as young as 11 facing charges of using and dealing drugs.
Those prosecutions are only what we know of and those who work on the streets are aware of the growing drug crisis that is sweeping across the youth in our city. Ask any youth worker and they will tell you that things have never been as bad and as dangerous as they are today for our children.
How did it come to this? How did a city that was as once as safe as Melbourne deteriorate into a city where our children are getting high instead of being educated on school grounds? The answer is simple: the beautifully inclusive city that Melbourne once was has become a city of have and have-nots, where ghetto-style enclaves have developed with rates of youth unemployment at appalling levels.
That, mixed with poor standards of education, record school suspension rates and poverty has resulted in children who have grown up in such environments becoming disillusioned and feeling abandoned by society.
Such misery and a lack of positive role models has meant that many underprivileged kids are easily drawn into lives of crime and addiction, making them easy recruitment targets for criminal gangs, which offer them a sense of belonging as well as a sense of notoriety.
It is exactly that growth in youth disconnection that is fuelling the surge in crimes across our city. So knowing the cause, what are the solutions proposed by those whose job it is to keep our city safe?
The standard response is the call for more police, tougher prisons, longer jail time and mandatory sentencing while our soft judicial system is lamented.
Politicians then trumpet the same tired old policies that have failed not only here in Melbourne, but around the world. But the long-term solution doesn’t lie in punishment but in preventing the situations that lead to addiction and crime in the first place.
So while the announcement of new prisons and increased policing resources will initially please a frightened public, the tsunami of crime that is being driven by rising poverty will outpace any post-crime measures.
INSTEAD, we need to invest our resources in preventive programs. One key and often ignored program is the placing of youth workers in every school in the country, providing any kids feeling isolated, alone and disconnected with someone who talks their language, can connect and has the skills to help them overcome such issues, creating for many vulnerable kids their first positive role model.
Every child deserves strong role models in their lives, yet today we see too many kids grow up in communities where such positivity is missing, with the void filled by drugs, alcohol, violence and crime.
Having allowed such darkness to fester within our community, there’s little surprise that the issues faced on the streets have now come over the fence and into our schoolyards.
At the Les Twentyman Foundation, with our limited resourcing, we look to address such issues through our sports, arts and leadership programs, driven by local kids who, after turning lives around, are now inspiring others.
Through such programs kids, regardless of their background, culture or home life, learn about teamwork, self-discipline, mateship and the value of following something through to the end, helping to rebuild their sense of self-worth and self-respect.
We are blessed at present at the foundation to see a unique program in place; we have teamed with the award-winning Australian musical theatre director and composer, Warren Wills, who is working with us to run a new six-month community drama program, Embrace. A free inclusive musical theatre program open to secondary school students across the city, it is based on similar projects Warren has conducted in several outer-London boroughs and brings together students across cultural and societal divides, culminating in a world premiere performance on October 12 at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College’s theatre.
Those of us working at the coalface know that these and other similar positive programs work. We watch kids who go through them make better life choices.
So, surely now it’s time to put the politics aside, to admit our failure and to redirect funds to preventive and positive strategies that will return our much loved city to its former glory.
Arts have come to the fore with Glastonbury shining bright in a celebration of music. Working away on EMBRACE with a large group of young, talented and dynamic kids. Truly enjoying the process and their input.
Pleased to announce a wonderful double page spread in today’s HERALD-SUN re EMBRACE THIS is the socially inclusive youth music-theatre program.
We are all working towards October 6th for the unveiling of our new musical. The ABC put a great piece out on the weekend about the project.
Welcome to the weekly blog on the Cultural World being enjoyed in all its facets.
Full briefing on the myriad of activities on warrenwillsworld.com
A sincere heartfelt sending of support and sympathies through London’s unacceptable and terrible trials by fire , terrorism..and of course, to Manchester also.
MRC, MISF, Melbourne Recital Centre, Masterclass in music-theatre for Dr Jonathon Welch, and the School of Hard Knocks. Great project, and superb attendance. Congrats to all.
MIJF, Dizzys..Melbourne International Jazz Festival. Certainly a privilege being part of this wonderful event. Another fine turnout, and plenty of audience interaction.
BOWIE, JULY 26-30.. rehearsals move apace with glorious dancer Jess Mortlock, at the Space. Bringing new synth to the compositional table, and looking forward to commencing vocal work next week with Thando. Costumes being assembled, and morph suits arriving on eBay. Onward!
G2B, November … yes, whispers become stronger, and seems GENESIS TO BROADWAY
may well be returning in November this year. Rumours are rowdy and rife re the Alex..watch this space!
LONDON BEAT, 87.8FM, weekly cultural radio show, Sunday morning, 9am, in oz, on m-Air, for the latest on the Cultural scene.
HYMN ON 9th JULY at Hawthorn Town Hall, a one off, as part of the Illuminate festival in Glenferrie. This Winter, on Sunday, July 9, 3pm, I shall be performing to a silent film and stills of the 100+ year history of Hawthorn. Plus youth choir and vocals. Truly looking forward to this.
EMBRACE OCTOBER 12, with LTF, SHED comes to London. After years of,transformationalmsiccess in London, in the challenging boroughs of Haringey and Hackney, and by way of a short visit to Shepparton, SHED returns big time to the Western suburbs. Wr king under the Les Twentyman umbrella, and based over in Braybrook, myself and 70 youth are creating a new musical, in a first for Melbourne.
HEROES AND REFUGEES AUGUST 19 and 23. In a world overshadowed by villainy and the press playing to the gallery of sensati Maoism, comes a concert celebrating Heroci achievements, and about time. I’m Shepparton on August 19, and at Glen EiraTown Hall ,on August 23, choirs,,drummers, dancers and Mate Ceberano, Fem Belling, a Kelly Auty and many others will be appearing. Truly exciting times, and positive ,life-affirming concert.