Puppets on Chopping Block as University Axes Practical Subjects.

The University of Melbourne's website says it all.

"Please note that the Puppetry program is not taking applications for study in 2010."

In the past Stage Whispers has done wonderful features about this course - but sadly this will be no more.

It is all part of changes to the Victorian College of the Arts instigated by the new Dean - Sharman Pretty.

Students and members of the Arts Community are marching Friday on the Victorian State Parliament to voice their outrage at their changes.

Adelaide Theatre Guide's 2008-2009 Curtain Call Awards

The Adelaide Theatre Guide's 2008-2009 Curtain Call Awards Night were celebrated in fine style at the Gala Dinner at the Adelaide Festival Centre Banquet Room on August 8.

Matt Byrne reports.

Emcee and comedian Claire Hooper kept the evening on track but still found time to shower the crowd with golden tales of life on the road.

Big winners in the Professional field were Flying Penguin Productions' True West and State Theatre Company's Metro Street.

Vale Ross Coleman

The entertainment industry is mourning the passing of renowned choreographer Ross Coleman, who has died, aged 60.

Coleman made his debut as a professional choreographer in the original Australian production of Grease in 1972.

He went on to become the preferred choreographer for major commercial musical theatre across the country.

His credits include The Rocky Horror Show, Jerry’s Girls, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Cabaret, Grease – The Arena Spectacular, Shout, Dusty, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Priscilla the Musical.

Wicked Win For John Frost, STC and Warnie

Wicked Winner.

Wicked got a boost on the eve of its Sydney opening by taking out six Helpmann Awards including Best Musical.

The industry awards were presented last night by Live Entertainment Australia at the Sydney Opera Australia.

A triumphant Producer John Frost told the Black tie event " this show is an absolute joy, Sydney you are in for a big treat then the rest of Australia."

The award was tinged with sadness.

Rob Guest won a Helpmann posthumously.

Starlight Express rolls into New Zealand

David Spicer reports on the fastest and ‘silliest’ show on earth. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1980’s spectacular, Starlight Express, is being staged on a grand scale during July in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch. Producer Stewart Macpherson is a brave man. In the midst of a recession he is rolling out the ‘biggest’ musical New Zealand has ever seen. It is too big for traditional theatres. This production is being staged in sporting and entertainment arenas.

Jersey Boys for Sydney

It has been announced that Jersey Boys - The story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons - will play its final Melbourne performance at the Princess Theatre on July 25, by which time the Tony Award winning hit musical will have played 453 performances. Jersey Boys will open in Sydney, at the Theatre Royal, on September 18.

Prior to the Melbourne season, Bobby Fox spoke to Stage Whispers about auditioning and preparing for his first lead role, as Frankie Valli.

Star Crossed Lovers’ Opera.

Four centuries ago Shakespeare immortalised the lovers Romeo and Juliet. Their tragedy has been retold ever since, across genres from the musical West Side Story, to film versions including Baz Luhrman’s startling re-interpretation. Irish director Orpha Phelan, here to direct Opera Australia’s production of her acclaimed interpretation of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, spoke to Neil Litchfield.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival a Hit

The Adelaide Cabaret Festival under the new Artistic Direction of David Campbell is proving an artistic success and being well patronized.

Kate Peters reports that the mood around the Festival theatre is euphoric.

There’s a buzz that I haven’t felt for a long time. With up to 4 venues all featuring excellent shows (lasting well into the night with a visit to the classy Piano Bar), this is a well-funded, enthusiastically supported festival which is now regarded as world class.

Top Broadway Award for Geoffrey Rush

Actor Geoffrey Rush has won a Tony Award - Broadway's most coveted prize - for his heralded performance in Exit The King. Rush won in the Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play category. The win is the latest honour for the 57-year-old Australian, who has won an Oscar, two Golden Globes and three Screen Actors Guild awards for his film work. The win was predicted by Peter Pinne in the current edition of Stage Whispers Magazine.

Kookaburra's Founder Broke

Kookaburra Founder Peter Cousens says the demise of his music theatre company has cost him his reputation and his home. Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald Mr Cousens revealed the great personal financial cost of the failed venture. "Having guaranteed the debts of the company, I have materially lost everything - my home job and no doubt, my reputation," he said.

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