No, I didn’t see Hugh Jackman. But I held my breath every day that he might walk into his alma mater—Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) in Perth—where I attended and presented at the Musical Theatre Educators’ Alliance Conference (MTEA) in June. The conference introduced so many ideas, I can’t share them all here at one time. I’m working on a number of pieces for the coming weeks to help disseminate some of the knowledge, discussions, and trends we explored in Perth. A few of those ideas will include:
-The Australian voice in musical theatre
-The belt voice
-Collegiate musical theatre training across Australasia
With Thursday’s post, I will start sharing installments of my own research on the relationship between Broadway music and popular music. My paper, Reclaiming the Top Forty, is the reason I was able to go to Australia in the first place. Thanks to SDSU, the SDSU Research Foundation, and Rob Meffe for making this happen.
Speaking of SDSU, this is a great time to mention that our very own MFA Musical Theatre program at will be hosting the next MTEA conference in January! If you are interested in attending, check out this link.
Check out a few photos from my adventures in Australia. If you’re feeling stout-hearted, you can see the full gallery here.
Sorry, everyone. I didn’t see Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, kangaroos, or koalas.
The rugged traveler ready to depart SAN.
It amused me that instead of the usual graceful arc, our flight path according to the chair-back monitor showed a straight line clear to the other side of the globe.
On the first day in Sydney, I stretched my legs with a long walk from Kings Cross around the Royal Botanic Gardens to glimpse the famed Sydney Opera House.
I continued my jaunt around Circle Quay to the Rocks…
…and underneath the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.
My day two was museum day: fitting given how much it rained. I saw the ANZAC Memorial, the Australian Museum (above), Hyde Park Barracks (a World Heritage Site), and The Rocks Discovery Museum. I even glommed onto a Free Tour. By the end, I was waterlogged and tired.
Yes, I actually saw this. Yes, I actually took this photo. Yes, I Instagrammed it along with thousands of Australians.
My third and final full day in Sydney showed promise. Armed with a flat white, I took a gorgeous cruise on the harbour to Sydney Olympic Park.
Perth! I found you!
The Aboriginal Studies students at WAAPA greeted delegates of the MTEA Conference in the opening session.
Each day featured a student presentation of a developing work by an Australian. These are WAAPA first year students performing excerpts of ‘Atlantis’ by Matthew Lee Robinson, himself a WAAPA grad.
A panel discussion wrapped up each day. Here, Kim Moke moderates a roundtable discussion on ‘Music Theatre Training Across Australsia.’
WAAPA second and third years closed a fantastic production of ‘Legally Blonde’ at the Regal Theatre in Subiaco. These kids: top notch.
Sunday was dance day at the conference. This is me before four hours of dance masterclasses with Lisa O’Dea and Matt Lee…
…and this is me after.
Federation University third years perform a collation of two Australian musicals: ‘Lola Montez’ and ‘Eureka.’
As this was an international conference in the eastern hemisphere, Asian representation outweighed American delegates. Here is a fascinating session titled ‘Unique Vocabulary of Chinese Music’ about how Chinese music interfaces with musical theatre.
Thanks to WAAPA and for MTEA for helping to forge new friendships across the country and across the globe. Here are the American delegates at the closing night party at Northbridge Brewing Co.
To help you succeed in your future travels, one pronounces “WAAPA” just like an Australian would order a hamburger at Burger King. Cheers, mate!