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Trevor Ashley does it again! He presents a brand new mash-up of fun, satire and raucous sillyness at the Seymour Centre in Sydney. I had the pleasure of photographing production shots at the dress rehearsal earlier this week.
As Trevor explains the plot…….
“Prepare to be transported to the magical world beneath the waves, where the vivacious Tania McMermaid (Trevor Ashley) takes center stage. In this heartwarming story, Tania finds solace after a recent loss as she checks into the opulent and mysterious hotel, The Little Lotus. Little does she know, this will be the setting for a life-changing adventure, where destiny and love intertwine. Weaving her way through this underwater paradise, Tania’s path collides with that of a handsome Italian Prince, setting the stage for a captivating romance that will leave audiences and the actors breathless.
But beware! Lurking in the shadows is the malevolent sea witch, Gaviscon (the legendary Carlotta), determined to thwart Tania’s hopes and dreams. Will Tania overcome the challenges thrown her way? Will she find true love with the character formerly known as Prince? Will the evil sea witch shatter her hopes forever? Or will a live action remake kill the whole thing!?”
CAST: Trevor Ashley, Jakob Ambrose, Stephen Madsen, Jarrod Moore and Carlotta AM
I love capturing a few shots backstage, if possible. I find it interesting to see the players preparing for their performance….makeup, costuming, the conversation etc. The following are a few images in the dressing rooms just prior to the performance.
Following a recent photoshoot with Trevor in my studio (see blog entry 15 August, 2023), it has been announced that a raucous team of intrepid thespians are returning to entertain audiences at the Seymour Centre in Sydney, starting from December 7, 2023.
Not remotely referencing a beloved musical film or a cult TV show, the vivacious Tania McMermaid (Trevor Ashley) is checking-in to the underwater hotel The Little Lotus. It doesn’t take long for Tania’s bedazzled fins to catch the attention of the handsome Character Formerly Known As Prince (Jakob Ambrose), but beware – lurking in the shadows is the malevolent sea witch, Gaviscon (the legendary Carlotta AM).
Curtain call from “Moulin Scrooge”, performed at the Seymour Centre in 2022 with Jarred Moore, Carlotta, Trevor Ashley, Jacob Ambrose and Stephen Madsen
For 18 performances only, the full cast of Moulin Scrooge! are reunited for The White Mermaid, under the sea in a musical dose of the ridiculous – starring Trevor Ashley, Jakob Ambrose, Stephen Madsen, Jarrod Moore and the legendary Carlotta AM, with dazzling costumes by Angie White, lighting by Sam Wylie and choreography by Heath Keating.
Angie White (costume designer extraordinaire) puts the finishing touches on Trevor’s costume before the shot
We produced a series of other looks during our photo-session
Trevor Ashley is at it again! This Christmas will see Trevor flying high in a raucous parody called “Moulin Scrooge” being performed at the Seymour Centre in December, 2022.
I had the pleasure of working with Trevor again on the photography for the poster work. We hadn’t seen each other for some time so it was great to have him in full make-up and drag, bursting into the studio for the shoot.
We set up a mock trapeze in the centre of the studio as the main prop to recreate the illusion of “Nicole Kidman”. As you can imagine the whole shoot was hilarious. Trevor has a natural capacity to keep you giggling even when you should be concentrating on more serious concerns.
At the end of November, the new season of Trevor Ashley’s production of “The Lyin’ Queen” begins at the Sydney Opera House.
Trevor came to the studio to complete a series of new publicity shots with Todd McKenney (Dancing with the Stars, The Boy from Oz and numerous TV and stage productions) who has just joined the cast going into the new season in Sydney.
Todd as eccentric billionaire Dr Richard Rabbitborough and Trevor as Gaye Wray
The day after the shoot, the Sydney Morning Herald published a story (30-31 Oct, 2021) promoting Trevor’s show and the return to normality in the theatre world, reproducing a still from our shoot (see below).
The Weekend Telegraph ran an article in “Sydney Shortcuts” on the weekend with a one of my production images from last year’s sell-out season to promote the 2021 season (see below).
Production still of Trevor Ashley on stage as Gaye Wray, The Lyin’ Queen.
As Trevor says; “I couldn’t be more thrilled that Todd has joined the cast of the show. He’s an Aussie legend and has the best sense of humour, so I can’t wait to be on stage with him in this outrageously hilarious comedy.”
Expect dinosaurs, politics, parodies and an inflatable gorilla in this laugh-a-minute musical extravaganza and wild romp.
Todd McKenney and Trevor Ashley ham it up in my studio for The Lyin’ Queen
Trevor Ashley, the Australian musical theatre actor, cabaret and drag artist based in Sydney, is continually inventing new characters and new looks.
Currently he has been working on the Drag Hag podcast and providing re-caps of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under (to see episode 4, click here).
At the studio Trevor posed under the lights showcasing a series of vibrant, extravagant and fun new alter egos with costumes by Frida Las Vegas, under the master touch of Daniel Cater (aka Dallas Dellaforce) who took care of hair, make-up and styling.
Daniel and Trevor in the make-up chair
As a chameleon and from my experience of working with Trevor since the early 2000s, I never quite know who is going to be channeled on set…..Liza, Shirley, Edna or one of his brand new superstars.
Jennifer Holliday performs at the opening of the festival at the Recital Hall, Sydney
Sydney was the original home of cabaret in Australia; it is an artform that is truly loved by all Australians. This year organisers decided to bring back the Sydney Cabaret Festival.
Trevor Ashley is the Festival’s Artistic Director. He assembled both International and Australian cabaret stars into a 9 day extravaganza of top class entertainment. Trevor states, “I have loved Cabaret as long as I can remember. As a confused child growing up I discovered this incredible artform that celebrated unique personalities, and more than that, an irreplaceable bond between artist and audience. Seeing artists like Lorrae Desmond, Julie Anthony and Geraldine Turner live, made me believe I could be anyone I wanted to be. It changed my life.”
Trevor Ashley, 2011 In make-up for his role of Edna Turnblad for the Australian production of Hairspray
The 2019 Sydney Cabaret Festival features Tony Award-winner Jennifer Holliday (pictured above), appearing for the first time on Australian soil, alongside local legends like Phil Scott and Jonathan Biggins, to New York downtown darling Natalie Joy Johnson. UK’s Frisky and Mannish return after a ten year hiatus, as does diva Alison Jiear. Tim Draxl will appear in a world premiere of his new show, along with Kim David Smith, Reuben Kaye and Brian Nash, plus circus and variety show Cheeky Cabaret, direct from their home in Brunswick Heads. Tim Benzie returns to Sydney with Solve-Along-A-Murder-She-Wrote. The Festival also includes a cabaret for children, Petit Cabaret, and masterclasses with Jennifer Holliday and Alison Jiear, as well as the Grand Final of the restored Sydney Cabaret Competition.
I was the Festival’s Photographer and had the pleasure of photographing and documenting most of the action. The following is a brief visual overview of how I spent my time.
Jennifer Holliday – Headlines the Festival
Jennifer Holliday headlines the Festival, appearing at the opening night at the City Recital Hall, Angel Place, SydneyMs. Holliday is the undisputed Queen of the broadway musical,Dreamgirls. Her show stopping number, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”, for which she won a grammy in 1983, is her signature piece. She won a Tony award for her performance in Dreamgirls in 1982. Jennifer laid the audience in the aisles as she unleashed her amazing voice in the Sydney Town Hall on Saturday 6 July, 2019
Opening Night at the City Recital Hall
Trevor Ashley gives it his all as he channels some grand diva from somewhere.Trevor Ashley in diva modePhil Scott and Jonathan Biggins at the Opening Night.Phil Scott and Jonathan BigginsPhil Scott and Jonathan BigginsPhil Scott and Jonathan BigginsJonathan BigginsReuben KayeReuben KayeReuben KayeReuben KayeReuben Kaye, beamed down for the performanceBrian Nash at the keyboardBrian Nash New York City goddess and diva, Nathalie Joy JohnsonNathalie Joy JohnsonNathalie Joy JohnsonNathalie Joy JohnsonNathalie Joy JohnsonKim David SmithKim David SmithKim David SmithKim David SmithAlison Jiear at the Recital HallAlison Jiear
The solo Performances
The Piano Bar at the Seymour CentreSeymour Centre
The Seymour Centre was transformed into the Cabaret Hub with solo performances simultaneously running in 5 separate performance spaces. There was a great buzz of excitement and anticipation as the audiences crowded to attend each show. I ran from theatre to theatre capturing the action. Here’s a visual overview…..
Alison JiearAlison JiearAlison Jiear
Cabaret Competition Grand Final
Australia’s next generation of cabaret superstars launched their careers at The Sydney Cabaret Competition: Grand Final hosted by ‘International Queen of Cabaret’ Trevor Ashley.
9 entertainers were selected as finalists (Nyssa Milligan, Irene Nicaola, Katelin Koprivec, Sarah Murr, Naomi Livingston, Rachael Gillfeather, Ali Calder, Billie Palin and Clare Ellen O’Connor), each performed their own short cabaret shows. The judges then selected the 2019 winner.
Congratulations to the runner up – Clare Ellen O’Conner with her show Plucked! and the Audience Choice and Winner – Billie Palin, for her incredible performance in ‘From Dubbo to Death’.
Irene Nicola performs at the finalsClair Ellen O’Conner in “Plucked” (Competition Runner-up)Clair Ellen O’Conner Clair Ellen O’Conner Katelin KoprivecKatelin KoprivecSarah MurrSarah MurrBillie Palin in “From Dubbo to Death” (Competition Winner)Nyssa MilliganNyssa MilliganNaomi LivingstonTrevor Ashley announces the Runner-UpTrevor Ahsley presents the Runner-Up to Claire O’ConnorThe winner is announced! It’s Billie Palin, in “From Dubbo to Death
Born out of the sleepy, picturesque village of Brunswick Heads on the north coast of NSW, birthed at the Brunswick Picture House, comes “Cheeky Cabaret”. Full of many flavours…..other than vanilla and very entertaining, Cheeky Cabaret ran for the entire length of the Festival in the Valhalla Room at the Seymour Centre.
Cheeky CabaretCheeky CabaretCheeky Cabaret
Frisky and Hammish
Frisky and MannishFrisky and MannishFrisky and Mannish
Master Class with Jennifer Holliday
Jennifer Holliday MasterclassJennifer Holliday gives some special advice during her master class at the Seymour Centre
Kim David Smith
Kim David SmithKim David SmithKim David Smith
Nathalie Joy Johnson
Nathalie Joy JohnsonNathalie Joy JohnsonNathalie Joy Johnson
Phil Scott & Jonathan Biggins
Phil Scott and Jonathan BigginsPhil Scott and Jonathan BigginsPhil Scott and Jonathan BigginsPhil Scott and Jonathan Biggins
Reuben KayeReuben Kaye on stage at “Capricios”, Seymour Centre
Tim Draxyl dazzles his audienceTim Draxyl begins his performanceTim DraxylTim DraxylTim Draxyl
Toni Lamond and the Finale
Trevor Ashley at the Festival FinaleTrevor Ashley at the Festival FinaleTrevor Ashley at the Festival FinaleBillie Palin (Cabaret Competition Winner)Billie Palin (Cabaret Competition WinCabaret Royalty, Toni Lamond, makes her entranceToni Lamond slays the crowdToni LamondToni LamondToni LamondToni LamondToni Lamond
The Piano Bar
The Piano Bar was a big hit each night of the FestivalThe Piano Bar, the place to be after the show
The Piano Bar was a popular venue, nestled in the Seymour Centre’s Festival hub. Each night heralded a plethora of pop-up performances from various artists.
Rhonda Burchmore lying down on the job!Trevor Ashley with Rhonda BurchmoreCath AlcornCath AlcornGenevieve LemonGenevieve LemonGenevieve LemonGenevieve LemonMinnie CooperMinnie CooperMinnie CooperMinnie CooperBrian NashNathalie Joy Johnson (sans wig)Nathalie Joy JohnsonReuben KayeNathalie Joy Johnson, Reuben Kaye & Brian NashNathalie Joy Johnson, Reuben Kaye, Brian Nash & Trevor AshleyTrevor Ashley and Nathalie Joy JohnsonTrevor AshleyRhonda BurchmoreRhonda BurchmoreRhonda BurchmoreRhonda BurchmoreTim FreedmanTim FreedmanRhonda BurchmoreRhonda BurchmoreCatherine AlcornCatherine AlcornCatherine AlcornGenevieve LemonPhil ScottKim David Smith and Brian NashReuben Kaye and Brian Nash
The Sydney International Cabaret Festival was a big success and will be now on the Sydney cultural horizon….so watch out for it next year and don’t miss seeing a few of the performers in next years line-up.
It’s half way through the year already and I have no idea where the time has gone.
I am embracing the fact that there is only 6 months to go until Santa comes again and looking forward to the next 6 months of interesting challenges and achievements.
Here’s a quick summary of some of the highlights from the month of June…..
George Michael – Listen to your heart
I was asked to cover the George Michael tribute concert at the Opera House Concert Hall on Sunday 8 June. It was truly fabulous. I mean you can’t go wrong with a 35 piece orchestra, some of Australia’s best voices and the classic beauty of George Michael’s exquisite writing. Casey Donovan, Rob Mills, Hugh Sheridan, Andrew De Silva, Bobby Fox and Sheldon Riley were lead by the orchestra leader, John Foreman. The crowd was as diverse as George’s musical career, spanning all age groups and demographics. They were united in their enjoyment of what was coming from the stage. Here are a few pics….
James Squires Landing
I enjoyed shooting for Xenia Contructions at the Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay. What a superb locaton. I shot in the early morning to catch the best light and avoid some of the foot traffic in that area. Seeing the sun rise over the Opera House was golden. Vivid was on at the time, so I managed to get a few shots with the Vivid light show in the background. Here are some examples.
Trevor Ashley smashes it again!
I love working with this talented and intelligent artist. Trevor Ashley is well known in the entertainment industry for his many portrayals of famous woman such as Liza Minelli and Shirley Bassey, musical theatre roles such as Miss Understanding in the original cast of Priscilla, Queen of the desert and Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, Thernadier in Les Miserables, many cabaret performances….and heaps of other things…if you want a better bio, head to wikipedia and search Trevor Ashley. I can’t do him justice here.
I have shot many incarnations of Trevor over the years….I love working with him because he makes things seem easy. They are only easy because this man is a conceptual genius and enjoys what he does.
Lead image for “Trevor Ashley – Double D’s – Two Decades of Divadom
You know you’re in for a fun shoot when you have Rhonda Burchmore and Lara Mulcahy (mega-stars and mega-nice people) coming to the studio to work on a few new shots for their brilliant show, Abba-solutely Fabulous.
We originally met last year to shoot for this new show (Rhonda and Lara were both in the original cast of Mamma Mia)….and now it has become bigger than Ben Hur, packed houses all over Australia, and they need more images to continue the promotion machine.
Apparently the show is fabulously funny and entertaining and I am looking forward to seeing it when it next comes to Sydney. Have a look at the programming and see if they are appearing near you, because I know they would be delightful to see.Click here for dates etc.
Look at the “teaser” below and tell me you’re not going to have a good time with these two lovely larakins.
Rhonda Burchmore and Lara Mulcahy for “Abba-solutely Fabulous
Shauna’s new look
I always love shooting the gorgeous Shauna Jensen…amazing vocalist with a long and impressive career in the entertainment industry….again look her up in wikipedia, Shauna Jensen for the full bio….or go and see her next performance.
Shauna has a new look and here’s a sneak preview from the shoot we did together, earlier this month.
The glamorous and talented Shauna Jensen with white hair…chic!
I have been shooting for a group of young people who meet once a month, in an open forum, to discuss various “taboo” subjects. The images from the nights are used in their social media to promote future “Taboo Talks”. Taboo Talks are the brain child of a couple of social workers, Amirah and Kosta and have been running for a good 18 months, discussing diverse subjects, frrom domestic violence to racism and everything in between. The idea is to create a safe space where people feel free to share ideas and experiences with each other on a given subject. A new topic is chosen each month and the discussion is headed and administered by nominated facilitators. If you wish to know more they have a facebook page which you are welcome to visit.
The Wild Sculptural Interpretations of Margarita Sampson – Honey Funus
I have been shooting for Margarita for some years now and I am always pleasantly surprised with what she comes up with. I know that when she rings to book photography that I am going to encounter the next wonderfully weird, beautiful and strangely animated, creature she has given birth to.
This month was no exception. I met “Honey Fungus” in all it’s glory of gaping orange deliciousness. Honey Fungus’ friend looks a bit overwhelmed, I must say. I always enjoy getting to know her little creatures as I click away. For a look at more of Margarita’s work, click here.
Margarita working in her studio
Hansen Yuncken together with Waterways are really stepping up the pace on the wharf up-grade roll-outs. I shot another wharf this month. The Abbotsford Wharf up-grade was opened to the public…so I ventured along the Parramatta River to an idyllic location for a ferry terminal at the end of Great North Road. I really like the design of these new wharfs….in my opinion they look slick. Here’s a few shots from the shoot….
Well there’s a few highlights from my month. Please get in touch if you have any questions or queries on email@example.com