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GALLERY: Theatre is ‘home’ for me, says Jason Donovan

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In the 1980s, Jason Donovan was a true blue Aussie heart-throb.

He originally achieved fame by portraying Scott Robinson in Neighbours, before selling more than three million records with his debut album Ten Good Reasons, which spawned the hit single Nothing Can Divide Us.

A duet with his television co-star Kylie Minogue, Especially for You, reinforced his celebrity.

Now, four decades later, he’s about to blow audiences away again as Frank N Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, which kicks off its Newcastle season at the Civic Theatre from 12 January and continues until 4 February.

And, joining him on the journey is the much-loved Myf Warhurst as The Narrator.

Myf Warhurst as The Narrator and Jason Donovan as Frank N Furter in The Rocky Horror Show. Photo: Rod Thompson

“It means everything to be in Newcastle,” Donovan said.

“It’s a great city, so it deserves a show like this.

“But, what can you say about this theatre, it’s fantastic.

“We also love a good audience… and we hear Newcastle’s are incredible.

“Let’s hope the future is bright for this city with touring and theatre fullstop.com.”

“From my experience, I’ve done a couple of Spicks and Specks ‘live’ performances here; and the people are always absolutely fabulous,” Warhurst added.

“We’re really enjoying the city, wandering around the beach, visiting the cafes.

“Already, we can feel the audience is here for us, too.

“That’s lucky for me, I’ve never done any musical theatre before.

“Sure, I’ve been on TV and presented etc.

“However, this was completely out of the ballpark for me.

“The crew and cast have been so supportive… and I’ve learned so much.

“I’ve loved everything about it.”

Warhurst has nothing but praise for Donovan.

“Jason is phenomenal as Frank N Furter,” she said.

“I don’t think many people realise he’s had 30 years of musical theatre experience in the UK.

“So, he’s got the chops and he’s hugely-respected.

“When the audience sees Jason in this role, it’s amazing, they adore him.”

As for Donovan, he’s delighted to be involved again in the 50th anniversary production of The Rocky Horror Show.

“I actually did this in 1998 for its 25th birthday,” he said.

“So, I jumped at the opportunity to bring it back to Australia with Myf and the wonderful cast.

“When you come to The Rocky Horror Show, you expect the unexpected.

“But, I just love this character.

“I love the cast, I love this show.

“For me, it’s like being in the band that I never was in.

“That’s the funny irony about this show… it’s sort of like being a rock ‘n’ star in a theatre production.

“I guess that’s why I keep returning.

“[Rocky Horror] is about coming out of yourself and it has a wonderful heart.

“This show taps into that part in all of us that is a little bit of a misfit and a little bit of someone who’s looking for direction and wants to be different.

“Although, Frank N Furter probably pushes the bar a little too much.”

Sir Howard Panter, Jason Donovan, Myf Warhurst, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath ahead of The Rocky Horror Show opening at the Civic Theatre. Photo: Daniel Boud

Thanks to his brilliance in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Donovan is revered in the UK.

“The theatre, particularly musical, has become a home for me,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“I guess, for me, it combined the two things that are my passion, music and acting.

“That was underscored the moment I did Joseph at the Palladium in 1991.

“Everything’s just gone on from there.

“I didn’t set out to be a star of musical theatre, it sort of found me.

“However, the good thing about it is I can age with it.

“As I get older, you know the bones and the body might be telling me one thing.

“But, I can start to pick and choose the parts that represent my age.”

More than 23,000 tickets have been snapped up for The Rocky Horror Show, breaking the box office record set by Come From Away last year.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said it proved there was a strong appetite for international-quality touring productions among Novocastrians and visitors.

The Rocky Horror Show is living up to its status as one of the world’s most popular and highest-selling musicals, drawing both first-time and repeat theatregoers from throughout the Hunter and across the country,” she stated.

“Ticket sales have come from every state in Australia and as far away as the United Kingdom.

“It ensures this production will not only provide local theatregoers with an experience to remember but will help boost visitation to our city.

“The success of The Rocky Horror Show and Come From Away demonstrate the huge demand for high calibre, Broadway and West End productions in Newcastle.

“Major events are a clear economic driver.

The Rocky Horror Show is another significant drawcard for our city that will provide considerable benefits for Newcastle’s visitor economy.”

Tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit www.civictheatrenewcastle.com.au

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