Young performers on song

Grant High School recently lit up the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre for the first time in three years with their original musical “Musical She Wrote”.

It was an original script written and directed by Grant High School Arts Coordinator Abbey Marston-Kleemann about a family and their origin story, told in part through flashbacks.

Featuring tunes from past Grant Musicals, dating back to 1976, Musical She Wrote truly paid homage to this musical, Bye, Bye Birdie, using ‘One Boy’ as it’s opening song.

The student-driven musical was made up of 55 performers from Years 7-12 including a troupe of specialist dancers who choregraphed the entire show.

Grant High teacher Tessa Megaw, who featured in Mrs Marston-Kleemann’s 2013 Xanadu, was able to provide some creative input to the choreography too.

Band director Michelle Berlin and assistant director Shekinah Horsburgh also made huge contributions to the show, proving it was clearly a team effort by all.

Mrs Marston-Kleemann said despite the obstacles she faced putting the performance on, including COVID-19, she could not have asked for a better cast to bring it to life.

“The musical was absolutely fabulous, and the students smashed it out of the park,” she said.

“The performers loved every minute of it, and it was rewarding to be able to get them back on the stage.

“I am unbelievably proud of every single one of the students and the team I worked with.

“It all came together in the end, and I am delighted by the outcome.”

The main characters Ivy and Jack were played by students Daisy Stevens and Robert Pickin who both had unique journeys in filling the roles.

This was Year 9 student Daisy’s first year at Grant High School, so despite all other cast members having two weeks to prepare their auditions, she had to try-out the day before casting was announced due to her enrolment.

She sung ‘Mother Knows Best’ from the Disney movie ‘Tangled’ evoking tears from Mrs Marston-Kleemann due to the “overwhelming” audition.

Mrs Marston-Kleemann said she knew from that moment the newcomer was going to be the lead.

“The leads are not usually so young, but I could not give it to anyone else after hearing her sing,” she said.

Daisy said it has been a new experience meeting lots of different people because she did not know anyone until this year.

“I have enjoyed being a lead, it is definelty a new opportunity because I only had five minutes to prepare for my audition,” she said.

“I want to pursue performing and jazz is my strong suit because I am jazz trained through the James Morrison Academy of Music.

“I think one of the exciting things about this musical is it caters to everyone’s different strengths.”

Robert started as an understudy, therefore he had less time to learn the role.

He featured in the 2019 musical ‘Shifting Sands’ so he said it was great to be able to get back on stage.

“The show was amazing, I had a lot of new experiences with original scenes compared to the last musical,” he said.

“It was rewarding to have more experiences performing because in the future I want to pursue drama and music as a career.

“It is such a fun thing because we all have such a passion for this stuff so to be able to get on stage with people with such enthusiasm is just fun.

“Daisy and I work well together and we definitely bounce off one another with our individualised skillsets.”

The show was clearly a crowd pleaser, with an almost sell-out crowd on its closing night.

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