Dear friends and other interesting creatures,
I had the great pleasure of being invited to the rehearsals of #CallMeLee a while ago with my blue eyed boy wonder son @LJ_Cadger, who is a huge @WesleeLauder fan.
At one point @ianvonmem @JonathanRox and @_RoelofColyn was all in one room with me. I literally held my breath. This is the cream of the crop, the cherry on top of gifted pianists! Such joy! #blessed!!!!
Enter my fabulous friend @WesleeLauder who introduced me to @samuel_26_hyde and my day was made.
@ianvonmem sitting a few chairs away directing #CallMeLee… I thought to myself, nothing compares to the feeling that watching, experiencing and seeing a box of theatrical tricks unfold before me.
It is an excitement filled with expectation and wonder. I am Dorothy in my red shoes, Alice in Wonderland going down the rabbits hole… and on the other side – I am whole. Content. Fulfilled. Fed. My soul rejoice. I feel with sincerity sorry for people who do not have something in their lives that is that fulfilling.
I had no idea what to expect from #CallMeLee. Thankfully I am always in for a treat when the visible and invisible curtain raises… and by the end I cried and gave these talented performers a standing ovation. WOW!
The following is from the official press release:
Multi-award winning theatre star Jonathan Roxmouth is back with his new piano show, CALL ME LEE! Following the success of A HANDFUL OF KEYS, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and most recently, SUNSET BOULEVARD, Roxmouth pays tribute to Mr. Showmanship – Liberace – “Lee” to his friends – in this concert biography with lighting by Denis Hutchison and direction by Ian von Memerty.
In CALL ME LEE, Roxmouth traces the journey of the man who became Liberace through the well-known classics that made him a showbiz icon and popular pianist for more than 40 years. Everything from the Boogie Woogie to the Beer Barrel Polka, Tchaikovsky to Chopin and of course nostalgic hits like “I`ll Be Seeing You” and “I`m Always Chasing Rainbows” make up a selection of music that guarantees something for everyone.
Joining Roxmouth as Liberace onstage are two exciting new talents. Weslee Lauder and Samuel Hyde play all the colourful characters in Lee`s life from his brother George to his long-time manager Seymour Heller all the way to Frances Liberace: Lee`s “Mom”! CALL ME LEE also features some of the most lavish, glittering costumes (and fur coats) seen on the Theatre on the Bay and Montecasino stages by glittering designer Lena Olivier worthy of the memory of Mr. Showmanship.
Music. Glitter. Laughter. What more do you need for a great night out at the theatre?
Jonathan phoned me yesterday while I was in the bath tweeting as one does…. and this is the interviewed that followed :
1. Why the need for #CallMeLee? Where did the birthing process start?
I have always wanted to do a show about him and never understood why there wasn’t one out there already. He was a completely unique theatrical phenomenon and it cried out to be brought to the stage. I finally took the leap and am so proud of what has come out of it.
2. How difficult was it to prepare for such a complex character as the man himself was? During rehearsals, you make it look effortless.
Surprisingly difficult actually. He has been parodied by everyone from comedians to the recent film starring Michael Douglas. People single out the “camp” factor and turn him into a treacly joke. He was more than that. He exuded child-like joy when in front of an audience and was regarded as one of the nicest people in show business. To try and capture the truth of the man was my goal. Not the curtain calls, the moments after those backstage and with his family.
3. In my view, you are one of the most outstanding pianists in our country. What drew you to the piano?
That’s very kind of you. It was just one of those things. I saw it in primary school and just knew it was for me.
4. What stood out about Weslee and Samuel that they got the multiple supportive roles that they play?
Weslee gave the best audition I have ever seen. He was Liberace’s mom, brother and agent. I knew he had to be in the show. Samuel came in and sang beautifully and I knew we had found the best Scott for our show.
5. What do you personally enjoy most about the production #CallMeLee?
I love watching the audience fall in love with the charm of Liberace. We hardly changed any of his “performance” bits and even now – 27 years later – it has them grinning and laughing all over again.
I look forward to seeing #CallMeLee next week at @Monte_Theatre! All those gorgeous wardrobe changes!
I wish you enough,