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17 June

17 June

Sounds of Musical Theatre


STREAMING HITS AN AUSSIE PRODUCTION A NOVEL TWIST:. Heres a musical, originally scheduled to be performed on stage in Sydney, but now reimagined for an online presentation. It will be live streamed, with the performers and technical crew all operating from one large house with a central computer.

The question is, with so many people now having to do work meetings on Zoom, will audiences want to watch a musical that uses a Zoom-style format?. The show is Whos Your Baghdaddy? (Or How I Started the Iraq War), a satirical musical comedy, inspired by a true story, with music and book by Marshall Paillet (Triassic Parq), and lyrics and book by A.D. Penedo.

It was produced Off-Off Broadway in 2005 and Off-Broadway in 2017. Australian producers Keith Muir, Sam Ducker and Steven Kreamer had planned to stage the Australian premiere in September through their company Curveball Creative. But with a live production unlikely because of restrictions due to the coronavirus, they decided to produce the show online instead.

Whos Your Baghdaddy? is set at a support meeting for a group of people who believe that their actions led to the start of the Iraq War. They had recruited an Iraqi defector, codenamed Curveball who fed them intelligence on Iraqi mobile weapons laboratories unfortunately the intelligence was fabricated. As happened in real life, the false intelligence was used by Secretary of State Colin Powell in his 2003 speech to the UN Security Council to justify the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

Its a cool piece, says Kreamer, who is also the shows Musical Director. The script is really strong and the soundtrack is pretty amazing. Its fascinating because it is about these mid-level spies and the mishandling of information.

Its about truth and reliability and credibility. We are now living in this era of post-truth and fact checks, Trump who spreads misinformation. The Iraq War was 2001.

We are 20 years down the track and the same stuff is still happening in America and it has a global impact. Kreamer says that the show lends itself to a Zoom-type format because the narrative construct is that they are at a support group And the way that therapy sessions and support group meetings and AA meetings are being done at the moment is over Zoom so it doesnt feel like we are trying to bend it to this format. The production is directed by Neil Gooding, and features a strong cast including Blake Erickson, Phillip Lowe, Laura Murphy, Matthew Predny, Adam Rennie, Katrina Retallick, Justin Smith and Troy Sussman.

The production will be performed in a large seven-bedroom house. Each actor will be given a different room with their own camera, microphone and monitor. The cables will all go to a central computer from which the show will be streamed, avoiding the lag in sound that happens when performers are using their own internet connections at home.

The show was originally scored for live piano and backing tracks, so Kreamer will be in the house too. If there is dialogue I can underscore it with the piano and then when we kick into a number, there will be drums and guitar all programmed in, he says. Musically, the score is eclectic and exciting, says Kreamer, with references to different 90s styles from the Beastie Boys to rap and R&B.

How it all goes, time will tell. It is an interesting time because things are opening up again, but we dont know when theatres are going to open, and more importantly we dont know when people are going to start engaging with theatre again, says Kreamer. Its still a daunting thought for some people to go into a hundred-seat theatre, crammed in with people, so it might not be until next year, so its like what do we do for the next six months? In some ways its nice to be at the forefront of that and be a trailblazer and say this is what we can do.

And if people learn from our mistakes then even better. Whos Your Baghdaddy? (Or How I Started the Iraq War) will be performed online for five performances from June 24 28, with tickets costing $22. .

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