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A love song: Brisbane the perfect place for new musicals

Lisa McCune and Teddy Tahu Rhodes star as Anna and The King of Siam.
Lisa McCune and Teddy Tahu Rhodes star as Anna and The King of Siam. Brian Geach

BRISBANE has become a reliable launching pad for new theatrical productions, says producer John Frost.

His latest joint venture with Opera Australia, The King and I, opens at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre tomorrow.

Frost also successfully launched The Rocky Horror Show and Grease, which are currently playing other capital cities, from Brisbane.

"What is so fantastic about Brisbane is firstly the public do go out and spend their money and go to the theatre," he told APN.

"When you open a brand new show in Brisbane it's easier, and the facilities at QPAC are so good. Whilst the pressure is on, it's done in a relaxed way as such."

Apparently Queenslanders are also good at spreading the word.

"A lot of people have come up from Sydney or Melbourne and have still got a lot of friends in other cities," Frost said.

"The word of mouth is a national word of mouth. I never think of Brisbane as a smaller city; it's a major cosmopolitan city now.

"When you've got 2000 people going to see a show in that arts centre it's a pretty exciting thing."

Frost was recently named the recipient of the 2014 JC Williamson Award.

He will be presented with the lifetime achievement award at the Helpmann Awards in August.

"It came out of the blue," he said.

"When they first asked me I was a little surprised. I thought 'Oh my God here we go, it's the beginning of the end'. They usually start handing out awards when your career is ending."

But Frost promises not to retire for at least the next 20 years. He's bringing Wicked back to the stage in Sydney in September, with Melbourne and Brisbane seasons also in the works.

He is also bringing the Tony Award-winning musical Once, based on the Oscar-winning film, to Australia with the Melbourne Theatre Company.

The King and I officially opens at QPAC's Lyric Theatre tomorrow. The show runs through June 1.

Topics:  lisa mccune the king and i



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