The annual Helpmann Awards recognise distinguished artistic achievement and excellence in the many disciplines of Australia’s live performance sectors including musical theatre, contemporary music, cabaret, opera, dance and more. It is similar to the Tony Awards in America. The announcement of this year’s finalists was celebrated around Australia. Here in Brisbane we were treated to a red carpet nominations event filled with flowing drinks and canapés in the foyer of the Lyric Theatre, QPAC.
Our MC for the evening was Ross Cunningham – Chair of the Helpmann Awards. Presenters in Brisbane were stage stars Chloe Dallimore and Simon Burke (who is here starring in Noises Off). Also hosting were Ursula Mills who has just finished giving a stellar performance in the very successful ‘1984’, as well as the acclaimed David Pratt from the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Special guests included John Paul Langbroek (Shadow Health Minister) and Steven Tandy who is now appearing as the bumbling burglar in ‘Noises Off’.
We were entertained by musical theatre students – Courtney and Elliott from Griffith University. These two stars of the future mesmerised the audience with their wonderful voices. Elliott performed ‘Music of the Night’ and Courtney hit the high notes in favourite ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’. Our evening was complete when they performed a duet of ‘A Whole New World’ from Aladdin.
Some of the nominees from Brisbane included – ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ and ‘The Wider Earth’ – Queensland Theatre and ‘Strictly Gershwin’ – Queensland Ballet.
Vying for best musical are ‘Aladdin’, ‘Kinky Boots’, ‘My Fair Lady’ and ‘The Book of Mormon’. Tough competition!
Popular international concert nominees were Adele, Bruce Springsteen Patti Smith and PJ Harvey. My vote will go to ‘Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ for best contemporary concert although there is some tough competition from Missy Higgins, Flume and Deborah Conway.
Two awards have already been announced with Richard Tognetti AO receiving the JC Williamson Award and Rob Brookman AM announced as the 2017 Sue Nattrass Award Recipient.
Australians are blessed to have such a thriving arts scene and it is reflected in the billions of tickets sold each year. Voting for the 2017 Helpmann Awards opens at 9am on the 20th June. The Helpmann Awards ceremony airs on Foxtel and the ABC on the 24th July.