Australia Week 2009 proudly presents Australia Plays Broadway, a celebration of Australia's most acclaimed musical artists on Tuesday, January 20 at Carnegie Hall. The one-night-only concert event features Grammy award-winning star of stage and screen, Olivia Newton-John and performances by star of Melbourne's Wicked Amanda Harrison, acclaimed stage and screen performer Simon Burke (host), singer and chart sensation Lior, singer/songwriter Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, iconic rocker Jimmy Barnes, vocalist Ursula Yovich, crooner David Campbell, twin cellists Pei-Jee and Pei-Sian Ng and many more.
The Australia Plays Broadway performance is part of the 6th Annual G'DAY USA: Australia Week 2009 from January 11-24, marked by events in Los Angeles, San Francisco and culminating in New York. Considered a showcase of all things Australian, the week features events highlighting trade and investment, to food and wine, film, arts, fashion, indigenous culture and tourism. Australia Plays Broadway is part of the foundation's ongoing goal to promote Australia's multicultural talent and celebrates these remarkable artists' journey from Australia to the stage at Carnegie Hall.
Making its U.S. debut and anchoring the orchestral element of the show is the internationally acclaimed Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Sponsored by the South Australian Government and conducted by Arvo Volmer, the grand 70-member orchestra will collaborate with the artists to bring an amazing sound to Carnegie Hall.
Leading Australian producers Ross Mollison (SLAVA'S SNOWSHOW, Spiegelworld) and Wayne Harrison (former director of the Sydney Theatre Company) helm this unique event as producers and directors. Australia Plays Broadway expresses the imagination and calibre of Australian culture through a collaboration of diverse elements of the arts, from cabaret to opera, and symphony to pop.
"We're excited to have such an outstanding line-up of Australian talent to add to an incredible program and open Australia Week activities in New York," says Australian Consul General in New York and Australia Week Steering Committee Chairman, The Hon John Olsen, AO.
"With the diversity of notable Australian performers and the backdrop of New York's renowned Carnegie Hall, it will surely be a night of extraordinary music. This is also an opportunity to profile our talent to the U.S. market, and underscore Australia's artistic sophistication."
With a career spanning more than four decades, Olivia Newton-John has established herself as one of the top female vocalists of all time with more than 100 million albums sold; four Grammy Awards; an Emmy Award; numerous Country Music, American Music, Billboard and People's Choice Awards; ten #1 hits and over 15 top 10 singles. Her co-starring role with John Travolta in Grease catapulted Olivia into super-stardom. The film remains the most successful movie musical in history. Other film credits include Xanadu, Sordid Lives, It's My Party and more. Olivia has dedicated herself to a variety of humanitarian causes. In the 90's, she successfully overcame her own battle with breast cancer and her personal victory against cancer led her to announce the creation of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre (ONJCWC) in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia.
Simon Burke is one of the true icons of the entertainment world, having achieved critical and popular acclaim on stage, screen and beyond in both Australia and the UK. Simon's many stage credits include Marius in the original Australian cast of Les Miserables, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Billy Flynn in Chicago, Whizzer in Falsettos (nominated Best Musical Performance Sydney Theatre Critics' Circle Awards) and Billy Crocker in Anything Goes for which he received the Green Room Award for Best Actor in a Musical. In London, he played Raoul in Phantom of the Opera and Carl-Magnus in A Little Night Music starring with Dame Judi Dench at the Royal National Theatre.
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO) won world acclaim in 1998 with Australia's first production of Wagner's Ring Cycle. The performance was repeated in 2004, and was again lauded by critics around the globe. Excelling as a dynamic and versatile orchestra, the ASO presents concerts to suit all musical tastes - from pop, jazz, opera, and rock - exploring new styles for today's audiences.
Amanda Harrison made her stage debut at 18 in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Aspects of Love. In 2000, she became a finalist at the inaugural Voice of Musical Theatre for BBC Radio 2, which was featured in the BBC documentary, Broadway Babies. She followed this achievement with her London West End debut in Mama Mia! Her performance in the Australian tour of We Will Rock You won her the 2004 Helpmann Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. The following year, Amanda received both Greenroom and Helpmann Award nominations for Best Female Artist in a Lead Role for her performance in Leader Of The Pack - The Ellie Greenwich Musical. Amanda can currently be seen originating the role of Elphaba in the Melbourne production of Wicked.
Lior's folk and indie mix of styles and vocals have earned him several ARIA nominations and his debut independent album Autumn Flow went Gold, making it one of the most successful independent debut releases by an Australian artist.