As Covid-19 hit in early 2021, The Production Company was gearing up for one last show in 2020. It never happened. However, what happened before 2020 was an incredible streak of 64 musicals and over 500 performances for the people of Melbourne.
The Production Company was a treasure trove of entertainment thanks to Jeanne Pratt, Ken Mackenzie-Forbes and Rachel D Taylor. Between 1999 and 2019, this dynamic trio brought some of the world’s greatest productions to life. The shows have featured many of the world’s biggest stars and have created thousands of entertainment jobs filling more than a million theater seats over time.
Now The production company the website documents everything from the very first ‘Mame’ show in 1999 until the last season in 2019 with included the final project of David Bowie with the Australian premiere of ‘Lazarus’ (and to date the only Australian production of ‘Lazarus’). It was an incredible outing.
Artistic Director Ken Mackenzie-Forbes said in a statement, “We are understandably proud of the unique contribution we have made to the musical theater industry over the past twenty-one years. This online archive will allow our subscribers, sponsors, artists and creatives to relive the effervescence of those years. This journey through the archives will bring back the joy and pleasure that these memorable productions have given us all. “
Executive Director Rachel D Taylor joined the company in 1999 as Production Coordinator, became Managing Director a year later and Executive Director in 2006. She says, “Online Archives are a major resource on the company history. It’s a beautiful reminder of the exceptional work The Production Company has done to showcase and promote Australian talent, providing Melbourne audiences with the best shows for twenty-one wonderful years. The site honors our artists, creatives and collaborators with a permanent presence, long after the curtain falls. It was a joy to create and I think it will make people very happy.
The production company has attracted royalty from Australian theater.
For two decades, Australian theater stars have been stars of the Production Theater. Roll call includes Geoffrey Rush, Rhonda Burchmore, Lisa McCune, Caroline O’Connor, Marina Prior, David Campbell, Nancye Hayes, Amanda Muggleton, John Wood, Marty Fields, Ron Guest, John Stanton, Terence Donovan, Debra Byrne, Lucy Durack, Rob Mills, Trevor Ashley, Todd McKenney, Amy Lehpamer, Gina Riley… and that only covers a few of the shows.
The production company was made viable thanks to the vision and generosity of Australia’s first lady of theater, Jeanne Pratt AC. Jeanne established The Production Company in 1998 as a non-profit theater venture to bring Broadway to Melbourne and make the world’s greatest shows affordable for everyone. Thanks to Jeanne, tens of thousands of schoolchildren had the opportunity to see their first theater performances and, no doubt, some would end up joining the productions.
In September 2019, Jeanne announced the end of the business. It was appropriate that the final show “Ragtime The Musical” had its Australian premiere via The Production Company. The production company has had many Australian firsts over the years.
The Production Company shows, an innovation of Australian theater, can now be viewed online. Continue to enjoy this Australian theater treasure.
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