The 7 Types of Australian Musical Theatre Fans
Whether we’re die-hard buffs or a little disgruntled, Australian musical theatre fans have celebrated the brilliance of the medium in many different ways over the years. Here’s a list of 7 fans you might spot in the audience when you’re on your next MT outing in Australia:
1. The Broadway Baby
Having only ever sung in brassy American accents, the Broadway Baby is constantly being told by singing tutors to soften their ‘r’s and relax their soft palates. The Broadway Baby is always first cab off the ranks at the local Open Mic, convincing any crowd that they’re an Artist Visa away from killing it on the Great White Way.
2. The Community Crusader
Need a hand setting up flats? No worries! How about a last minute MD? Too easy! The Community Crusader can be seen hosting Bunnings barbies to fundraise for new par cans and a box or two of Fruity Lexia for afters; whatever the crusader lacks in polish, they make up for in passion.
In regional Australia, the Community Crusader is often an all-important cultural gatekeeper, introducing mullet-sporting bogans to the magic of Mary Poppins, Miracle City or Miss Saigon. However, the Community Crusader is also prone to suggesting inappropriate shows for their relatively homogenous communities. (All-white Hairspray, anyone? Whoops, didn’t think that one through.)
3. The Satirist
The Satirist is most at home at the intersection of musical theatre and the piercing pisstakery of Australian political satire. Always a parody pundit, the Satirist reads the news on the lookout for pollie gaffs to spin into hilarious musical set pieces.
The Satirist’s roots can be traced all the way back to good ol’ G&S, but in recent years they’ve found comrades in arms in Casey Bennetto, The Wharf Revue, Eddie Perfect and Matilda’s Tim Minchin.
4. The Bootleg Dealer
Got NMT, man? Shhh, here’s the deal: the bootleg dealer owns us all.
The Bootleg Dealer is the fan who’s scoured every inch of the deep web to find only the best gems of musical theatre from abroad. They’ll sneak you a link to your favourite shows on Broadway or the West End and ask for nothing in return (… except your life, except your life!).
You can also call on the Bootleg Dealer’s daily internet habits to come good when recalling the MT histories of actors on internationally syndicated television: “Is that Patina Miller on Madame Secretary!? I remember her ‘Random Black Girl’ at CMU Cabaret in ’06. Hmm? Oh, it’s a university in America. Nah, don’t worry, I’ll link you.”
5. The Jetsetter
Much to the envy of all their MT fan pals, the Jetsetter is the fortunate soul able to make periodic pilgrimages to Broadway and the West End. To make their air dollars travel as far as possible, the jetsetter is the primary culprit of OBC snobbery, overworking the phrase ‘not as good as Broadway’ and being rudely nonplussed by Audra McDonald’s all-holy touchdown on Australian soil in 2015.
(The tone of the writer can be explained by the antipodean phenomenon ‘tall poppy syndrome.’ What I’m saying is, the bitterness is culturally justified.)
6. The New Nostalgics
Generation X-ers who mourn the golden age of Quast, Prior, Guest and Lamond, I hereby dub you the New Nostalgics of Australian musical theatre. For a contemporary NMT fan, it might be hard to imagine a time when musical theatre stars were household names (even ‘Jemma Rix’ won’t trip off any old tongue). But for those whose closets are lined with classic Australian cast recordings (nowadays a veritable rarity), the better days are now behind us. A heap of New Nostalgics also have solid ties to Australia’s cabaret scene, the stomping ground of the divas, drag queens and divers who have kept live music theatre afloat for many decades.
7. The Closet Fan
The Closet Fan is the one who always talks about that ‘friend’ who drags them along to see musical theatre. They can be found in remote mining towns, beach-obsessed coastal communities, and even lurking in the wings at some of Australia’s most hallowed ‘serious theatre’ institutions, keeping their MT obsessions at bay lest their colleagues find out. In public, the Closet Fan might be spotted at the latest Squabbalogic offering and new operas like The Rabbits or Sisters Grimm’s La Traviata. But at home, they’re just about as Glee as the rest of us, quietly stoked that the internet exists and that their mate, the Bootleg Dealer, is on their side.
Which Aussie MT fan are you?