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Clear Your Calendar! These Unmissable Musical Productions Are Coming To A Theatre Near You

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A shake up of a Shakespearean classic, & Juliet moves the famous love story to the dancefloor. Sitting down with marie claire Australia, Lorinda May Merrypor (who plays Juliet) opens up about the uniting power of the jukebox musical.

As the story goes, “For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

This rendition of Shakespeare’s tragedy, however, is less about woe and more about wow-factor ballads. David West Read, the Emmy-winning writer and producer of Schitt’s Creek, mixes glittering pop anthems with a timeless tale of self-discovery and second chances, inviting a new generation of audiences into the world of theatre.

“There’s this term that is used often, which refers to jukebox musicals as gateway musicals for audiences,” says Lorinda May Merrypor, who plays Juliette. “Gateway musicals are so important. They bring people who wouldn’t see a show otherwise into this world.”

The show features a dazzling melody of hits remastered by Grammy award-winning songwriter/producer Max Martin, and audiences can expect to sing their hearts out to renditions of Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Pink. “My favourite song in the show is ‘Stronger’ by Britney Spears,” says May Merrypor. “It’s such a dramatic and pivotal moment in the show where the stakes are very high.”

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Growing up in Queensland’s Rockhampton, May Merrypor often dreamed of taking centrestage, so after finishing high school the proud Aboriginal and South Sea Islander woman moved to Brisbane to study musical theatre.

“Landing this role felt like a dream come true,” she says. “I’ve been able to bring so much of me to the character of Juliet and so much of her is me. They gave me so much licence to play around and make the character my own.”

It’s no easy undertaking to adapt a 16th-century play to a 21st-century audience, so making the show accessible was front of mind.

“Telling [Romeo and Juliet] in this way feels really cool because it’s the same characters but in a much more digestible way,” says May Merrypor. “It also opens up the characters to just exist in a different universe than they were able to before, which allows for more representation, such as race and gender diversity. [It’s cool to be] telling such an old story and totally flipping it on its head.”

After playing Shakespeare’s leading lady, what does the rising star have her eyes set on next? A production that hasn’t been made yet. “I would love to be [Disney princess] Moana. That would be a dream…[that] would be great!”

While a princess might not be in the pipeline yet, you can find May Merrypor stepping into the spotlight of the gorgeous Juliet balcony at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne.

On now until May 14.

Once you’ve secured your seat for &Juliet add these high-noting hitting performances to your calender:

Tina Turner The Musical (Theatre Royal Sydney)

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Experience rock star Tina Turner’s triumphant story of passion and resilience live on stage. From May 4 to October 1.

Tick, Tick… Boom! (Sydney Lyric Theatre)

tick tick boom
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Fans of the beloved 2021 Netflix movie starring Andrew Garfield should add this theatre rendition to their calendar. From April 20-26.

Beauty & The Beast (Capitol Theatre Sydney) 

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A theatrical take on a classic, this production is sure to delight adults and children alike. From June 14.

Hairspray (Sydney Lyric Theatre)

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Welcome to the ’60s! The eight- time Tony Award-winning musical invites you to let your hair down (or do it up) for a night of iconic hits and fabulous fits. On now until April 2.

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