The choreography of the prolific Kelly Aykers is about to hit the stage in Midnight, a new musical theatre work loosely inspired by the fairy tale Cinderella. Aykers says, “To be able to create your own vision to original music that has not been done before is a dream opportunity. Although this happens quite regularly with popular music in commercial and television work, this is a whole two-hour show, so I really have a blank canvas.”
Aykers has had such a successful career spanning TV and music theatre as both performer and choreographer, and runs a successful performing arts school. “My motivation really comes from a deep-seeded love of all things dance,” says Aykers. “My earliest memory is as a toddler dancing around in our family lounge room and holding court by flinging my little body around anytime any music came on the radio.”
Even now Aykers says she doesn’t question her thought process and instead “I always go right back to that toddler dancing around my family home and trust in where my body and mind take me whenever the music plays.”
It was the music that provided Aykers with much inspiration for this current choreography. “This particular project was first brought to me in 2016, in a workshop scenario,” Aykers explains. It was in the workshop that Aykers first heard the music by John Foreman, Anthony Costanzo and Kate Miller-Heidke. “I heard some of the original songs and really fell for them.”
Midnight: The Cinderella Musical subverts the convention of the traditional marriage plot, where the maiden will only be complete by finding her Prince Charming. Instead, the heroine is disinterested in Prince Charming and he must prove his worth to her. Midnight: The Cinderella Musical has two directors, Dean Murphy and Pip Mushin, which Aykers acknowledges is unusual for musical theatre, noting that “Pip has a lot of experience in musical theatre and Dean has the eye of a film and television director, a brilliant mix for our production.”
Aykers is delighted to be working with a talented group of performers, including 21 adults and four children. “It was a week-long casting, and I was very fortunate to be able to cast all the dancers I need to make the choreography in this show’s big production really come alive. Our Ella, Brianna Bishop, and our Prince, Thomas McGuane, both have dance backgrounds, and once you throw Matt Lee in there as Andre, then as a choreographer I’m pretty happy!”
By Tamara Searle of Dance Informa.