NOTE: The Events Centre regrets to announce that due to illness Rowena Wallace is physically unable to perform in SHOUT! The Legend of the Wild One, opening at The Events Centre tomorrow. Rowena was set to play the role of Johnny O'Keefe's mother, Thelma O'Keefe. Please read more at bottom of this article...
By John-Michael Howson, David Mitchell, Melvyn Morrow.
The story of the King of Australian Rock'n'Roll.
Starring Rowena Wallace & Dale Pengally
It's the mid-70s and Johnny O'Keefe is taking his new fiancée for one last look at The Sydney Stadium the scene of so many of his triumphs. Soon it will be demolished to make way for the new Eastern Suburbs Railway. Johnny reminisces about the Australian music scene and his life.
Johnny O'Keefe was born to entertain. A tear-away at school he turns his back on a solid future in the family furniture business and starts his career singing at dances around the Sydney suburbs. At one dance he meets Marianne, a German immigrant, and falls for her as she encourages him to follow his dream.
When Johnny hears one of the first rock'n'roll records - Bill Haley's 'Rock Around the Clock' - He immediately knows he has heard the music that will change his life. He presents himself to flashy music promoter, Lee Gordon and fights to overcome the obstacle of Lee's not wanting to employ Australian acts even as 'openers' for the galaxy of American stars who appear at the Stadium. Lee believes Australians do not want to see Australians but only imported stars.
Gordon rejects Johnny until an American group is delayed and, desperate for a backing band, he gives in to the budding rock star. In one night O'Keefe becomes a sensation.
Soon teens are lining up to see JO'K and fame and fortune follows: A recording contract, a TV show, hit appearances at venues around Australia. However success comes at a price and, to keep up the pace, Johnny starts to use pills. This strains his marriage to the always patient Marianne and almost leads to catastrophe when O'Keefe is involved in a terrible car smash.
Desperate for international success he goes overseas but manages to blow a chance of stardom in the USA. Things are no better in the UK where he suffers a breakdown and returns to Australia desperate to pick up a fading career. Unable to cope with the pressure of Johnny's life Marianne walks out as Johnny finds the only work he can get is performing in a tent at agricultural shows around Australia. Although he and Lee Gordon, who was the major influence on his life, had fallen out he is heart broken when Gordon dies. Now he has nobody and nothing.
The years pass and Johnny makes a comeback in the 70s with new hit record and appearances at clubs where his fans, recalling their youth, turn up to see the first Aussie Rock Star perform with all the energy they remember. Happily remarried to Maureen, Johnny seems to have found peace and contentment but then.....
SHOUT! ends with a huge tribute to Johnny O'Keefe and Australian Rock'n'Roll. He was, says his father, The King of Rock'n'Roll and a man who created a revolution in the Australian entertainment business by forcing promoters to realise that Australians do want to see Australians. He died at the age of 43 but all the acts that followed Johnny owe him a debt of gratitude.
SHOUT! is on at The Events Centre from Wednesday 3rd September until Sunday 14th September. Show times;
Wednesday 3rd September @ 7:30pm
Friday 5th September @ 7:30pm
Saturday 6th September @ 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday 7th September @ 2:00pm
Wednesday 10th September @ 7:30pm
Friday 12th September @ 2:00pm
Saturday 13th September @ 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday 14th September @ 2:00pm
Ticket Prices are $36.00 Adult, $32.00 Concession, $19.00 Child/Student, $95.00 Family (2 Adult + 2 Children). Members Prices $32.00 Adult, $28.50 Concession, $17.00 Child/Student. Bookings (07) 5491 4240, Box Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30am-6:00pm, Saturday 9:30am-1:30pm, Box Office opens 1 hour prior to performance. For more information or to book through 'e-tix' online visit our website at www.etixdirect.com.au
The Event Centres first Pro-Am production SHOUT! The Legend of the Wild One opened its season last night to an enthusiastic full house. The crowd were wowed with energetic performances from lead Dale Pengelly and the supporting cast formed by local amateur performers.
The hours dedicated to rehearsals were evident last night as the cast gave the audience a show they would not forget. The audience in return became a part of the show; singing, clapping and tapping their feet to those renowned rock and roll tunes.
Director Sam Coward said "In true theatre style, last night had all the buzz and energy that comes with an opening night. From here we will only get bigger and better and continue to amaze our audiences".
The Events Centre General Manager Destry Puia said "SHOUT! has proven once again that there is a market for Pro-Am productions on the Coast, not only for our audiences, but also for the cast and crew. I am tremendously proud of what has been achieved with this production and firmly believe this has opened the door for further Pro-Am productions".
Despite Rowena Wallace having to withdraw from the show two days prior due to injury, the cast banded together with support for understudy Nola Adam who put on tremendous performance as Thelma O'Keefe, Johnny's mother.
The Events Centre, Caloundra, Not Assigned
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