TWENTY SEVEN - 2013

Cast

 

Riley Cormac:   Sam Maxwell

Brody Calhoun:   Alex Fraser

RJ :   Shay Muddle

Ruby:   Charlotte Graf

Lizzie:    Fee Stephenson

Michelle:   Holly Hoogvliet

Jack:    Shaun Vining

Electric Man/Carlos:  Emmet McCarthy

Don Bucks:  Jason Medina

New Kid:   Josh Mehrtens

Two-Face Creature:  Margaret O’Hanlon

Written and Directed by Margaret O'Hanlon

Inspired by Katy Anderson 

Katy Anderson

Thomas Brinsley

Graham Craig

Paul Halsted

Nicole McLean

Haley Purdon

Yukin Naidoo

 

Guitar:    Pol Nicholson

Bass:    Diego Vanzella

Drums:    Ivan Hamilton

Keyboard:   Mark Wilson

Sax/Guitar:   Nigel Hirst

Company

Band

Production Manager:  Nicky Viggers

Production Assistant Tegan Stallard

Musical Directors: Nigel Hirst, Margaret O’Hanlon

Choreography: Nicole McLean,Haley Purdon

Wardrobe Designer/Artistic Director: Kay Turner

Lighting: David Spark

Sound & Technical Engineer: Paul Inger

Grafitti Artist: Dean Williams

Hair: Tina Fuller & Crew Haircutters

Make-up: Rae Williams, Julie McIlroy

Photography: Dan Childs

Graphic Design: Emma Newell, An Eye For Design

Stage Manager: Alan Davis

Backstage: Lisa Moore, Anna Bouzaid

Front Of House: Jan Maxwell, Sam Farr

Original Music by: Margaret O'Hanlon, Alex Fraser, Katy Anderson, Max Gunn, Emmet McCarthey, Thomas Brinsley and Josh Mehrtens

The Story 

Riley Cormac (Sam Maxwell as pictured) is a struggling musician with no promising future.  He dreams he has been given the ultimate offer; fame and fortune in exchange for his soul.  When things start to go drastically right and he rises to fame and notoriety at an alarming rate he wonders if he has somehow accepted the offer as he edges closer to his 27th birthday.    His friends and family just happen to bear a coincidental resemblance to some of the iconic figures that tragically ended their lives at 27.

According to legend, Robert Johnson had a tremendous desire to become a great blues musician. He was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroad at midnight. There he was met by the devil who took the guitar and tuned it. The devil played a few songs and then returned the guitar to Johnson, giving him mastery of the instrument. This was a deal with the devil mirroring the legend of Faust. In exchange for his soul, Johnson was able to create the blues for which he became famous.  He died at 27.

"Whether it was simply coincidence that so many great artists died tragically at 27, is irrelevant.  The point is that the idea of immortality and permanent legacy is very appealing to a rock and roll musician (or any artist) - and given the chance, many might just choose to make that deal with the devil.  Of course, in our story, we never really know if Riley made that deal, or if he simply got better at his craft."

- M O'Hanlon

The Cast

When we got the idea for the show , it was understood that the mesmerising Fee Stephenson would be cast in the role of "Lizzy" (Riley's unreliable girlfriend) , fashioned after Amy Winehouse.  Her portrayal was simply uncanny. Like Amy, Lizzy's alcoholism and unfulfilled desire for love finally kill her.  

Alex Fraser, a young promising  artist in his own right, plays the part of "Brody" (Riley Cormac's best friend), fashioned after Kurt Cobain.   He wrote "The Dreamer" for Brody's opening song.  It helped that Alex and Sam Maxwell were existing friends already.    

Working with Shay Muddle is like working with royalty.  He's an instinctive natural actor, an inspirational singer, and he learned to play the blues with an old-fashioned feel.  Choosing him for the role of  "RJ"  (Owner of Club 27), inspired by Robert Johnson brought mana iinto the group, which set the tone for the rest of the cast.  

Shaun Vining was an easy choice for the former rock star/has-been rogue, absent-father "Jack" (Riley Cormac's father), based on Jim Morrison.  A natural comic and performer, Shaun understands the importance of being tragic but understated.  Because Jim died when he had already entered obscurity it seemed fitting that he would be the character clinging to former notoriety. 

Charlotte Graf has read every conceivable piece of written work on Janis Joplin.  Asking her to play the role of "Ruby", (a surrogate mother to Riley Cormac) a once famous singer who  cannot reconcile giving up her child for her career, was a no-brainer.  Naturally she aced the role and brought the audience to tears.

Emmet McCarthy who was conveniently discovered while working on a friend's building project just happened to be able to shred a guitar as wickedly as Jimi Hendrix.  He plays "Electric Man", the outsider who steals Lizzie's heart and vanishes just as quickly as he appears.  Emmet was a once-in-a-lifetime find on a working VISA from Ireland.  

Sam Maxwell proved his 'star quality' with the cameo part of "Bobby" in California Dreaming.  He went on to win Songstars 2013, and  caught the eye of NZ music icon Mike Chunn, invited up to Auckland to record at the now defunct York St. Studios.  He was the natural choice to play the part of our protagonist "Riley Cormac".  His acting skills proved equally impressive.  

Young musician, Holly Hoogvliet was enjoying a holiday at home when she offered to help out (she helped paint the graffiti'd backdrop for the 27 Club).  She was quickly cast as "Michelle", the ex-girlfriend of Riley, now current wife of Brody.  Although Holly claims she doesn't particularly like acting, she is a natural. 

Josh Mehrtens (Mild Orange) was cast as "New Kid" after seeing his performance in his Highschool production.  Josh fit right into the role of the promising young artist set displace Riley Cormac as the 'next big thing'.  Josh wrote "That'll Be Me" for his character in "27".  

Jason Medina (pictured centre with his stable of artists) painted a very convincing picture of  Music Industry Big-wig "Don Bucks" .  A native of Utah, his American accent was the perfect touch needed. 

Margaret O'Hanlon chose to play the "Two-Headed Monster" (Devil) herself, writing the opening song "I Can Take You Higher" in the spirit of "Sympathy For The Devil".

Kay Turner with her two faced creation.

No Whirlwind Production can have integrity without the magic touch of Art Director/Wardrobe Designer Kay Turner.  It is Kay who created the circus inspired/Harlequin minstrels for the opening of Act 2.  Kay was also the mastermind of the "Two-faced Monster", a difficult assignment on a limited budget. 

The Company

Whirlwind have a tradition of "The Company", in essense the individuals who really carry the show.  Without the very talented company of singing, dancing actors, the show cannot go on.  We had the idea that our "Company" would play the open-mic patrons, the Riley Cormac groupies, and the strange Victorian Vaude-villian minstrals.  Opening the show as gypsy clowns (Rock-n-Roll circus) was possibly the most fun we've had in years.

L-R Nicole McLean (Choreographer), Thomas Brinsley (Songwriter), Yukin Naidoo, Katy Anderson (Songwriter), Graham Craig, Haley Purdon (Choreographer).  Pictured Right: Paul Halsted

1

"I Can Take You Higher"

Words and Music by Margaret O'Hanlon

(2013)

All rights reserved/Used by Permission

Performed by Margaret O'Hanlon

4

"Rehab"

Words and Music by Amy Winehouse

(2006)

Licensed by APRA

Performed by Fee Stephenson

7

"Piece of My Heart"

Words and Music by Jerry Ragovoy & Bert Berns

(1967) 

Licensed by APRA

Performed by Charlotte Graf

10

"Point Of View"

Words and Music by Max Gunn

(2011) 

All Rights Reserved/Used by Permission

Performed by Sam Maxwell

13

"Where Did You Sleep Last Night"("In The Pines")

Traditional Spritual

Performed by Alex Fraser

16

"Rock On"

Words and Music by David Essex

(1973) 

Licensed by APRA

Performed by Sam Maxwell

19

"Maybe"

Words and Music by Richard Barrett & Arlene Smith 

(1957) 

Licensed by APRA

Performed by Charlotte Graf

22

"That'll Be Me"

Words and Music by Josh Mehrtens

(2013) 

All Rights Reserved/Used by Permission

Performed by Josh Mehrtens

The Songs

2

"The Dreamer"

Words and Music by Alex Fraser

(2013)

All rights reserved/Used by Permission

Performed by Alex Fraser

5

"Nobody Wants To Be Lonely"

Words and Music by Katy Anderson

(2013)

All rights reserved/Used by Permission

Performed by Shaun Vining

8

"Hallelujah"

Words and Music by Leonard Cohen

(1984) 

Licensed by APRA

Performed by Paul Halsted, Haley Purdon, Katy Anderson, Thomas Brinsley, Yukin Naidoo, Nicole McLean & Graham Craig

11

"All Day and All Of The Night"

Words and Music by The Kinks

(1964) 

Licensed by APRA

Performed by Shaun Vining

14

"The Show Must Go On"

Words and Music by Leo Sayer & David Courtney 

(1973) 

Licensed by APRA

Performed by Paul Halsted, Haley Purdon, Katy Anderson, Thomas Brinsley, Yukin Naidoo, Nicole McLean & Graham Craig

17

"My Secret Life"

Words and Music by Katy Anderson

(2013) 

All Rights Reserved/Used by Permission

Performed by Sam Maxwell

20

"Love Is A Losing Game"

Words and Music by Amy Winehouse

(2006)

Licensed by APRA

Performed by Fee Stephenson

23

"Sweet Home Chicago"

Words and Music by Robert Johnson

(1936) 

Licensed by APRA

Performed by Shay Muddle

3

"Mercedes Benz"

Words and Music by Janis Joplin, Michael McClure, and Bob Neuwirth.

(1970)

Licensed by APRA

Performed by Charlotte Graf

6

"Crossroads"

Words and Music by Robert Johnson

(1936) 

Licensed by APRA

Performed by Shay Muddle

9

"The Demon In Me"

Words and Music by Emmet McCarthy

(2013) 

All Rights Reserved/Used by Permission

Performed by Emmet McCarthy

12

"Back To Black"

Words and Music by Amy Winehouse

(2006)

Licensed by APRA

Performed by Fee Stephenson &

Holly Hoogvliet

15

"Black Is The Colour (Of My True Love's Hair)"

Traditional Celtic 

Performed by Holly Hoogvliet

18

"Through The Window"

Music by Emmet McCarthy

(2013) 

All Rights Reserved/Used by Permission

Performed by Emmet McCarthy

21

"Fear Of Heights"

Words and Music by Thomas Brinsley

(2011) 

All Rights Reserved/Used by Permission

Performed by Sam Maxwell

24

"Everybody Is A Star"

Words and Music by Sylvester Stewart

(1969)

Licensed by APRA

Performed by Cast & Company of "27"

Gallery