Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Audition Dramaturgy: Michael Sharmon @ Edfringe 2017

Original musical, 
debuts at the 70th Anniversary Edinburgh Festival Fringe

the new hit musical conceived and written in Hong Kong.

The show premiered in 2016, selling out and receiving rave reviews. Acclaimed author, Sarah Brennan describes it as “spell binding, “poignant”, “searing”, and “…with humour aplenty”. 

Venue: Grassmarket 2
Dates: 15.30, August 3-13 

AUDITIONS is about four performers from across the globe who take the audience on a journey of all the highs, lows, embarrassing and often hilarious experiences that occur to artists. 

What was the inspiration for this performance?

The audition process for a performer is a very topical issue in performing arts. The movie La La Land highlighted the insane pressures that performers go through when they audition. A recent article in the British Press highlighted and reinforced the stress associated with the current audition process. 

Many well respected actors such as Sir Patrick Stewart, Dame Julie Walters and Sir Mark Rylance have all gotten behind a campaign wanting to change the current audition process.

As a child I saw the show “A Chorus Line” and absolutely loved it, but after I began working as a professional performer and going for multiple auditions, I felt there was room to create a show that highlighted the highs and lows of going for auditions, not just for a chorus line of dancers, but also for actors, singers and voice over artists. 

Our opening title song, “Auditions”, depicts
what a performer needs to go through to prepare themselves for an audition. This was the genesis behind the show, and the concept, the story and the characters came from my own experiences, as well as revelations of friends.

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas?

I think performance will always be a necessary space for public discussion. Sometimes, the decision makers in our various countries across the globe can diminish the power of performance, by not giving it the support it deserves. The song “Art”, the finale of the show, highlights the importance of performance and the relationship between the artists and their audience.

How did you become interested in making performance?

Both myself and my business partner Sandra Leung Waters are from Australia and have been performing since we were children. Meeting each other in Hong Kong, we were very keen to create a company that focused on musical performances. 

Musicals, cabaret shows and concerts. We have been going for seven years and in that time, we have done hundreds of different shows and worked across the world, but this is our first time bringing a show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

The approach was to be as honest as possible in the story we told. So even people outside of the industry can relate to the show because the issues the characters face are things all of us can identify with. 

My objective with the music was to create songs that were memorable, but also covered a range of different styles, from jazz to musical theatre.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

This show compliments the work we have produced and continue to produce very well. We are always trying to find new ways to tell a story and we are very excited and proud of what we have created. 

AUDITIONS had its official premiere in Hong Kong in 2016, and opened to a sold out house and glowing reviews. We've flown the original cast and crew out from Hong Kong. Edinburgh audiences will be treated to a revamped production of the show that we have modified for touring.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope that the audience will be entertained, but also enlightened about an industry that is constantly changing, but first and foremost I hope the audience feels inspired. The song “Who I Am” is where the characters all bare their hearts and souls towards the end of the show. 

Without the audience, performers will not be able to continue to be creative and produce new pieces of art. So I would love the audience to walk away from the show committed to their support of live theatre.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

Being part of the biggest Arts Festival in the world is not an opportunity that we take for granted, but we believe we are offering a different point of view, and a glimpse into some of the issues that performers face such as racial prejudice, ageism and abuse. 

We tell the story in a heartwarming, touching and humorous way that makes it accessible to a wide audience. We hope audiences will enjoy coming to see our show in the afternoon - after they have enjoyed their lunch and before they plan their activities for the evening. 

It’s only an hour, but one of the characters, Vivian, sings, “….if there is one thing that I know, it’s how to give a show…” - and we hope the audience walks away having spent one hell of an afternoon with us.

We follow the four characters as they share their audition experiences, each on their own path, as they reveal candid and intimate stories about the entertainment industry. The show deals with the harsh realities of show business - sexual abuse, ageism, and art versus commercialism. It features both humorous and poignant moments, as well as a surprise twist at the end. 

In these unsettling times when the world is in chaos, AUDITIONS reminds us why “art” is essential not only for the soul, but to help enlighten, entertain and inspire us

Writer, Michael Sharmon, saw “A Chorus Line” as a young boy and it left an indelible mark on him. Over the years he often thought it would be interesting to tell the story of other performers each dealing with rejection, and those unforgettable breaks that every performer hopes for. 

He wanted to tell the story of not only dancers, but also singers and actors, and this led to AUDITIONS. He based the story on his own experiences, as well as friends’ revelations, and hopes the show will shed insight into the struggles and joys that every performer faces. 

Sharmon explains, “This is not just a story for artists, but for anyone who is brave enough to follow their dreams.” 

The original cast recording is already out on iTunes – featuring eleven of the fourteen songs in the show - from toe tapping show tunes, to melodic anthems, to witty Broadway numbers.

For Edinburgh, we have brought back together the talented original cast – whose diverse performing credits cover Asia, Australia, England and the USA. Some say it’s the easiest job in the world to be a performer and anyone can do it. Find out for yourself when AUDITIONS opens August 3. 

Show Category: Musicals and Opera


Golden Voice Entertainment specializes in creating, developing and producing professional musical theatre experiences. 

From intimate cabaret acts to lavish theatrical productions, GVE guarantees a quality performance. Headquartered in Hong Kong, our team is made up of the best in the industry. This broad spectrum of expertise in the field of musical theatre production ensures that a GVE production is always a magical experience.

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