How two homegrown talents scored the epic rights to bring Disney in Concert to the local stage, all the while in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.
At the age of 33 and 28 respectively, Perth-born and raised Genevieve McCarthy and Amy Manford have had more “pinch me” moments than many could ever dream of.
For Genevieve, she counts her world premiere performance of a new musical titled Mythic and subsequently featuring on the original London cast recording album, then being nominated for best supporting actress at the London Stage Awards, amongst them.
For Amy, it’s performing for Andrew Lloyd Webber in The Phantom of the Opera in London’s West End, singing at The Sydney Opera House, performing for Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace, as well as for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at an Anzac Day Memorial Service in London.
Yet there is one iconic moment the duo share, and it was the phone call they received from Disney that confirmed their rights to produce the much-anticipated Disney in Concert in Perth.
“Amy and I both grew up absolutely besotted with the music and the movies of Disney,” says Genevieve. “We were real Disney kids, and for us to be able to work with an institution that’s so synonymous with excellence in the arts is a dream come true.”
After months of negotiations and 3am calls with the LA-based media and entertainment powerhouse, Amy and Genevieve got the call that would propel their newly created production company to the world-class stage.
It is a remarkable story of resilience and success in a time in the arts industry – and the world – that has sadly seen so many failures. After all, it was only 18-months ago when both Genevieve and Amy were immersed in the thriving performing arts scene in bustling London. Then COVID-19 hit.
“During the pandemic Genevieve moved back to Sydney just before the world fell into disarray, then I followed not long after before mandatory hotel quarantining was in place,” Amy said.
With their international careers cut short by the pandemic, and not ones to sit idle for long, the pair soon formed MM Creative Productions, combining the talents of internationally acclaimed performers and local rising stars to produce full-bodied concerts and semi-staged musicals.
Their debut production saw over 85 highly skilled musicians and creatives working together on the Perth Concert Hall stage to bring The Magical Music of Animation to local audiences. Produced within a tight five-week timeframe, it was by no means an easy feat. And snagging the rights to a Disney production just a few months later was, by their admission, a blend of both their skill and the current state of affairs across the globe.
“We were really lucky that when we approached Disney, concert halls and orchestras in Europe, America, Asia and the eastern states of Australia were not open or building programs,” Genevieve said. “I think they saw that while we were “green” and ambitious, they also saw that we have a real depth of experience behind us, having worked with some of the finest producers and on some of the most incredible stages in the world.”
Enticing crowds across three shows at Perth’s Riverside Theatre, Disney in Concert is exactly that – a concert, not a performance of characters – and will feature the magnificent West Australian Symphony Orchestra, with 65 members performing the spectacular Disney scores we’ve all come to know and love and a cast of musical theatre performers from around Australia.
Proving there is something for everyone, a huge nine-metre LED screen behind the ensemble will play all the original Disney footage, from the classics of Cinderella, The Little Mermaid and Beauty & the Beast to more recent hits like Moana and Frozen.
“For a child coming to the show, it is such a beautiful opportunity to be introduced to an orchestra for the first time in an accessible and fun way,” Amy said. “I think it’s really important to expose the younger generation to that.”
For tickets, visit https://bit.ly/2UedKgR