THE Island of Dr Moron, a musical written and produced by Chris Dockrill, was officially launched to the world at Lou’s Cafe on Wednesday.
The musical will premiere in Sydney in November.
Mr Dockrill, his wife Lyn, who wrote the music for the show, and key cast members were on hand to give the audience a small taste of what they can expect.
The show has a budget described as “a substantial six-figure sum,” with about $160,000 of that coming from investors in the Macleay Valley.
Mr Dockrill first produced the show in 1998 in his role as head drama teacher at Kempsey High School.
Mr Dockrill has created a new live theatre venue from scratch, transforming a disused cinema in Sydney’s Oxford St into a 250-seat theatre.
Very loosely based on the H.G. Wells novel ‘The Island of Dr Moreau’ and subsequent movies of the same name, the show features an experienced and talented cast.
It is headed by American James Berkley in the lead role of Dr Moron, and Australian stage actor Amanda Stella Webb.
They could hardly contain their excitement at being part of the show.
“Believe me, it has the potential to be something really special,” Mr Berkley said.
“I have appeared on Broadway in a $20 million production of Miss Saigon and the talent in this show is more than a match for that, the singers, the dancers, the band, everything about the production is top quality and it is most definitely not a ‘small town’ show.
“It is also very exciting for me as an actor to be the first one to play the part, or I should say the first professional actor to play the part.
“Usually you are following in someone’s footsteps in a role that has been seen many times before.
“This is an opportunity you don’t get very often and it very exciting.”
Ms Webb said the singing part of her role was probably the most challenging.
“I have a background as a singer, dancer and actor, but it is definitely a singing role,” she said.
“Working with Chris has been great as he has allowed us to develop our characters and really work with them; he is very open to suggestions.
“The venue is also very special, there is literally not a bad seat in the house and it will make for a very intimate experience for the audience.”
A couple of the show’s quirkier characters were also at the launch, a pair of manic dwarfs, ‘Fitter’ (Tim Victory) and ‘Turner (Jim Chapman) who play the roles of the evil Dr Moron’s henchmen.
“It really is a gift to be a part of the show,” Mr Chapman said.
“It is the most exciting production I have been involved with.”
Mr Victory said it was a bit of a reunion for himself, Ms Webb and Mr Chapman.
“We actually all started our careers together in a production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1987,” he said.
Mr Dockrill has confidence his production will be a success.
“I have absolutely no doubts about it whatsoever,” he said.
“Maybe some of the matinees might be harder to sell out but with the quality of the cast and crew we have assembled I can only see us going on to bigger and better things.”