Natalie Gamsu - 'Carmen Frida Leon Davidovich' & Co-Creator
Natalie Gamsu is a singer, actor and cabaret artist whose performances have been acclaimed in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Sydney and Johannesburg.
Born in Namibia, Natalie studied Drama at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She established a strong following with her own solo cabaret shows, musical theatre, and the television series, The Big Time, for which she won, Best Actress in a TV series.
From 1992 until 2003, Natalie lived and worked in New York City. She made her Manhattan cabaret debut at the Greenwich Village cabaret room, Club 88, where she subsequently headlined six seasons with her own shows. She went on to perform at the famous Oak Room, Fez, and The Russian Tea Room. She won the Backstage Bistro Award for Outstanding Vocalist and a MAC Award for Outstanding Female Vocalist in 1997 and 2000. Her debut CD Weave also received a MAC nomination for Best New Recording.
Natalie featured in the documentary Showbiz Is My Life with the cabaret icon Julie Wilson and Baby Jane Dexter.
In 1996, she made her London debut at the ICA, in Gary Carter’s Acts And Revelations. They collaborated again in 2000 at The Birmingham Repertory Theatre with Anger Is Not A Place I Like To Be commissioned by the Fierce Festival. Masque Of Water, commissioned by Queer Up North was performed at The Royal Exchange in Manchester in 2005.
Since moving to Australia in 2003, Natalie has performed in clubs in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. She continues to create her own one-woman shows, recently producing her second CD, Misfit.
Natalie has been delighted to collaborate with the extraordinary artist and sculptor Ken Unsworth, singing with a 19-piece orchestra for his installation A Ringing Glass at Cockatoo Island, and at the Art Gallery of NSW in House of Blue Leaves.
Some of Gamsu’s theatre credits include Candide (Woman With One Buttock – Multiple Award Winner), Dr Zhivago (GFO), Mary Poppins, (Miss Andrew – Disney), Women Of Troy (directed by Barry Kosky for Sydney Theatre Company). Most recently, she originated the role of Abuela in Baz Luhrman’s Strictly Ballroom (Global Creatures) and most recently played Magda in Ladies In Black for QTC/MTC directed by Simon Phillips.
Natalie also works on the large and small screens. Her most recent credits include the on-going role of Jan Barton in the long running Australian soap Neighbours, and the role of Fatima in the Feature Film, Ali’s Wedding, (Matchbox Films).
Natalie will next be seen performing the role of Rose in Darlinghurst Nights (director Lee Lewis) for The Hayes Theatre Co, opening in January 2018.
Craig Harwood - Writer & Co-Creator
In 2007 Harwood began work on a documentary about Christine Jorgensen, the first famous transsexual from 1953. That documentary evolved into a feature film called The Most Famous Woman in the World which won best screenplay in 2009 at Newfest as well as being accepted into Outfest’s prestigious screenwriters lab in Los Angeles. In 2011, The Most Famous Woman was a finalist in Table Read My Screenplay – Screenplay Contest at Sundance. His next piece, Hunting Paradise, which is based on the life of Huntington Hartford, the heir to the A & P fortune, was a finalist at The Amsterdam Film Festival Screenwriting Competition.
Harwood is currently complete the short film Anchovies which won best short screenplay at The Hollywood Screenplay Contest and The Indie Gathering International Film Festival – 2015 after premiering at the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Anchovies recently won best LGBT short at the London International Short Film Festival and best screenplay at The DAMN Film Festival in NYC.
Craig has written several plays including, Pink, Trick or Treat and Sex Drugs and Nuclear War. He just completed a successful workshop in NYC as the book writer and co lyricist to his first musical – Excuse me, there’s a Faggot in My Closet with composer Sxip Shirey and has been hard at work finishing the most recent script for the official world premiere of Carmen, Live or Dead. He was a finalist in 2004 at The Bay Area Playwrights Festival.
In addition, Mr. Harwood has been a successful producer. In 1998, Harwood produced Dream Analysis, a critically acclaimed and award winning off-Broadway play by the Mark Dendy Dance and Theater Company in NYC. In 2004, Paternal Instinct, a documentary about two gay men who have a child with a surrogate mother, premiered on HBO/Cinemax. Paternal Instinct won numerous awards including the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 2004 New York Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Harwood’s last documentary, Gender Rebel, premiered on Logo in 2006, followed the lives of three biological females who don’t consider themselves either male or female, but something in between.
iOTA - Composer & Lyricist
iOTA ticks all the boxes: composer, singer, feature film and stage actor, writer, dancer, voice-over artist, rock star and iconoclast. His unique and extraordinary talents have been recognised with no less than six ARIA Award nominations, four Helpmann Awards, plus Green Room and Sydney Theatre Critics’ Awards.
Notable film credits include roles in The Great Gatsby, and the flame-throwing guitarist, Coma the Doof Warrior, in Mad Max: Fury Road.
iOTA’s recent stage appearances include The Average Joe (Fringe World Festival, Perth), the touring Bowie tribute, David Bowie: Nothing Has Changed, and his very own musical rock-odyssey, B-Girl staged at the Sydney Opera House. He made his theatrical debut in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, going on to star as Frank ‘n Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, following this up with the acclaimed Sydney Festival sensation Smoke & Mirrors, and yet another sell-out show, Young, Hard & Solo.
He has released seven critically-acclaimed albums, the most recent being Wolf Number 9.
iOTA is in his element as the singing voice of Walter the Blue Slug in Beat Bugs the animated children’s series inspired by the songs of The Beatles.
Elise McCann - Executive Producer - Oriel Entertainment Group
Elise McCann is the Executive Producer of Carmen, Live or Dead and the creator and owner of Oriel Entertainment Group.
Oriel Group is an emerging independent production house for Theatre and Film, established in 2014 to facilitate opportunities for Australian artists and creatives to bring to life their passion projects.
Elise was a co-creator in association with Luckiest Productions on Everybody Loves Lucy, which premiered in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide in 2014, following which it embarked on an 8 week national tour in 2015 and a 3 month regional tour in 2017.
Oriel Group’s first independent venture was the critically acclaimed one man play I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright, directed by Shaun Rennie and starring theatre and television star Ben Gerrard. I Am My Own Wife ran a sell out season at the Old Fitz Theatre in Sydney in November/December of 2015 through which Ben was nominated in the 2015 Sydney Theatre Awards for Most Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play for his performance as Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf. I Am My Own Wife then went on to appear at fortyfivedownstairs as a Premier Production in the 2017 Midsumma Festival, receiving unanimous critical acclaim and box office success. It most recently toured to the Brisbane Powerhouse for a strictly limited sell out season in April 2017 and will be embarking on a return Queensland season at the QUT Gardens Theatre in October 2018.
In April of 2017 Oriel produced the development of Carmen, Live or Dead, written by New York writer Craig Harwood for one of Australia’s most diverse and exciting theatre and cabaret actors – Natalie Gamsu, directed by Shaun Rennie with original music composed by iOTA.
Carmen, Live or Dead underwent a two week development and a 6 show performance run at The Butterfly Club in Melbourne throughout April 2017 after which it underwent a second stage development in New York with writer Craig Harwood and dramturge Natasha Singha. It had its official world premiere production in Sydney at the Hayes Theatre in April/May 2018, after which it transferred to the prestigious Adelaide Cabaret Festival in June 2018.
Elise most recently developed the world premiere concert/cabaret Dahlesque which premiered at the 2017 Adelaide Cabaret Festival in June 2017 featuring music from adaptations of Roald Dahl stories all played with a 9 piece orchestra. Dahlesque was then re-orchestrated for a 40 piece orchestra ahead of its Melbourne premiere at the Malthouse Theatre with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in April 2018. Dahlesque was released as an album of music with ABC Music/Universal Music in June 2017.
Shaun Rennie - Director
Shaun is a recipient of the 2017 Sandra Bates Directors Award at the Ensemble Theatre.
Most recently Shaun directed Only Heaven Knows at the Hayes Theatre Co (Luckiest Productions) and a staged reading of Tennessee Williams’ Baby Doll (Ensemble Theatre). Other directing credits include RENT (2016 Broadway World Award for Best Director of a Musical), You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (nomination for Best Director of a Musical, 2016 Sydney Theatre Awards), I Am My Own Wife (Oriel Group/Redline), Carmen, Live or Dead (Oriel Group), Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson for the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), and Wicked (Freerain Theatre Company, Canberra),
He was Assistant Director on A Christmas Carol (The Tabard Theatre, London) and Resident Director on Once We Lived Here (The Kings Head, London). I Am My Own Wife toured to 45 Downstairs, Melbourne and The Brisbane Powerhouse in 2017.
As a recipient of the Sandra Bates Directors Award, Shaun worked as Assistant Director on two 2017 productions; Neville’s Island and Lip Service.
Shaun co-created Light the Night, an annual benefit concert for leukaemia research, which he produced and directed for 10 years.
Andrew Kroenert - Musical Director, Musical Arranger & 'Angel'
Andrew has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Music and Drama from Monash University.
His performing credits include; Jamie Wellerstein in The Last 5 Years, Stuart Dalrymple in Brigadoon (The Production Company), Priest/Guard in Jesus Christ Superstar (The Pro,duction Company), Angel/Musical Director Carmen Live Or Dead (Oriel Entertainment), Swing in the World Premier of Dream Lover (GFO Sydney, Melbourne), Peter in Company (Watch This), Avram in Fiddler On The Roof (TML), Angel City Tenor/Various in City Of Angels (Life Like Company), Jim Greene in Show Boat (The Production Company), Fisherman/ Warrior/British Admiral/Sailor in Pacific Overtures (Watch This), Sid in the Original Australian Premiere cast of Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang (TML), Buddy in Buddy; The Buddy Holly Story (Showbiz Christchurch), Buddy (Alternate) Buddy; The Buddy Holly Story (LTPA) and the World Premier of Virgins; A Musical Threesome (Echelon), and its subsequent reincarnations at the New York Musical Theatre Festival and Victorian Regional Tour.
Andrew is featured on the original cast recordings of Bryant and Frank’s Virgins; A Musical Threesome and Once We Lived Here.
Musical Direction credits include; Ugly Duckling (Melbourne Fringe Festival), Carmen, Live or Dead (Oriel Entertainment), 27 Club (Butterfly Club, QLD Tour), Paw Patrol Live; Race To The Rescue, Scooby Doo; Level Up,
Peppa Pig Live; Treasure Hunt, Peppa Pig Live; Big Splash, Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom Live (Life Like Touring, National Tour), Barney Live! World Tour (Life Like Tour- ing), Scooby Doo Live! Musical Mysteries (Life Like Touring, South Africa Tour.), Rocking The House With Mickey Mouse (Disney Special Events), Showtune Sweethearts (Morning Melodies, Hamer Hall), Tinderella (Chapel Off Chapel), Up Close and Reasonably Personal (Amanda Harrison, Butterfly Club)
Stefanie Jones - 'Delilah'
Stefanie’s music theatre career began at the age of seven when she appeared as Young Eponine in Cameron Mackintosh’s 10th Anniversary Tour of Les Miserables. The following year she was cast in SEL & GFO’s production of The Sound of Music performing the role of Brigitta.
In 2011, Stefanie graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts having completed a Bachelor of Music Theatre and whilst at the VCA, received the Cassidy Bequest Fund Award on behalf of the University of Melbourne Trust. Stefanie has trained extensively in dance, having studied with the Queensland Ballet through their Junior Extension Program, and also holds her Associate Diploma in Music for Violin.
Professional theatre credits include Liesl in The Sound of Music (RUG/GFO), Jean in Brigadoon (The Production Company), Dream Lover: The Bobby Darin Musical (GFO/Gilbert Theatrical), Once (MTC/GFO), South Pacific (Opera Australia/GFO), the Sydney workshop for King Kong The Musical (Global Creatures) and Thomas and the Hidden Treasure (AKA). Stefanie was also a finalist in the ANZ Trustees prestigious Rob Guest Endowment Competition in 2016.
Screen credits include Molly (M4Entertainment/Seven Network), The Divorce (Princess Pictures/Opera Australia) and the role of Megan Dennison in Neighbours. She also tours nationally as a vocalist and musician for The Little Red Company. Stefanie is thrilled to be reprising her role as Delilah in Carmen, Live or Dead at The Hayes Theatre, and is a proud member of Actor’s Equity.
Shauna Lovisetto - Costume Designer
Shauna has had a long career making and designing costumes for theatre, opera, television, tv commercials and film… from Cape Town to Adelaide to Melbourne.
Some favourites include Sweeney Todd for State Opera of South Australia, King Lear for STC of SA as costume supervisor and more recently, as designer for TV series including Satisfaction, Tangle, Please Like Me and most recently Get Krackin.
Dann Barber - Set Designer
Dann is a theatre designer, scenic artist and theatre maker.
As a NIDA Design Graduate in 2014 and RMIT Fine Arts Drawing Graduate in 2011, Dann has designed numerous shows including: Angels in America at Fortyfivedownstairs (Dirty Pretty Theatre 2017), Thomas Murray and The Upside Down River by Reg Cribb (Griffin 2016), Young and Jackson by Don Reid at Fortyfivedownstairs (2017), Age of Bones (La Mama 2017); the Critical Stages tour of Stones in his Pockets (2017) and The Coronation of Poppea (Lyric Opera 2017).
He is a regular collaborator with Director Benjamin Schostakowski, designing A Tribute of Sorts (Queensland Theatre 2014), Klutz: A tragic comedy (Brisbane Festival 2014); and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (La Boite Theatre Company 2015). He assisted Gabriela Tylesova with costume design for Sleeping Beauty (Australian Ballet 2015).
Dann is the founder of the newly established Melbourne-based theatre company Goodnight Darlings and he made his directorial debut with Rainbow Man at Fortyfivedownstairs in 2017.
Benjamin Brockman - Lighting Designer
Bens Lighting Design Credits Include – For Griffin Theatre Company: Replay, Diving For Pearls, 2016 Season Launch, 2018 Season Launch; For Ensemble Theatre: Tribes, The Big Dry, The Plant, Neville’s Island, Baby Doll; For Darlinghurst Theatre Company: Broken, Detroit, Mother Fucker With a Hat, Tinder Box; For Sport For Jove: Away, Macbeth; For Mad March Hare: Bengal Tiger at Baghdad Zoo, Belleville, Dark Vanilla Jungle, Shivered; For Bakehouse Theatre Company: The Laden Table, Jatinga, Straight; For Bontom: Chamber pot Opera (Sydney), Chamber Pot Opera (Adelaide Fringe), Chamber Pot Opera (Edinburgh Fringe Festival); For New Theatre; The Cherry Orchard, When the Rain Stops Falling, That Eye the Sky; For Spark Youth Theatre; Political Children; For Squabbalogic: Grey Gardens The Musical, Mystery Musical, Man of La Mancha; For Brevity Theatre Company: Space Cats, Tender Napalm, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Fully Committed, Wittenberg; For Sly Rat Theatre Company: Midsummers Night Dream, Doomsday Devices, The Tempest; For Performance 4a; Through a Distant Lens; For Unhappen: Mr. Kolpert, Awkward Conversations with Animals I have Fucked, Cough, Animal/People, Light Box, Kill the PM; For Burley Theatre Company: Beautiful Thing, Importance of Being Earnest; For Outhouse theatre: The Aliens; For Stories Like These: Music; For Loud Mouth Theatre Company; Those who fall in love like anchors dropped on the ocean floor; For Venarubles Entertainment: NSW Senior Citizens Regional concert 2015 and 2016; For Kings Colective: Wonderful World Of Dissocia For Supply Evolutions: Bring it On the Musical; For Elective Productions: Decay, Machine; For Peter Fray Presents: Nil By Sea, Blue Italian; For Tooth and Sinew: Scenes from and Execution; For Somersalt Theatre Company: My Name is Truda Vitz; For Brief Candle: Four Dogs and a Bone; For Fly on the Wall; November Spawned a Monster; For MEI Entertainment: Smurfs Live on Stage; For Redline Productions: Master Calss; For the Conservatorium of Music: Little Woman, Cosi Fan Tutti; For New England Opera: Carmen; For Pacific Opera: Opera Work Shop; For Old 505: River; For Slip of the Tongue: Europe; For Beside Ourselves Collective: Great Island; For NIDA: The Labyrinth, Push Up, Frenzy for Two, The Collection, Richard the III, The Space Between the Fuel and the Fire For Sydney Grammar: The Cherry Orchard, La Cage Aux Folles, Arganotika, 39 Steps, Becket, Phantom Toll Booth, Spamalot, Macbeth; For Cranbrook School; Rhinos, Lord of the Flies; For Newington College; 39 Steps, Lion King Jr., Frank Sparrow; For AFTT: Love and Information, Much ado About Nothing, Rome and Juliet ; For AIM: Embers, Aftershocks, Love and Marriage, A month in the Country, The Engagement; For ASCHAM: Susical the Musical, The Little Mermaid; For Lane Cove Public: The Little Mermaid; For Pymble’s Ladies College: Embers.
Ben’s Website with his portfolio and upcoming productions can be found at: www.benjaminbrockmandesigns.com
Carly Fisher - Company Manager/ Assistant Director
Carly is a graduate of UNSW in Theatre and Performance Studies. Most recently, Carly worked as a Production Assistant on Michael Seider’s Presents’ Alice in Wonderland for Sydney Festival.
Carly has also been lucky to conduct secondments in Company Management with Gordon Frost Organisations’ The Wizard of Oz and in PR and Advertising with Ian Phipps Publicity and ACMN.
Carly was privileged to direct and co-produce the University of New South Wales Theatrical Society’s (NUTS) major musical The Addams Family, as well as Assistant Direct Savages by Patricia Cornelius and Assistant Direct and Produce War Crimes by Angela Betzien.
Carly is very excited to be joining the Carmen, Live or Dead team!
Stephanie Thackray - Stage Manager
Michelle Smitheram - Assistant Stage Manager
Michelle is originally from Melbourne and her acting credits include SPAMALOT, CHICAGO, HAIRSPRAY, JERSEY BOYS, PARADE, NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT, GEORGY GIRL, DREAM LOVER, CABARET & ROCKY HORROR.
As Michelle expands her skills and knowledge of the theatre industry, she has worked as assistant director/choreographer on HIGH FIDELITY, production assistant on GREASE THE ARENA SPECTACULAR and is excited to join the team as ASM for CARMEN LIVE OR DEAD.
Matt Erren - Assistant Stage Manager
Matthew Erren is currently in his second year of study to become a Lighting Designer at the Western Austrlian Academy of Performing Arts. During his time at WAAPA Matthew has worked on shows such as In The Heights and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson Directed By Shaun Rennie. Matthew also is a production technician at the University of Western Australia working on Barbershop Chronicles and other touring shows. Once graduated from WAAPA Matthew hopes to work on Productions and Musicals in a range of Technical roles.