Meet the Creatives behind The Who's Tommy

9 Jan 2022

The Who’s Tommy lands in Melbourne on the Palais Theatre stage next month! Let's go behind the curtain and meet the talented team of seasoned creatives who are bringing this production to life.

Musical Director Jack Earle 

Jack Earle is a pianist, trumpet player, vocalist, conductor and composer. He is well established in the music industry as a performer and accompanist in multiple genres, with an esteemed reputation in musical theatre circles as a pit musician, orchestrator, and musical director. Most recent shows include Dream Lover, Evita and Kiss of The Spider Woman. Jack regularly records and performs as musical director and/or band member for world class artists such as Rhonda Burchmore, David Campbell, Kate Ceberano, and Tina Arena. Jack is also an in-demand jazz musician, playing around Australia with his premier ensembles The Jack Earle Big Band & The Jack Earle Trio. His extensive composition credits include 2 albums of original music, dance & theatre works, and numerous jingles for television and radio. Jack recently returned to Australia after studying at Berklee College of Music with a full tuition scholarship, and has a Christmas Album with Rhonda Burchmore set for release later in 2021.  

Associate Musical Director Phoebe Briggs 

BMus (University of Melbourne). Opera Australia music staff 2002 – 2012, Head of Music at Victorian Opera since October 2012. For Victorian Opera, Phoebe has conducted Sunday in the Park with George, Play of Herod, Sweeney Todd, Cendrillon, Four Saints in Three Acts (Green Room nomination), The Sleeping Beauty (Green Room nomination), Lorelei (Melbourne and Brisbane), Black Rider (Helpmann nomination, VO/Malthouse), A Little Night Music. Other companies: Opera in the Paddock (Opera Northwest), assistant/cover conductor Don Pasquale (IFAC/OA, Tokyo), The Magic Flute, Merry Widow, Fledermaus, The Pearlfishers, Così fan tutte, A Little Night Music, The Mikado (OA), Guys and Dolls (Ambassador Group).   

Director Roger Hodgman 

Roger has directed theatre, opera, musical theatre and television drama in Australia and internationally for many years. He was Artistic Director of MTC for twelve years.  
Operas include Lakme, Don Pasquale, Rigoletto (Opera Australia), Xerxes, Nixon in China (Green Room Award for Best Production), Flying Dutchman (Green Room Award for Best Director), Banquet of Secrets and Parsifal (Victorian Opera). Musicals include; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Sydney Critics Award for Best Musical); Fiddler on The Roof, A Little Night Music  (Green Room award for best director), Grey Gardens (Helpmann Award for Best Director), A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Ragtime. Television includes: Wentworth, , Secret Life of Us (AFI Best Director nomination,  Stepfather of the Bride (Chicago Film Festival Award for Best Telemovie).  

Set Designer Christina Smith

Christina has worked extensively as a set and costume designer over the last 20 years, designing for companies including Victorian Opera, New Zealand Opera, Seattle Opera, State Opera of South Australia, Opera Queensland, Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Playbox, Black Swan State Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre Company, The Production Company, Belvoir, Sydney Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare, WA Ballet and Australian Ballet. Recent productions for VO include Salome (set), Parsifal (costumes), Voyage to the Moon, Banquet of Secrets and The Flying Dutchman (set). Christina is also currently a lecturer in Design for Live Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts.  

Costume Designer Isaac Lummis 

Isaac is a Melbourne based costume designer & maker. Isaac’s design credits include Ragtime, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Greenroom Nomination 2020), A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, Oklahoma!, Brigadoon, Hello Dolly! (Greenroom Nomination 2018), Dusty, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Showboat and Promises, Promises for the Production Company. Isaac’s other design credits include the Seekers Musical Georgy Girl, Alice Through the Opera Glass, Alice’s Adventures in Operaland & Rush Hour for Victorian Opera, La Cage Aux Folles for Quirky Productions, My Life in the Nude for Maude Davey, Waltzing the Wilarra for Yirra Yaakin, As You Like It & Memmie LeBlanc for Deckchair Theatre, plus 12 Victorian State Schools Spectaculars. Isaac has created costumes for Barry Humphreys, Meow Meow, Rhonda Burchmore, and most recently, Karen from Finance for RuPauls Drag Race Downunder.  

Lighting Designer Matt Scott 

Matt is one of Australia’s leading lighting designers with 27 years experience in the industry designing more than 200 productions for theatre, opera, dance, and musical theatre. His work has been seen and received well both nationally and internationally. He returns to Victorian Opera having previously lit Parsifal, Banquet of Secrets, Voyage to the Moon, The Flying Dutchman, Nixon in China, The Rake’s Progress, Baroque Triple Bill, Turn of the Screw, Xerxes and Orphée et Eurydice for the Company. Other more recent work includes Fun Home (Sydney Theatre Company) Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Shakespeare in Love, Storm Boy, The Lady in the Van, The Architect (Melbourne Theatre Company); The Dance of Death (Belvoir); A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (The Production Company), Madama Butterfly and The Pearlfishers (SOSA). Matt has received two Helpmann Awards for Best Lighting Design and one Green Room Award for Best Design for an Opera. He is currently a Lecturer in Design (Lighting) at the University of Melbourne/Victorian College of the Arts. 

Choreographer Dana Jolly 

Dana’s career began at 9, playing baby Louise in “Gypsy”, at ‘Her Majesty’s Theatre’ Melbourne. She then trained at The Victorian College of Arts for 8 years before moving to London, where she spent 10 successful years performing and choreographing in the UK, Europe, and Scandinavia before returning to Australia. 
Dana’s choreography credits include 12 musicals for The Production Company, Australian tours of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Fiddler On The Roof and Respect, the opening of The Adelaide Cabaret Festival with Rhonda Burchmore, The Royal Variety Performance and Miss World Competition London, International Festivals, Television, and vast array of corporate work. 

Sound Designer Peter Grubb 

As Sound Supervisor Peter's credits include We Will Rock You, The Phantom of the Opera, Starlight Express, Aspects Of Love, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Five Guys Named Mo, Cats, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Sunset Boulevard and Rent! 
Peter was Associate Designer for the productions of Les Miserables in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Spamalot, Mamma Mia Australia and Matilda the musical Australia, New Zealand and Korea. 
Peter designed the sound for Cats South Africa, Beirut, Seoul, Shanghai and Taipei. Cats Tent Tour Australia and Korea, The Witches of Eastwick, Oliver Australian and US Tours, Avenue Q Australia and New Zealand, Miss Saigon Manila, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Brazil and Australia, Mary Poppins, A Little Night Music, Into The Woods, Company, Moonshadow, Strictly Ballroom the Musical and Sweeney Todd.  

Video Designer Jamie Clennett 

Tasmania designer, animator, and author/illustrator, Jamie Clennett, graduated NIDA (Design) in 2002. Initially a production designer (theatre and film) Jamie moved into video design. Apart from creating award-winning short animations Jamie has worked Internationally and at home for clients as diverse as Queensland Government, SBS, CSIRO, BBC, Picasso London, Passion Pictures, the Red Cross, and Norwegian Cruise Lines, amongst others. In 2008 Jamie created video for “Priscilla Queen of the Desert - The Musical”. Jamie has also created video for several other theatrical productions such as Shoes: The Musical (Sadler’s Wells, London), “Sleeping Horses Lie” (Terrapin Puppet Theatre, Hobart), “Little Shop Of Horrors” (Tinderbox, Melbourne), “Wild”, “Astroman”, & “Kiss Of The Spider Woman” (MTC). Jamie’s first graphic-novel, “The Diemenois” (2015), was shortlisted for the Aurealis Awards, won a silver Comic Arts Award, and was in competition for the Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Prize in 2017. 

The Who’s Tommy runs for a limited season at the Palais Theatre 22 February until 1 March 2022. Tickets available now

You can listen to the Tommy Spotify playlist here.