Roo beauty: Brisbane theatre company heading for the Big Apple

Renowned for their sixty-minute musicals Brisbane outfit Theatreroo is now heading for New York where the locals have taken to their less is more approach to theatre.


Jun 28, 2024, updated Jun 28, 2024
The cast of Theatreroo's hit show Baby Boomers - Travis Holmes, Harmony Breen, Joel O'Brien and McKiera Cumming.

The cast of Theatreroo's hit show Baby Boomers - Travis Holmes, Harmony Breen, Joel O'Brien and McKiera Cumming.

Local Brisbane production company Theatreroo is taking its unique brand of pub theatre style sixty-minute musicals to the New York stage.

Theatreroo Producer Clarry Evans is moving to New York in July to oversee their new show Honeyland, at downtown New York’s Triad Theatre.

“We’ve been around for a long, long time,” Evans says. “We’ve been producing forever and we mainly write things ourselves. We’ve got nine shows up our sleeve and we’re going to New York.

“New York is bloody hard in some ways, and it’s bloody easy in others. If you do a good show in New York, you don’t have any problems. The New Yorkers love theatre and if anything’s half decent, you will get an audience. If we fail, it won’t be New York audiences, it’ll mean that the show just doesn’t appeal.

“So, we will have to take that on the chin, but according to all our advice, we’re going to do really, really well.”

Theatreroo’s shows include Boadicea: A Celtic Cabaret, Macbeth: Contemporary Rock Opera, Perfect World, Live at the Trocadero and Utopia – the Paraguay Experiment.

Evans says it’s been a long-held dream of his and co-writer and director Denny Lawrence to put on a Theatreroo production in New York, after their success in Brisbane with long-running shows at PIP Theatre in Milton, The Basement at Bowen Hills and also in Melbourne.

Honeyland is scheduled for an eight-performance season in New York in October and November, with auditions for the new all-American cast in September. Denny Lawrence will also direct the show in New York.

It’s is loosely based on the company’s last hit – Baby Boomer – which ran for five months straight in Brisbane in 2023 – but this time around with adaptations for an American audience. As well as the title change, the show will now be set in Boston.

While it’s been a long time in the planning, Evans admits it’s no easy task producing a show in New York, with his most recent attempt in 2019 thwarted by the pandemic.

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“In 2008, I went over and thought – oh, I’ll have a look at the theatre scene and see what’s going on,” Evans says. “And I just got the feel of it. Now I’ve got the lawyers setting up a business called Theatreroo USA and I will be moving over there very soon.

“If things go wrong, if we get laughed out of town, I’ll come back to Brisbane and lick my wounds. But we’re going to give it a good crack.

“The feedback we’ve got has been so spectacular from the people who have seen the shows.”

While he’s disappointed that the company has to use an American cast for Honeyland, Evans hopes that if this run is successful they will be able to take some of their shows on the road with an Australian cast.

“We are a Brisbane company and would love to showcase Brisbane and Australian actors in New York,” he says. “This won’t happen for Honeyland but definitely will be part of our future productions because of the Australian context of many of our shows.”

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