Maeve Marsden conducts rock musical ‘Lizzie’ at Hayes Theater Co

Twisted and energetic American rock musical about Lizzie Borden legend takes an Australian twist directed by Maeve Marsden

We’ve all heard the old rhyme somewhere: “Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother forty blows…” Lizzie Borden’s story is an American tradition. For those who do not know the history of the grizzly; on a sweltering summer morning in 1892, a prominent businessman and his wife were brutally ax-killed in their home. Their daughter Lizzie was the main suspect. His trial caused a stir in the media and his story became legend.

Lizzie the musical, with a book by Tim Maner and music and lyrics by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt, rose to popularity in the United States as a glam rock musical with four women leading a group of six musicians, influenced by artists like Bikini Kill, the Runaways and Heart.

In January, the musical finally sees its Australian debut take over the Hayes Theater, the beating heart of Sydney’s intimate musicals, with Maeve Marsden leading an all-female, non-binary cast and creative team.

Arguably the queen of queer and feminist Sydney cabaret and arty things, Marsden is the creator of acts like Lady sings better and the ruin of the mother, and popular live recorded podcast series Queerstories. His interpretation of Lizzie overturn the musical. The Australian production places the story in the Australian landscape and delves into the themes of murder, domestic violence and revenge while keeping its musical roots and concert rock spirit.

Appearing in Lizzie is a diverse group of artists with a rock, pop and cabaret background that does not fit the typology of those we would usually see centered on the main theater stages in Australia. The cast includes Marissa Saroca, Stefanie Caccamo, Ali Calder and Sarah Ward.

“I was attracted to Lizzie for its punchy score and nuanced approach to themes that interest me: nuclear family failures and traditional gender roles, queer love and desire, isolation and desire, ”explains Marsden. “It’s a true story that feels surprisingly contemporary and asks interesting questions about the morality of revenge. I am delighted to be working with some of the best creatives in the country on our own take on this fantastic show, bringing an exciting Australian Gothic lens to work.

The season is scheduled to begin January 13, 2022. All members of the public must be fully immunized. Things are changing rapidly at the moment and many events are postponed and canceled, so always check in advance with the venue for the latest event information.

Want more? Check out Sydney’s best theater this month.

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