Sunday, 26 May 2013

Bruce George turns 100

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On April 10th 2013 composer and musician Bruce George turned 100 celebrating his birthday with his daughter Shelley and family at their home at Hope Island on the Queensland Gold Coast. A prolific composer Bruce George is most well-known for his 'Pocket Opera' The Ballad of Angel's Alley written in 1958 which the Union Theatre Repertory Company had great success with in 1962.

Bruce GeorgeBruce was educated at St. Paul's Cathedral Choir School in East Melbourne from the age of eight until he was fifteen. He then had two years at University High, and was a student teacher from eighteen until he was twenty-five. His musical education was three quarters of piano tuition at age six, and in his youth he was Weightlifting Champion of Australia for six years. He worked as a musician from the age of sixteen until he turned seventy-six and at one time had his own six-piece band, the Bruce George Ensemble. Twice when times got tough he took a job as a clerk in the Navy Department. Bruce was based in London from 1965 until 1974 and during that time he was musical director of Noel Coward's 70th Birthday Concert A Talent To Amuse at the Phoenix Theatre, London, on the 16th December 1969. The star-studded cast included; June Bronhill, Cyril Ritchard, Danny LaRue, Joyce Grenfell, Maggie Fitzgibbon and Stanley Holloway.

Apart from The Ballad of Angel's Alley written with Jeff Underhill, Bruce George's twelve produced musicals include; Alice In Wonderland, also with Underhill, The Long Drop with Peter Clarke, Little Women with Ray Kolle and Peter Pan with Howard Charlwood, June Lansell and John Carroll.

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Peter Pinne

Peter Pinne's musical theatre career reached a peak in 1995 when his and his longtime collaborator, Don Battye's musical Prisoner – Cell Block H The Musical opened a season at the Queen's Theatre, London and became a cult hit subsequently touring the UK in '96 and '97.

Prior to that he and Battye had written many musicals produced in Australia that included CarolineA Bunch of Ratbags, Red White & Boogie, and Sweet Fanny Adams. Their musicals for children, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Tin Soldier, The Shoemaker & The Elves, Jack & The Beanstalk, Beauty & The Beast, Rumpelstiltskin and Billabong Bill have become a staple of the children's theatre scene since they were originally produced at the Alexander Theatre, Melbourne.

Peter Pinne's other musical collaborations include; A Bit O' Petticoat with Ray Kolle, Pyjamas In Paradise with John-Michael Howson, and Mavis Bramston – Reloaded and Suddenly Single with Paul Dellit.

He has also had a high profile career in television where he worked for the Grundy Organization on such iconic shows as Neighbours, Prisoner, Sons and Daughters, The Restless Years, The Young Doctors, and Secret Valley amongst others. He has also worked in the U.S., Latin America and Indonesia producing television drama, game shows and sitcoms for Pearson Television and Fremantlemedia.

From 1999 until the end of 2007 Mr Pinne was the owner and president of Bayview Recording Company, Los Angeles, USA, a boutique label who newly recorded and reissued CDs aimed at the show music market. These included over twenty recordings from New York Town Hall's concert series Broadway By The Year.

Apart from scripting television drama, he also wrote, with Battye, the theme song for the series Sons and Daughters. Other music credits include the score for the award winning movie A City's Child. He is the author of the discography Australian Performers, Australian Performances, and currently writes for On Stage and Stage Whispers.

In late 2019 he released The Australian Musical: from the beginning, a definitive history of Australian musical theatre, co-authored with Peter Wyllie Johnston, and published by Allen & Unwin in association with the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

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