After an acclaimed run at the Brisbane Arts Theatre, ‘Jurassic Park: The Musical’ returns to the stage in a big way, thanks to Director Shaun King.
A musical based on the blockbuster film ‘Jurassic Park’ is something no one expected to exist, least of all Shaun King.
“I was standing on my back deck, having a beer, talking to my theatre friends, and saying, ‘Yeah, I’m taking a year off. I’m not going to do anything at the theatre at all this year.’ My wife and I have two small children we need to take care of. Then my phone rang, and I picked it up. It was John Boyce, the Artistic Director of the Brisbane Arts Theatre, and he says, ‘How would you like to play Muldoon in ‘Jurassic Park: The Musical’?’ I said yes! I hung up the phone and went, ‘So, I’m doing this show, and rehearsals start on Sunday…’”
Even though Shaun is giving up his spare time, he couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend it than on ‘Jurassic Park: The Musical’ – the first of a run of musicals based on cult films, with future productions including ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ and ‘Game Of Thrones’.
The show is the brainchild of American group Colonel Mustard Amateur Attic Theatre Company, who premiered it in a friend’s backyard. The production is a loving parody of the film, featuring classic scenes being brought to life through song, choreography, and a chorus made up of singing dinosaurs.
For the latest run of the musical, Shaun will be taking over as director and giving it a much-needed overhaul.
“We looked at the last production as a workshop version. It came in as a last minute choice to fill a gap, and we ran it over a very short period of time. We have built on that and grown with it. So, what worked last time we have kept and extended upon, and other stuff we’ve scrubbed and started from scratch. We have all these new and fantastic scenes that are built out of playing at rehearsal. It’s wonderful!”
One of the choices Shaun decided to retain from the original run is his playing Muldoon, the gamekeeper in the park. For the musical, Muldoon is transformed into what Shaun describes as a “hideous Australian stereotype, which is so much fun to play. I essentially get to play Steve Irwin running around with dinosaurs.”
Alongside exaggerating the Australian identity, Shaun is also pleased he once again sings Muldoon’s big number, “the most beautiful love ballad in the entire production, which is to the pack of raptors”.
Shaun appreciates his new cast and crew, whom he sees as collaborators on the production. “As always happens, a new cast brings new life and new ideas,” he explains.
Particular praise goes to the shows musical director Faron Swingler, who Shaun describes as an “absolute genius. He took the music from this show – which, frankly, was a little iffy – and he arranged it into just brilliance.”
As to what audiences can expect, Shaun sums up ‘Jurassic Park: The Musical’ in a way that sounded like he could add public relations to his list of many talents.
“What you can expect is a fantastic parody. You can expect thrills, chills, action, adventure, laughs, and sing-a-long songs that will leave you toe-tapping and repeating lines forever.”