Star Struck 2017 dress rehearsal | photos

AS this year’s Star Struck marks the 25th anniversary of the show’s beginning, the production team have built it around several different types of events rather than the usual single theme. As a result, the title Shine On is very appropriate, with each segment glowing through the performances by singers, dancers and musicians, and the amazing range of costumes and lighting designs. The show certainly highlights the on- and off-stage skills of Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast public school students and teachers. And former Star Struck performers who are now professional actors, among them New York-based David Harris and Erin James and Tom Handley, who are both in the highly praised production of My Fair Lady currently playing in Melbourne, introduce each segment through video recordings and note the part the show had in encouraging them to seek stage careers.

The first segment, Nature’s Glow, certainly emphasises that, with the song Fireflies having those insects a shining red as they move around a garden. And Under the Sea has an eye-catching range of colourful ocean creatures, including a shark, turtle and many white jelly fish.

The next section, All That Glitter, begins with Roaring Days and is set in Australia’s rural areas, beginning with the gold rush era. The bush garb is in marked contrast to the glowing costumes of the previous part.

The third bracket, Bronze, Silver and Gold, looks at sporting achievements, and includes a song, Flame, by Newcastle-raised John Foreman, who finished school a year before Star Struck began. He wrote the song for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The songs in the Reach for the Stars segment look at people’s ambitions, with Try Everything appropriately having a mix of work clothes and ballet gowns. Glitter  Lives On, the next sequence, has 1930s garb, with the Charlie Chaplin song Smile, from that decade, having a Chaplin lookalike appear. And there’s a 1950s look to The Silver Screen, which has film songs.

Sparkle and Shine is appropriately that, with the four girls singing The Great Divide having very different coloured costumes. The last major sequence, The 25th “Love Your Work”, amusingly draws on fairy tales in costuming the song We’re All Made of Stars, with a dragon and a submarine among the characters and objects going around the arena.