At the Crossroads (Dale Burridge Productions in association with Hayes Theater Co)
Watch the Dale Burridge Cabaret Show At the crossroadsyou can’t help but wonder where he went and why we haven’t seen him in musicals lately.
The man who played Raoul in the original Australian production of The Phantom of the Operaalongside Anthony Warlow and Marina Prior when it opened in Melbourne in 1990, hasn’t actually starred in a musical for over 25 years.
At the crossroads marks his return to the stage after two decades of work as a producer of concerts and corporate shows. You might wonder what shape his voice is in after all this time, especially since his short season at the Hayes Theater had to be delayed two weeks when he caught COVID. Well, he has a remarkable voice. His tenor is rich and robust in his register, from confident and refined depth to soaring banknotes. Not only does his voice have a beautiful and warm tone, but he sings with subtle nuances to convey emotion and drama. He also has stamina. The show (which lasts two hours including an intermission) is a big song, with about twenty numbers, but his voice does not tire.
Burridge co-wrote At the crossroads with Martin Crewes, who is also directing. The two became good friends when they performed on the 1996 international tour of Wretched in which Burridge played Enjolras and Crewes played Marius. This is the most recent musical in which Burridge has appeared – hopefully it won’t be the last.
First seen in Melbourne in December 2021, At the crossroads dives into Burridge’s life and career, mapping his ups and downs. It’s a story of determination to succeed and excitement to land roles back home in Australia and the UK, but it’s also a story of survival after struggling to find your footing and some major knocks.
Coming from a family of builders, Burridge was more obsessed with Shirley Bassey than bricks and mortar, but he tried, working as an apprentice builder until his father Jim suggested he wasn’t done. for that. This freed him to pursue a career in showbiz which included roles in musicals such as The sound of music, Oliver! Anything Goes, Seven Little Australians, Scrooge the Musical, Phantom and The set.
Burridge and Crewes have done a terrific job of choosing songs that perfectly match what Burridge is about, highlighting the relevant themes and emotions. Many are from the shows he starred in, but there are also less familiar songs from other musicals. The way the motif is integrated into the numbers, as well as between them, is also skillfully done and gives the show surprising changes of pace and just the right mix of emotion and humor. Throughout the cabaret, Burridge moves us with his honesty. He has great comedic timing and boy does he sing!
He is accompanied by musical director Bev Kennedy on piano and Mark Szeto on double bass. Hats off also to Lindsay Partridge who did the musical arrangements with Kennedy.
What’s missing is Burridge’s reason for leaving the show and a brief description of what he did in the years that followed. He tells us that it was Kennedy who prompted his comeback by asking him if he would do a cabaret at Claire’s Kitchen in Sydney. With the encouragement of her husband, he takes the plunge. But we wonder why he stopped playing, if he missed it, if he liked what he was doing instead, and why it took him so long to get back to what he so clearly loves. To do.
Except that, At the crossroads is a funny, moving, entertaining show and a beautiful calling card for Burridge who seems completely at ease on stage, despite his long absence.
Dale Burridge plans to tour At the crossroads and has dates arranged for Hobart and Perth in August. Details here.