Wilton’s Music Hall will host the European première of Songs For Nobodies (running 21 March – 7 April), a brand new play with songs featuring music from five iconic divas; Judy Garland, Pasty Cline, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf and Maria Callas. Accompanied by live musicians, this funny and moving performance was written especially for Bernadette Robinson by Joanna Murray-Smith (Honour, Bombshells, The Female of the Species) and directed by Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, the Musical).
This one-woman show is driven by the astonishing talents of singer and actress Bernadette Robinson, who takes audiences on a musical and emotional journey with five short stories following the word’s greatest divas and their extraordinary encounters with normal women – the “nobodies.”
Blurring the lines between superstardom and the everyday, Bernadette seamlessly brings each character to life as her remarkable control of tone, accent and vocal style perfectly inhabits each legendary singer. From the smoky blues of Holiday to the thrilling soprano of Callas via Garland, Cline and Piaf, Bernadette’s miraculous voice breathes new life into the five legendary performers and the five ordinary women whose lives were changed by their brush with fame.
Recounting intimate tale of their encounters is the heartbroken bathroom attendant who mends Garland’s hem the night she performed at Carnegie Hall, the backing singer who lives a dream with Cline the day she’s killed in a plane crash, the ambitious New York Times reporter assigned to interview Holiday, the Irish nanny who witnessed the fraying relationship between Callas and her shipping magnate and the English librarian who talks of how the ‘Little Sparrow’ rescued her father from a concentration camp during the war.
Director Simon Phillips commented: ‘Ever since I sat stunned at a Bernadette Robinson concert not believing my ears, I wanted to create a show for her, something that put her miraculous ability to reincarnate the great singing voices of the past into a rich theatrical context. So I knocked on the obvious door. Joanna Murray-Smith places the dramatic focus not on the stars themselves but the unknown women for whom these fragile singers were sources of strength.”
Bernadette Robinson’s critically acclaimed performances in multiple sell-out seasons of the one-woman musical play Songs For Nobodies and Pennsylvania Avenue have confirmed her standing as one of Australia’s leading singers/actresses. Together with eventual winner Cate Blanchett, Bernadette was nominated for a Helpmann Award (Australia’s Olivier Awards) in 2012 as Best Female Actor In a Play. Bernadette played the role of Beatrice in Nick Enright and Terry Clarke’s The Venetian Twins, and has appeared in lead roles with Chamber Made Opera and Wellington City Opera. She is a familiar figure on Australian concert stages, having given sell out concerts at the Sydney Opera House, Adelaide Festival Centre, the Melbourne Recital Centre and its neighbour, Hamer Hall, and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. In addition to her one-woman shows, Bernadette has had great success performing at high profile events for large corporates across Australia and (singing in English and in local languages) in Tokyo, Beijing (during the 2008 Olympic Games), Shanghai (during the 2010 World Expo), Hong Kong, Macau, Buenos Aires, Singapore, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto.