Marcia Hines on a new national tour, Velvet Rewired
In this week’s Streets of Your Town podcast (press play on the link above!), we feature an Australian treasure.
The thrill of performing has never left Marcia Hines, not since she started singing in her church choir as a child in Boston more than 60 years ago.
She first moved to Australia from Boston to Sydney at just 16 years old, to star in the Australian production of Hair. Since then, she’s become one of Australia’s most beloved musical treasures, with a career spanning more than five decades, 22 albums, and countless chart topping singles and multi-platinum records globally.
In fact her need to connect with live audiences, has only grown stronger after the limitations of the pandemic.
“To be honest, Nance, it’s just good for the business to be getting back on its feet, my business, my industry,” Hines says.
“It feels like we’re coming home. That’s how it feels. Because if you’re a performer, no matter what it is you do, I think people make the experience, the wonderful experience it is.
“And after what we’ve all gone through in the last few years, I’ll have to say now, we need some joy, and that's what performers really like bringing to the table, joy.”
Marcia is an inspiration to women and Australians everywhere, constantly reinventing herself and setting industry benchmarks.
And as she tells us on Streets of Your Town, her urge to perform on stage is rebuilding anew as she starts a national tour starring as The Diva in the show Velvet Rewired, kicking off its run at the Wynnum Fringe this week.
Marcia is joined by a cast of internationally acclaimed circus and dance performers and vocalists in a fusion of boogie wonderland disco, glamour, glitz and jaw-dropping circus skills.
“There was a time when disco music was, oh gee, not that stuff again right? And then all of a sudden, in most of the movies we watch, the soundtrack for most movies, it’s got some sort of a song from that era in it,” she says.
“And so consequently, a lot of young people know that music because of the movies they watch. And then your parents drove you crazy at barbecues playing that music, and you had no choice, but to listen to it, and then eventually you think, ‘That's not too bad, even though my parents play it, it's not too bad.’”
Hines thinks disco music’s return now echoes the need for this style of music when disco first emerged in the 1970’s.
“The disco era came out of such a sad time, which was the Vietnam War, and it was time to once again try and find some happiness in life,” Hines says.
“It just gave us some place to go to dress really strangely with the worst clothes. But I look at the clothes now and go, ‘I really didn’t wear that, did I, Nance? Did I?’
“Like the great saying, everything old is new again. And that’s what fashion is, once again, the bell bottoms and the flared pants and the big hair, it’s fantastic.
“Because of all that we’ve gone through, and that some of the people that people have lost, we need a little bit of joy. We need somewhere to kick off our heels and have a bit of a laugh.”
Being part of a performance like Velvet Rewired has filled her creative cup anew, as she builds on the energy of her talented cast and crew.
“I’ve always enjoyed performing. And so this is on another level of performance in the sense that it’s not just about me. I like working with people,” she says.
“I like the camaraderie you learn when you work with other people, and basically on a theatrical stage, if you don’t say what you’re supposed to say, your comrade can’t come on stage and make his or her entrance. You know what I mean? So I really like the work that happens in an ensemble.
“And everybody likes a little bit of eye candy, so there’s a bit of that in the show, female and male. It’s one of those great things where everybody deserves a good night out these days, I reckon.”
Hines says that after all these years performing in Australia, she still loves life on the road touring with a great show.
And the key to that, she says, is to taking something you treasure with you on the road.
“After all these years I have learned to tour, and I try and take as many things that are close to me with me, so I feel like I’m at home wherever I go,” she says.
“I try and take my cat. I mean, it’s an interesting thing, walking into an apartment that is not yours or your hotel room that’s not yours, and somebody greeting you at the door. It’s a very nice thing.”
Hines is also looking forward to releasing a new album following on from the success of her show The Gospel According to Marcia, which received rave reviews at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
The third annual Wynnum Fringe will welcome an expected 35,000 local and interstate visitors to enjoy Queensland artists and entertainers from November 16 to December 4, 2022.
It’s Brisbane’s only annual fringe festival, celebrating the best in contemporary, independent and alternative arts and entertainment for 19 days, with Velvet Rewired the major drawcard.
“I’m looking forward to coming up that way, because Tom Oliver—the guy that's putting on the show, he’s a star that guy, because I believe the Wynnum Festival was the only festival that actually eventuated last year because of COVID,” she said.
“I couldn’t be more proud of him that he’s persisted and it's actually a thing now. It’s great.”
From Wynnum Fringe Velvet Rewired will tour around Australia with Marcia, and of course her cat, in tow.
Velvet Rewired national tour
BRISBANE, Raine & Horne Wynnum Spiegeltent, Wynnum Fringe, From 16 November 2022
PERTH, Kings Park and Botanic Garden, From 15 December 2022
SYDNEY, The Studio, Sydney Opera House, From 22 December 2022
CANBERRA, The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre, From 8 February 2023
ADELAIDE, Gluttony, Adelaide Fringe Festival, From 16 February 2023
HOBART, Theatre Royal, From 22 March 2023
TOWNSVILLE, Civic Theatre, From 12 April 2023
NEWCASTLE, Civic Theatre, From 19 April 2023
MELBOURNE, The Athenaeum Theatre, From 26 April 2023
My other stories
Here’s a link to a story I did on the Wynnum Fringe for In Queensland—it looks absolutely fabulous for all the Brisbane peeps out there! What an achievement for director Tom Oliver—to go from a three day festival in the middle of the pandemic to three weeks of festivities this year. Incredible. And such a beautiful part of the world by the bay too to enjoy some live entertainment.
And here’s another story I wrote for In Queensland on the world premiere show that’s just debuted called First Casualty—Christopher Johnston was just such a joy to interview. And wonderful work he’s doing bringing our understanding of what Australian troops face in war to vivid life on stage.
Thanks so much for your ongoing support my wonderful Wandering Journo Tribe!