Eric McCusker’s Ava (At The End of the World)
Posted on 18 Mar 2013
Hollywood came to Melbourne for the filming of 'On The Beach' in 1959. Ava Gardner had invited Frank Sinatra to Australia and it was this time period, along with an album Sinatra recorded in Australia which has given Alberts writer Eric McCusker the inspiration to write a new musical.
The musical Ava (At the End of the World) which is still work in progress gets its first revealing at the Spiegeltent March 30 in Melbourne. The version of his new musical will involve a stellar big band and guest vocalists performing with scripts-in-hand, and the audience as a part of the creative process by discussing their thoughts about the work afterwards with the creative team.
Ava (At the End of the World) is the result of more than a decade of Erik McCusker (Mondo Rock) thinking about Sinatra, Gardner, a time and a place. Set in Melbourne “Ava (At the End of the World)” shows Gardner letting her hair down with Sinatra and a gang of local jazz musicians while filming “On The Beach”.
It's Eric McCuskers musical account of what he imagined might have happened, during the course of a week in Melbourne half a century ago. It's the first performance of a work that is still very much in progress; it's an event that represents both an end and a beginning.
Ava’s battles with the Australian press, and the pestering of the Melbourne public, combined with the extreme heat, dust and flies at the end of a long Aussie drought, made her stay a real trial which she bore with professional discipline. Then in the last two weeks of filming she let her guard down in the company of a group of Melbourne jazz musicians that she had befriended, and the real Ava emerged, hard drinking, a wild party girl, a great broad! She grew especially close to her film double Grace Maxwell and a young Jazz singer Joe Lane. And then…her former husband, Frank Sinatra arrived, ostensibly to do some shows but intent on winning her back. Suddenly Melbourne found itself the backdrop to high drama and high times featuring world stars and show biz greats." Eric McCusker