Pastrana – Church Theatre, Melbourne

Detail from Church Theatre Poster. Santha Press as Julia Pastrana

Detail from Church Theatre Poster. Santha Press as Julia Pastrana

The Church Theatre,

500 Burwood Rd, Hawthorne

2 – 26 August, 1989








Julia Pastrana: Santha Press

Charles Lent: D. J. Foster

Johanna: Marion MacKenzie


Matthew Barker

Eric Donnison

Angela Johnson

Val Levkowicz

Paul De Masson

Patricia Pitney

Steven Richie

Pianist: Allan McFadden

Pastrana (Santha Press) and Lent (D J Foster)

Pastrana (Santha Press) and Lent (D J Foster)


Church Theatre Staff

Artistic Director: John Ellis

Administrator: Raewyn Izett

Production Manager: Sue Hunt

Assistant Production Manager: Sally Beck

Bookkeeper: Jenny Sherlock

Front of House: Angie Black, Chris Drake, Richard Caon, Joanna Cook

“… one of the best pieces of locally written music drama I’ve seen in a long time … what is especially effective here is the way the movement and the musical numbers all advance the story … Pastrana points the way for a new genre of Australian musicals – the musical tragedy. John Ellis’ production does the work proud. The cast is strong and the thrust staging seems to me highly appropriate for the show”  Geoffrey Milne. The Melbourne Herald (3 Aug 1989)

Geoffrey Milne sent John Ellis a copy of his full review, as the final line had been cut by the sub Editor. The final line reads: Pastrana is, in short, a “must see”.

(Getting people to see an Australian musical is hard enough without sub editors assisting in keeping them away!)

“ … it makes excellent theatre. The lyrics are strong; they are also integrated into the action, which helps the dramatic flow. Director-Designer John Ellis has given the work a handsome production which makes good use of the Church Theatre’s resources.” Leonard Radic. The Age. (4 Aug 1989)

“ From the opening bars you know that this is going to be ‘the real thing’ … it has buckets of lush romantic music and gives performers plenty of opportunity to display talent. …an excellent cast headed by Santha Press, D. J. Foster and Marion MacKenzie. Pastrana is an important step in the chequered history of Australian music theatre … Highly recommended.”  Chris Boyd. The Melbourne Review (9 Aug 1989)

Marion MacKenzie (Jo) in rehearsal

Marion MacKenzie (Jo) in rehearsal

Director John Ellis in rehearsal

Director John Ellis in rehearsal

This production received 5 Green Room Award nominations. For Production;

Direction (John Ellis);

Male Performance in a Leading role (D J Foster);

Male Performance in a Supporting role (Paul De Masson);

Female Performance in a Supporting Role (Marian MacKanzie)