by Jacki Turner
Having first embarked on the journey of writing Becoming Bill in 2010, award-winning Australian actor and writer Bradley McCaw is celebrating the release of the show’s official cast recording, Highlights from Becoming Bill.McCaw, an unemployed actor at the time, was approached in 2010 by organisation Joymas Creative to write a musical.
“I’d never written anything before, so I was reluctant, but eventually I took on the job. Because I had NO experience, I based the show on my life,” McCaw says.
“The presentation sold out and people loved the music, so I decided it was worth improving. It took me another seven years, learning about the craft of storytelling and creating musicals to know how to complete the show.”
The cast recording, which includes McCaw as one of the vocalists, also showcases some of Australia’s finest talent, including musical theatre legends Peter Cousens and Natalie O’Donnell, who is currently staring as Donna in the Australian tour of Mamma Mia! Alongside Cousens and O’Donnell, the record also includes the extremely talented Kathryn McIntyre and Tom Oliver.
“I was fortunate to see Natalie O’Donnell in Songs For A New World (Blue Saint) and was moved to tears, several times, by the production. Her rendition of ‘Are You Happy?’ on the record is one of my personal favourites,” McCaw says, when asked about working with featured artists.
“Like many others I grew up listening to Peter Cousens on the Miss Saigon Symphonic Recording, so to work with him was not only a personal thrill, but to be remotely connected with his tremendous legacy is a huge privilege. Both Kathryn McIntyre and Tom Oliver are incredible artists and creatives, and they bring such authenticity and vulnerability to their performances.”
Although the show originally told the story of an unemployed actor, McCaw ultimately decided that this angle wasn’t dramatic enough for the stage. Throughout the seven years it then took to perfect Becoming Bill, the plot and themes slowly evolved to imitate McCaw’s own life, eventually forming the intriguing story of one man called upon to write a musical.
“At its heart, Becoming Bill is about how people relate to and try to live in each others’ world. Our entry into this story is Bill, who has been asked to write a musical, which he does – about his life and family, and this upsets the fragile space between them all which…of course…means, people need to sing songs about their feelings!”
Highlights from Becoming Bill is now available for streaming and purchase on Spotify and Apple Music.
To keep up to date with Bradley McCaw, you can find him on Facebook and at www.bradleymccaw.com.