Meet the Band: “The Asteroids” 2018

SPOTLIGHT on STEPHANIE UNDERWOOD: Mallett & Hand Percussion

“Fave colour? Pink
Fave food? Meat Pie and Lasagne – not together! But I just love all food!
To relax? Read a book on the beach.

First time performed on stage? In year six at Primary school.

Most triumphant or most fun moment on stage?
I went to Brisbane State High School with Cath Mundy (co-creator of BB), where the music department was amazing. When I was in year 10, I played with our Senior Concert Band at the Pacific Rim band competition in Hawaii. Two years later we performed in the same competition at the Sydney Opera house and our band won. My biggest achievement was that year being awarded the Best Percussionist award at State High.

I played in The Asteroids for the Crete Street production of Billy Buckett and brought along 88 of my closest friends who all loved it and can’t wait to see it again!

Fave BB experience?
My favourite experience, apart from performing the wonderful music, is being able to play and spend time with Cath and Jay after being friends for too many years to mention.

Fave BB song?
Tender Is The Night and Feather On The Wind.”
– Stephanie Underwood, BB’s Mallet Percussionist

SPOTLIGHT on JOEL MIKKELSEN: drum-kit

Fave colour? Blue
Fave food? Mango
To relax? Play drums!
First time on stage? Singing carols (solo) at a community event, at 8

Biggest “fail” moment or the most embarrassing moment onstage? I was singing the National Anthem to open the Goodna Jacaranda Festival, with all the important Dignitaries (including funnily enough, Paul Pisasale), and they played a backing track in a completely different key to what I was practising in, and started it whilst the dignitaries were speaking, so it took me about two lines to find the key….

Most triumphant or most fun moment onstage? Basically all of the musical Rent.

Roles in BB?
Well, actually I was in the rehearsed reading at Phoenix as Big Ted, and singing the songs was a load of fun.

Fave BB song? Rock n Roll Heart; I really like the kinda whimsical start which progresses into a more rebellious stronger persona after the intro part. I just love the way it’s put together.

Fave BB experience? Singing A Girl is like a Car with Lachy and Scotty was a bunch of fun.

Most looking forward to for the BB SunPAC season? Filling up that big hall with some rocking drum beats!!”
– Joel Mikkelsen, BB’s drummer

SPOTLIGHT on JAY TURNER, aka BB’s originator/songwriter + band-leader/rhythm guitarist

“Favourite colour? Blue
Favourite food?
Chocolate, Ice Cream (neither of which I can eat without bad consequences!)

To relax?
Listen to audio books, watch movies, bike ride, spend time with family.

First time on stage?
I was about 14, it was a local talent show. I sang & played fingerstyle acoustic guitar. I think I performed ‘100 Miles’ a sort of semi-traditional American folk song.

Biggest onstage “fail” or most embarrassing moment?
In front of the 25,000-strong audience Cropredy Festival in in the UK, 2004. Cath & I had played earlier in the day & gone down a storm & were then doing some MC duties. The major act on the Saturday evening (immediately before the headliners Fairport Convention) was about to take the stage. It had all been going really well, but two of the artists during the day had the first name ‘Nick’. I did a big build-up to the major artist with that name to announce him onstage: ‘And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for! Please welcome to the stage – (dramatic pause) – Nick…’ and my mind went totally blank!

Thankfully Cath was standing in the wings & called out his surname to me & saved the moment from total disaster. The crowd all knew, though… (so did Nick).

Most triumphant or most fun onstage moment?
There have been many for me as a solo artist & in Mundy-Turner, but one that stands out for me was when Cath & I played at the ‘Black Saturday’ concert fundraiser at the LEC in March 2009, for the communities affected by the all-time worst series of bush-fire disasters in Victoria, that had happened the month before.

As a final song, we performed our version of ‘I Am Australian’. The audience all stood & sang with us & I looked down from the stage to see many people, including Pam Parker (Logan’s wonderful Mayor at the time) & Brett Raguse (Federal member) in the front row, swaying to the music & openly weeping with honest emotion. A big moment indeed, to be Australian.

Roles in BB?
In 1988 and 1989 youth theatre productions, I played head mechanic and teddy-boy “Big Ted” plus musical director. In 2013 in the Crete Street production, I was band leader & lead guitarist of The Asteroids, as well as co-executive director/musical director. This time round I am the Rhythm Guitarist and band-leader. At the recent script-read-through I played “Arthur Burns”, as Ian Maurice was unavailable. And did all the sound effects cues. Some with hilarious effect! The boiling kettle sounding like a space ship taking off was a high point at the reading.

Fave BB song?
All of them, but probably ‘Mr Cool’. The melody demanded the most advanced chord pattern I had ever written at the time (1987).

Fave BB experience?
There are many of these, too, over the years. But one very funny one from the second youth production in 1989 stands out: I remember wondering if the children in the audience would stay engaged with the show. Thankfully, they all seemed to. Towards the end of Act 2, there is the big argument scene between Arthur & Helen Burns. Arthur is particularly belittling to his wife in this scene & I remember that the actors Barry Spinks (Arthur) & Stephanie Austwick (Helen) getting to the high point of the dialogue, when a young boy (probably 6 or 7 years of age) rushed the stage from the auditorium and, pointing accusingly at Arthur, shouted “You can’t say that to her!!”

The audience (& most of us backstage) erupted in gales of laughter. To their great credit, the actors managed to retrieve the moment (after the parents had retrieved their indignant son) and finished the scene in dramatic style.

Most looking forward to for the BB SunPAC season?
Putting on the first professional (if short!) season of the show & reuniting our wonderful cast, with all the experience & skills they will have acquired since 2013.

Other relevant or random thoughts to share?
I have always been very gladdened by the way this show is regarded by its players & producers. It has always seemed to generate a sense of fun & delight for everyone concerned & for that, I am truly grateful.”
– Jay Turner, BB’s creator and band-leader

SPOTLIGHT on CATH MUNDY
aka BB co-creator:

SPOTLIGHT on Cath Mundy, aka BB co-creator:

Favourite colours? Red then rainbow!
Favourite foods? Dark chocolate and mango
To relax? Time with family, camping, beach, exercise (walking, bicycling, yoga). I love good movies. I do sudoku to unwind my brain.

First time on stage? I was 7 years old, at the old Rialto Theatre in West End for my dance school’s end of year concert. I sang and tap-danced the Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy with my fellow tap students. From then on I was completely smitten with the stage, performance, music, the theatre.

Biggest “fail” moment or the most embarrassing moment onstage? Slipping over on the QPAC Concert Hall stage whilst giving a key-note address/performance with my acappella trio Sister Moon at the International Drama Conference in 1995. I did a Feldenkrais spiral up and kept going – the show must go on!

Oh and when I had “baby-brain” on tour (our boy was just 5 months old) I completely forgot the second verse to a song I co-wrote with Jay called Separation Street. I just completely stalled and no-one could help me, not even Jay. I have nightmares about that moment. And yes “baby-brain” is a real thing.

Most triumphant or most fun moment onstage?
It’s all been fun (maybe with a few exceptions teehee)! I was very shy and lacking in confidence as a kid/teen. When I won the lead role of “Doreen” in The Sentimental Bloke in my high school musical in Year 12 that was a pretty big deal for me. Doreen’s songs were very challenging. I had just started formal vocal training at that point and there were so many talented girls who were competing for the role. To then prove that I could do it was a major triumph – it was hard work, but so worthwhile.

Role in BB? Since 2010 when we started on BB Mark 2, I have been co-script-writer, vocal arranger and creator of the musical scores. I directed the rehearsed reading in 2012 with Phoenix Ensemble. For the Beenleigh Theatre Group 2013 production, I was an executive director, musical director, band conductor, keyboard, percussionist and backing vocalist. I am now producing the show for Footlights Theatrical Inc, plus all those roles I had in BB 2013.

Fave BB song?
Jay Turner has written so many pearlers for this show. I love them all like children and for different reasons. Songs like Dynamo, Wreck Out Of My Heart, Who Were You With and Restless are so much fun. Daddy & Wot’s Work are cute little numbers. Rock ’n’ Roll Heart is a blast and I love the story-telling in it. I love the sheer exuberance of She Believes In Me (the new version – it’s very different to the 80s version which was lovely, but more 80s than 50s sounding); Mr Cool for the gorgeous melody, backing harmonies and chord progression; Photographs & Memories, Tender Is The Night, Feather On The Wind for their reflective poignant qualities; Self-Made Man and its Reprise are a lot of fun too. I’m pretty proud of the SMM Reprise as I arranged the high 3-part vocal harmonies for Steve Dorrington, Ian Maurice and Brian Garnham to sing – it really raised the roof every time they performed it!

Favourite BB experience?
Sooooo many…. Making a family with all the amazing people who have worked on the show. The fun promo gigs with the band and cast, especially Yatala Drive-In!
Giving our all to each audience and seeing the season completely sell out.
Winning all those awards a few months later was also a nice bonus.
The recent webcast gig was also awesome – fun to rehearse with the band again and a beautiful reunion of the cast, plus such a GREAT live audience.
Crying my guts out after the 2013 World Premiere Preview when we got that unexpected standing ovation from the first audience. After giving the script & production my absolute all for several years to get it to that point, finding out that the audience liked it, nay LOVED it enough to stand up and cheer… well that just wiped me out. Before that moment we had no idea if it would fly or not. I sobbed backstage with joy and relief for maybe 20 minutes. People thought I was upset but it was happy sobbing, if ya know what I mean. 😉

Most looking forward to for the BB SunPAC season?
* Working and playing with the beautiful BB family – it’s such a privilege to work with great people
* The chance to extend ourselves, get creative, make the show even better
* Reaching a new audience
* Keeping the BB dream alive.

Extra Thoughts?
Jay & I are blown away by how many people have supported the Pozible crowd-funding campaign to produce BB at SunPAC next year. We raised $12K in a month long campaign! Just amazing, as this means we can commit to the season with that start under our belt. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! ❤.

Now to get the arts grants written, and start touting for corporate and business sponsors to match that fundraising and we’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll.”  – Cath Mundy, BB’s co-creator

CHRIS POWELL: Bass Guitar

DAVID CHIVERS, aka “Dr Chops”: Piano

DAVE LOVELAND: Lead Guitar