Saturday, April 18, 2020

Songs Unsung

Songs Unsung.  Performed by Daniel Assetta, with Nick Griffin on piano.  Lighting designed by Peter Rubie.

Sole Sessions on Youtube, 18 April 2020, 7 pm Australian Eastern Time.

Report by Frank McKone

What a difference a virus makes!  It’s frustrating for me to watch Daniel Assetta more or less glued to a fixed mic, with only an occasional few words with his pianist – 2 metres away, of course – after having reviewed Siblingship last October at The Q, in Queanbeyan, where he and his sister Chiara flung themselves wildly all over the stage.

But the purpose of presenting his Songs Unsung is much more about letting us into how Daniel feels about his life, so enthusiastic about performing in musicals like Wicked, The Book of Mormon, Cats and West Side Story.  He didn’t mention it, but his frustration must be so disappointing, as he was about to perform in A Chorus Line for the Darlinghurst Theatre Company at Eternity Theatre in Sydney – now of course on hold for the foreseeable future.

He chose, of course, songs he hasn’t sung on stage, but would have liked to.  His short presentation over half an hour, with talk in between about his career, ended with “The Wizard and I” sung by Elphaba in Wicked, which was his first professional gig.  Gender issues mean he would not normally expect to sing her song publicly, but I felt the words – just of the first stanza – are symbolic of his experiences as he makes his way into what I’m sure will be a long and substantial musical performance career.

When he received the Rob Guest Endowment Award back in 2015, he might well have sung as Elphaba does

Did that really just happen?
Have I actually understood?
This weird quirk I've tried
To suppress or hide
Is a talent that could
Help me meet the Wizard
If I make good
So I'll make good:

And he may still be hoping that

Once I'm with the Wizard
My whole life will change
'Cuz once you're with the Wizard
No one thinks you're strange!

In fact, Daniel Assetta is well on the way to meeting up with his perfect Wizard.  It’s good to know, in these seriously uncertain times, that the arts will survive because of the passion and commitment to keep working.

Sole Sessions is presented by a collective of producers and supported by The Hallway, an independent advertising agency – Creative Director: Jeremy Willmott, who specialises in digital creative ideas.

Media Contacts at Darlinghurst Theatre Company are Amylia Harris, Co-Artistic Director specialising in artist relations, and publicist Jansson Antmann.