Event Spotlight: Tracy Harvey talks Pr!ck the Musical

Monday 8 April 2013

Event Spotlight: Tracy Harvey talks Pr!ck the Musical

Tracy Harvey is a woman of many talents, not only is she an Australian television regular but she is also a respected writer and composer of comedy, having made her stamp on programmes such as Hey Hey It’s Saturday, The Big Gig and The Gilles Report. More recently Harvey penned Melbourne theatre production Call Girl The Musical, which ran for two seasons in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Now, Harvey has sold out her live show PR!CK The Musical at Melbourne’s Flying Saucer Club, forcing promoters to add more dates. Read our Q&A with Harvey about about the outrageously risqué production and how she came to writing it.

Pr!ck has been named a ‘hospital musical’, isn’t that an oxymoron?
PR!CK the Musical is a celebration of life in a public hospital. Our story follows the journey of a young man who is admitted to hospital with a broken penis and he falls in love with a lowly receptionist. PR!CK was conceived at The Alfred Hospital, where I’ve been fortunate to work part time as a clerk in the Emergency Department and Day Surgery Unit. I was inspired to write PR!CK because of the rich material – characters and stories, that can be found in any hospital. I have strived to recreate the magic, humour and drama that is happening every day in an Australian hospital. PR!CK is the perfect show for health professionals and anyone who's ever been sick!

The musical’s previous embodiment saw director Bryce Ives take the stage for a spell, what was that dynamic like?
Bryce was instrumental in the development of PR!CK. He is a powerhouse of energy and is great fun to work with on stage and off. Unfortunately, Bryce was not available to direct this latest incarnation of PR!CK, but we hope to work with him again very soon.

At what age did you realise that you had the gift of making people laugh?
I was about seven years old, singing made-up words to Schubert on the record player. PR!CK is dedicated to my mother Prue, who had a wicked sense of humour. Mum used to entertain us at the dinner table with stories from her adventures that day. Dad would delight in Mum’s boldness and through them both I developed a love of comedy. Our telly was at the end of Mum and Dad’s bed and every night I would be tucked up with my sister, watching Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Benny Hill, Tony Hancock, Mr Ed, The Patty Duke Show and our own Graham Kennedy, Bert Newton and Mavis Bramston.

You dabbled with the thought of a traditional singing career for a while, what drew you to musical theatre?
The record player was always going in our house. Dad loved Vivaldi and Mahler. He introduced me to The Beatles, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young and Jimi Hendrix. Mum adored Peggy Lee, Louis Armstrong, Al Bowlly and Aretha Franklin and we had a much-loved recording of Salad Days.  I used to sit on the roof and play Mum’s old guitar. Dad worked out his own numbering system for the piano, which he tried to teach me! At art school, Mitchell Faircloth, Simon Thorpe, Lindy Allen, Gary Adams and I developed the Whittle Family, a country and western comedy/musical act. We performed in pubs, universities and theatre restaurants around Australia. In recent years, my ability to write songs has grown and that has given me great pleasure.

For ages I was trying to write a successful TV sitcom. Doug MacLeod – script editor of Kath n Kim - told me I might have more luck with a musical. We wrote Call Girl the Musical together. And now I have written the script for PR!CK with my partner Greg Dee.

Who are the performers that have influenced you the most?
Gracie Allen, Graham Kennedy, Noeline Brown, Barry Humphries, Bert Newton, Mary Keneally and I am currently in love with John Wood, Jessica Raffa, and Jemma Rix - you can see them in PR!CK the Musical!

Where can we see more of you in 2013?
PR!CK has sold out, so we’ve put on extra shows next weekend at the Flying Saucer Club. Talk is in the air of PR!CK coming to a big theatre soon! Don’t forget to be there!



-  Poppy Reid