Megan Samardin, Elaine Crombie, Michael Tuahine, Tibian Wyles, David Page and Bradley McCaw on stage during a performance of Country Song. Pictured below left is Australian singer Jimmy Little.
Megan Samardin, Elaine Crombie, Michael Tuahine, Tibian Wyles, David Page and Bradley McCaw on stage during a performance of Country Song. Pictured below left is Australian singer Jimmy Little.

Norpa show honours Jimmy Little and other indigenous stars

AS THE Sydney Opera House throws open its doors in 1973 with an extravagant gala concert, another Australian icon is having a backstage crisis.

Indigenous singing superstar Jimmy Little is about to croon for Queen Elizabeth II, but the words won't come.

ON STAGE: Singer and actor Michael Tuahine as Jimmy Little in Country Song.
ON STAGE: Singer and actor Michael Tuahine as Jimmy Little in Country Song.

Once a smiling, cheeky child of vaudevillians, now a poster boy for Aboriginal performers, Jimmy wrestles with whether to take to the Opera House stage or quietly fade away.

Country Song, by Queensland Theatre Company, is inspired by the true life experiences of Jimmy Little and Aboriginal entertainers Wilma Reading, Auriel Andrew, Bobby McLeod, Vic Simms, Roger Knox and Lionel Rose.

Country Song is a beautiful, musical, witty and warming journey that celebrates the healing power of music.

It will show at Lismore City Hall, 1 Bounty St, on August 13-15 at 7.30pm, as part of the 2015 Norpa season. Tickets are $49. Click here to book.

The show was the idea of singer and actor Michael Tuahine, who plays Little on stage.

"I first met Jimmy at the Deadly Awards at the Opera House when I used to host them. I chatted to him backstage and later on I put it to him if would be possible to put his story together," Tuahine said.

"Here is a man who was born in the depths of Aboriginal poverty, and in 1963, got himself to the top of the Australian music charts.

"Aboriginal people were not even considered citizens until 1967 and Little was already appearing on the Tonight Show and other television shows."

Director Wesley Enoch was very keen to be respectful to Mr Little's memory.

"In order to protect his legacy and his memory, we have been going backwards and forwards (with his family) to ensure that we don't inadvertently offend people who had a strong relationship with him," Enoch said.

"That is why we call it a celebration, because at the end, people listen to his music and hear a bit of the story, get a little bit of the politics of the day, but (the play) is very much a celebration of the man and the music.

"At the end of the play here in Brisbane people are on their feet dancing; the music still lifts people's spirits."


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