THE award-winning singer/actor Tim Draxl makes a much-welcome return to the Sydney stage in the acclaimed musical play Freeway – The Chet Baker Journey at the Hayes Theatre Co from 17 March 2015. It is set to be part of the inaugural Spectrum Now festival, for which stage and screen actor Richard Roxburgh is creative director.
Conceived and written by Bryce Hallett and Tim Draxl, Freeway began life at the tiny yet legendary jazz and music club El Rocco in Kings Cross in October 2010. It has since earned rave reviews at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Sydney Opera House, the Melbourne Festival and, most recently, the Brisbane Festival where the show enraptured audiences in the Spiegeltent.
Freeway is packed with sensuous ballads and classic songs, including My Funny Valentine, My Buddy, Let’s Get Lost, These Foolish Things, You Don’t Know What Love Is, Look For the Silver Lining, Born to Be Blue, The Thrill is Gone and There Will Never Be Another You. The intimate and spare production intersperses fragments of the singer and trumpeter Chet Baker’s radiant career and self-destructive life amid his musical jewels - the “blue diamonds of jazz” - that speak of yearning, heartache, despair and love.
The hand-picked band comprises some of Australia’s most accomplished musicians: the legendary Ray Alldridge on piano, trumpeter Shannon Marshall, bass player Dave Ellis and Dave Goodman on drums.
When David and Lisa Campbell first saw Freeway at el Rocco they fell in love with its seamless storytelling and musical flair, hence programming the show in their 2011 Adelaide Cabaret Festival. In each performance Draxl reveals a strong affinity with Chet Baker - “the Prince of Cool”, not only in terms of his own instinctiveness and charm but his eerily-similar voice and sophisticated rhythm. The title of the show is taken from the name of an instrumental written by Chet Baker, the word also encapsulating his high-spirited independence.
Upon collaborating with Draxl to create Freeway, writer and journalist Bryce Hallett (who wrote the concert drama Rolling Thunder Vietnam) said they chose not to dwell unnecessarily on Baker’s demons. “Essentially we wanted to reveal his power to enchant even when his life was at its craziest and spinning out of control,” Hallett said. “Freeway partly aims to draw audiences back to the intoxicating romance of the ‘50s but there’s no escaping Baker’s torment and self-destructiveness.”
$42 - $49