The Dismissal was conceived by theatrical visionary and award-winning director Jay James-Moody.
With the generous support of The Russell Mills Foundation, early research and development began in earnest in 2015.
Blake Erickson, a frequent artistic associate of Squabbalogic and political aficionado, was engaged to collaborate on crafting a mostly-historically accurate, contemporary, dynamic and relatable book for the show.
Actor and songwriter Laura Murphy was invited to provide a collection of rousing anthems to capture the spirit of 1975 through a modern lens.
All three worked on The Dismissal while simultaneously appearing in commercial projects including Les Misérables, The Book of Mormon and Muriel’s Wedding.
In 2019, a limited public development presentation played to full houses and acclaim at Sydney’s Seymour Centre. This proof-of-concept production demonstrated a broad audience appeal that crossed generations and political persuasions.
With such strong audience confidence in the project, the stellar theatrical acumen of the team, and a collective desire to present this burgeoning and new Australian musical at its best, The Dismissal's 2019 Pre-World Premiere became a fully-staged theatrical work that belied the limited time and financial resources underpinning its creation.
Revisions and further workshops took place in 2020 and 2021 ahead of a planned collaboration with Sydney Theatre Company and Canberra Theatre Centre commencing in October 2021 for a three month run.
COVID-related health restrictions across the country made it necessary to cancel this planned engagement.
This revised World Premiere Tour is planned to be bigger and further reaching than before, sending The Dismissal far and wide across the country in partnership with key venues, promoters, and stakeholders that share our vision for a Great New Australian Musical that challenges our history and celebrates our future potential as a nation.
“You will recall [me] having raved about the historical musical Hamilton which – documenting the extraordinary story of George Washington’s right-hand-man Alexander Hamilton – I have seen several times in New York…But even while watching it I was lamenting the fact Australia hasn’t yet come up with our own commercial blockbuster musical based on our own fabulous history. Well, on Thursday evening at the Seymour Centre, I might have seen it. It’s in its early off-Broadway stages, but The Dismissal – The Musical, telling the story of Gough Whitlam’s sacking was fabulous from first to last, and received a standing ovation.”
Peter FitzSimons for SMH
“The producers of The Dismissal requested no reviews of this short try-out season. So please don’t consider this to be one. But after seeing what I think is the best Australian musical of the century so far – it’s hard not to respond… The book (Blake Erickson and Jay James-Moody) sparkles with meta-theatrical humour, chuckling at the conventions of the genre as much as the political figures it skewers… That The Dismissal will come back is, I think, a certainty. It could run and run.”
Jason Blake for Audrey Journal
“Wow. The Dismissal bowled me over… First we had Muriel’s Wedding, now The Dismissal. Things are looking good right now for the Australian Musical…”