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Reg Livermore in Betty Blokkbuster Follies. Source: Reg Livermore
Reg Livermore Reg Livermore i(A77742 works by) (a.k.a. Reginald Livermore)
Born: Established: 1938 Parramatta, Parramatta area, Sydney, New South Wales, ;
Gender: Male
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BiographyHistory

Overview:

A highly aclaimed Australian stage performer and television personality, Reg Livermore has been involved in the production of most genres of stage performance, including revue, musicals, pantomime, comic opera, opera and drama. An experienced actor, dancer, writer, and director, he achieved considerable success during the early 1970s with his flamboyant performance as a female impersonator in the one-man stage show Betty Blokk Buster Follies. He followed this with a series of satirical one-man shows and appeared in key roles in a number of high profile musicals - notably Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar and The Rocky Horror Show.

Detailed Biography:

1938-1965: Livermore started his career in entertainment in Sydney at age 13, hiring local halls to stage performances of his own pantomimes for local charities and utilising friends and neighbourhood children. At age 17 he hired the Mosman Town Hall to stage his own production of Snow White (1955), following this at the same venue in 1956 with Mother Goose. While still at school he took acting lessons at North Sydney's Independent Theatre while also working there at nights and appearing in a wide variety of productions. He turned professional in 1957 having succeeded in securing a position with the Phillip Street Theatre. During his time with the company he worked in such productions as Around The Loop (1956) and Cross Section (1957), sharing the stage with such luminaries as Gordon Chater, Barry Humphries, Ruth Cracknell, June Salter and John Meillon. He also undertook further training with Hayes Gordon and became a founding member of the Ensemble Theatre-in-the-round.

After a brief period in London Livermore returned to Sydney to begin another intense period of acting training under Gordon, and appeared in the Ensemble productions Orpheus Descending, The Drunkard, The Double Dealer, The Canterville Ghost, The Thracian Horse, Miss Lonely Hearts, The Physicists and The Real Inspector Hound. Livermore then moved to Melbourne, spending some two years with the Union Theatre Repertory Company. It was with this company that he made his directorial debut, overseeing a revival of Richard Beynon's The Shifting Heart, and wrote his first musical The Good Ship Walter Raleigh (1963).

After returning to Sydney Livermore appeared in Oh Dad Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung in the Closet and I'm Feeling So Sad (Independent Theatre ) and The Importance of Being Earnest (Old Tote Theatre), before accepting the role of the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz at the Sydney Tivoli (1964). His stage work during the 1960s included the lead role in The Knack (Phillip Theatre) a guest appearance with the newly formed South Australia Theatre Company (performing Andorra by Max Frisch), West of the Black Stump (which he co-wrote with Sandra McKenzie), and A Cup of Tea, A Bex and a Good Lie Down (Phillip Theatre). During the early 1960s he also appeared in the first of a number of film roles - the 1962 'mock-umentary' From the Tropics to the Snow.

1966-1984: In 1966 Livermore was invited to compare the ABC children's television program Crackerjack. This led to an offer to host his own Saturday night Variety show, I'm Alright Now, the following year. He also joined the cast of the The Mavis Bramston Show 1964, taking over from Ron Fraser. When the show was cancelled in 1968 he remained with Channel 7, as a and when Mavis was finally put to bed in 1968 stayed on at Channel 7 to participate in the variety show Anything Goes (originally to be titled The Great All-Electric Tap Dancing Show).

A role in The Mikado in 1969 led to Livermore being casting in the Australian production of Hair, the musical that he acknowledges was a pivotal moment in his career. After two years with Hair he appeared in Sam Sheppard's The Tooth of Crime, created another original musical, Lassiter (Old Tote Theatre), featured in Harry M. Miller's production of Jesus Christ Superstar (1974), and took on the lead role of Dr Frank'n'Furter in the original Australian production of The Rocky Horror Show. In 1975 producer Eric Dare commissioned Livermore to write a one-man show, the result being the highly successful Betty Blokk Buster Follies. He followed this with a series of solo shows - Wonder Woman, Sacred Cow, Son of Betty and Firing Squad. In 1982 he played the title role in the American musical Barnum, and 1984 he revived his role in The Rocky Horror Show.

1985-1995: After several years in semi-retirement on his well-known garden property in the Blue Mountains, broken by occasional exhibitions of his own paintings, Livermore returned to television as a member of Burke's Backyard. He also mounted another one-man show, Wish You Were Here at the Clarendon Theatre Restaurant, Katoomba. It later played the Melbourne International Festival and a season at the Victorian Arts Centre. In 1991 he appeared in Victoria State Opera Company's revival of Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe and directed its production of La Traviata at the Ballarat Easter Festival (1992). In that year he also wrote and performed his second one-man show for the Blue Mountains, Santa on the Planet of the Apes. This was followed by his performance as Major General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance, again for Victoria State Opera.

During 1993 he toured regional Victoria with Wish You Were Here and in 1994/95 he performed the same play to ecstatic audiences at the Ensemble Theatre in Sydney. He also wrote and performed the highly successful Red Riding Hood, the Speed Hump and the Wolf at the Clarendon and the Ensemble Theatre, before receiving an Australian Artist Creative Fellowship through the Australia Council.

1996-2014: Since the mid-1990s Livermore has been a regular presenter on Channel Nine's Our House. He has also written a number of additional one-man shows - Home Sweet Home, Leonard's Last Hurrah (1998), The Thank You Dinner: A Feast to Remember (2001) - and appeared in several Opera Australia's productions, including Iolanthe (2002), The Gondoliers (2006), Pirates of Penzance (2007), and My Fair Lady (2008, as Professor Henry Higgins). In 2003 he also starred as Max Bialystock in The Producers. In 2011 Livermore wrote and performed alongside Nancye Hayes in the production Turns, produced by Christine Dunstan Productions. Turns toured Australia extensively, playing cities and regional venues.

The recipient of many awards for his considerable achievements, including an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in 1996, Livermore's autobiography, Chapters and Chances was published in 2003. He is completing the second volume of biography titled There Are Things I Haven't Told You.

[Sourced in part from the Reg Livermore website]

Most Referenced Works

Last amended 24 Apr 2018 16:18:17
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