Ode to Peter Allen

Peter Allen– ‘ The Boy from OZ’

I don’t remember when I first feel in love with the music of Peter Allen….if I had to take a stab in the dark it would be as a young child, when my neighbour would  play her record collection on high volume….the cool summer breeze carrying the tune  ‘ I go to Rio’ through my bedroom window.

And I would dance…..

I didn’t know the life story of Peter Allen till my late teens….and I am continually inspired  by the path he dared to take on this journey called life. A young boy, destined to be an entertainer in an era when ‘ men where men’ and women where women’…the odds where clearly stacked against the dancing, singing, flamboyant Australian boy from the bush….

A man who hid from the spot light his personal struggle  with his sexuality, found freedom in the form of his craft, his singing, dancing and painfully honest lyrics……His movement of stage was effortless, he exuded pure joy….

A man who dared to express himself through song, through movement….I am in awe of his achievements, both personally and professionally….Despite all hardships, Allen found the strength and courage it took bring his ‘ all dancing, singing, one man show’ dream to fruition.

I was 13 years old when Allen passed away…..And throughout my childhood, his lyrics would float through my bedroom window, and I would be transported by his beautiful melodies, to Rio, to regional Australia, America….

I was 19 years old when the musical ‘ The Boy from OZ’ opened in Sydney’s theatre district. I could not have brought a ticket quick enough. With my equally keen girlfriends, Jess and Rhonda, we high tailed it to the big smoke one Saturday evening, and watched performer Todd McKenny embody Allen, and tell his life story through song with accuracy and precision.

Fast forward to 2006, and the ‘ Boy from OZ’ came back to Sydney, this time with Australian superstar, Hugh Jackman in the lead role. Staged at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, the show was bigger and bolder, yet still true to the music of Allen. Jess and I returned to see this production….but it did not live up to our expectations….

Part of Allen’s talent as a song writer, was the ability to connect through his lyrics to listener…In such a large venue at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Jackman’s version of Allen’s songs failed to connect..

As I write this homage to Allen, I am listening to his music….on high rotation whilst thinking of my childhood neighbour, and thanking her for refusing to turn the volume down on such joyous music!!

His sweet melodies will continue to be played for many years to come…at dinner parties, catch ups, birthday parties and picnic, in car trips to the supermarket….And friends and family will dance, sing and smile as the infectious songs play over and over…

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sandra Stephen Boyle
    Apr 22, 2012 @ 07:28:39

    Great tribute to a great Australian!


  2. Mixed Gems
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 11:30:11

    I never saw Todd Kenny’s Petrr Allen. We were given tickets in Melbourne to see Hugh’s version. We were fairly close to the front which might have helped make it more intimate. I did enjoy it. Especially Tenterfield Saddler. Hard to keep a dry eye.


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