TOM Burlinson may be giving ‘em the old razzle dazzle as Billy Flynn in the Australian cast of Chicago but he already has plans for all that jazz after handing the role over to Jason Donovan for the Melbourne season.
“I have my first performance of Swingin’ The Great Standards in Sydney only days after I finish Chicago in Brisbane,” Burlinson said.
“I was working on this show before I got Chicago, so I’ve already researched it, chosen all the songs and got the arrangements done.
“By the time we come to Perth in March I’ll have done the show a couple of times and will be well and truly ready to perform it over there.”
While Burlinson is known for his love of Frank Sinatra, performing shows like Frank – A Life in Song accompanied by a big band, this one has the added delight of a strings section in the 20-piece orchestra.
“This is new for me and provides wonderful sounds, harmonies and colours in the music with all the strings of violins, violas and cellos,” he said.
“You don’t have to do it this way and some of the songs were written at the piano, like George Gershwin plunking out what he called his ‘little jazz songs’ on the piano.
“The idea of songs with strings was really developed by the great Nelson Riddle for Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald in the 1950s.
“The style is well-established and while the songs can be performed very simply, they also lend themselves to having wonderful arrangements because of the quality of their harmonic and melodic structure.”
Performing as himself, Burlinson said he would share stories about the Great American Songbook composers and lyricists of the 20th century including Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter and Harold Arlen.
“It’s the age of romance and really that’s what all these timeless songs are about,” he said.
“The circumstances around writing these songs was sometimes funny and sometimes tragic. I look forward to sharing with audiences what I’ve discovered about these men and of course, singing the songs.”
What: Tom Burlinson Swingin’ The Great Standards
Where: Crown Theatre Perth
When: March 13