Press Releases

Born Yesterday

2 Dec 2016

Melbourne Theatre Company’s 2017 Season opens in 1940s style with Garson Kanin’s Broadway classic Born Yesterday, a screwball romance that has plenty to say about the dark side of politics and the power of knowledge.

With MTC Associate Director Dean Bryant at the helm and a cast including Christie Whelan Browne (The Odd Couple) as Billie Dawn, Russell Dykstra (Rake) as ruthless business tycoon Harry Brock and Joel Jackson (Peter Allen: Not The Boy Next Door) as Billie’s bookish love interest, audiences will be swept up in the glamour of post-war America when the comedy masterpiece opens on Thursday 19 January at Southbank Theatre, The Sumner.

Dean Bryant said, ‘Born Yesterday is an hilarious and startling look at the political machinations that go on behind closed doors. Billie Dawn is a brilliant creation, a determinedly ignorant girl who becomes a sharp and generous woman under the tutelage of an idealistic journalist. Witty and romantic, it tells the evergreen story of a couple of little guys who trump the corrupt and powerful.’

With the war over and Europe littered with a billion tons of scrap metal, junk-yard tycoon Harry Brock settles into a swank Washington hotel suite ready to grease palms and browbeat senators. Yet how can he win over Congress if his girlfriend, Billie, is always bringing down the tone? Enter Paul Verrall, a left-leaning magazine reporter, who knows enough about Washington to be cynical about the place. For a price, Verrall will teach Billie a few things, but does she have the capacity to learn? Does she ever!

Newly appointed MTC Associate Director, Dean Bryant, is an award-winning director with a raft of national and international accolades to his name. For MTC Dean has directed Skylight, I’ll Eat You Last and Next to Normal. For Hayes Theatre Company, he directed Little Shop of Horrors and Sweet Charity. Other credits include Anything Goes (Opera Australia/GFO); Once We Lived Here (Kings Head Theatre, London), Straight (Red Stitch), The Last Five Years, Virgins: A Musical Threesome, and the verbatim theatre piece Gaybies (Midsumma/Darlinghurst Theatre Company).

Garson Kanin (1912-1999) was a 20th Century Renaissance man. He began his stage career as an actor, later attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and making his Broadway debut in 1933. Born Yesterday was his masterpiece, playing over 1500 performances on Broadway, and winning its original star Judy Holliday an Oscar for her performance in the film version. Over the course of his career Kanin wrote or directed thirty-two plays (including the premiere of Funny Girl), worked on twenty-nine films (including It Should Happen to You, Adam’s Rib, and the Oscar-winning The True Glory) and continued to write books (including Smash, the basis for the TV series). In 1985, the same year he wrote and directed his last play, Peccadillo, he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.


Cast Heidi Arena, Tyler Coppin, Russell Dykstra, Chris Fortuna, Josh Gates, Joel Jackson, Richard Piper, Christie Whelan Browne

Director Dean Bryant

Set & Costume Designer Dale Ferguson

Lighting Designer Matt Scott

Composer & Sound Designer Mathew Frank

Voice & Dialect Coach Leith McPherson


‘The classic Broadway comedy.’ Variety

‘Deliciously witty.’ NY Daily News


Season Dates
14 January – 25 February

Opening Night
Thursday 19 January, 8pm

Southbank Theatre, The Sumner

Single Tickets
On sale now
03 8688 0800

Published on 2 December 2016

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