11 September 2014 SEPTEMBER 11 Today we remember one of the most tragic days in the history of the United States Of America. An event so horrific, that it still sends shivers down the spine of any sensible, sensitive human being. There are still so many unanswered questions about that day. But for now, we just remember all those that lost their lives, on that day, and because of that day. As a New Yorker now, it holds such weight and the scars can still be seen everywhere. But these scars are being replaced with a new sense of optimism towards the future. I feel the dark days being replaced slowly by a growing sense of purpose and fortitude. I am concerned that the actions of the Islamic State may send us going back into more dark times, but from what we have all been through the past 13 years, I am confident that we have learned valuable lessons, the most important one being that we will overcome. No matter how big the obstacle, how evil the force, we will overcome. Evil cannot survive in a world where love exists. We must nurture this love and make it grow. It is not only what makes life worth living, it is what will eventually save us from extinction. Always love, never forget. Never. xxx
The Freedom Tower as seen from the 9/11 Memorial. Never Forget.
6 September 2014 WAKE ME UP WHEN SEPTEMBER ENDS The past few days have been kinda weird and a little freaky. Not sure what is going on in the cosmos, but despite me being in a good place, and looking at all the positive things in the world, I can’t help but feel a little flat and sad. I am mourning the loss of yet another friend of mine, Mark Byrne who died from a suspected heart attack. We were the same age. He was way too young to die. He was at the top of his game as a major player in the Australian entertainment business. We shared a dressing room when we performed in WEST SIDE STORY together, 20 years ago now, but I will never forget how we laughed and became good friends ever since. He will be sadly missed by all who met him. Chris Pickard, Joan Rivers, Robin Williams…God takes the good ones, doesn’t He/She? I am reminded to live life every day as though it was the last, and I am truly blessed with all that has been given to me. Just feeling down. That’s all. Honest. Some days are hard. The past few have been a bit harder than most. Heaven must really be rocking right now…xxx
One sunset at a time…I want to ride my bicycle: NYC Riverside Park
1 September 2014 BACK IN THE USA I must say I have had the post-Italy blues for a few days when I got back to New York, but that has now faded away into the awe I feel living in New York City. It is home for sure, and it’s actually nice to unpack and re-engage into life in the MiG Apple. In the one week that I’ve been back, much has happened. I gigged with the incredible Kevin Haden (@KevinHaden) and the irrepressible Mike Clifford (@MCliffordmusic) in upstate New York, and have shot and directed a video for Rodney Syaranamual for his RAWR Burlesque Fitness Routines. I hope you got a chance to see my ALS video (so you can stop nominating me hahaha!!!) and hopefully you were able to donate to the
ALS foundation too. Well done to all of you who iced and donated!! I must bring attention to this next gig: I will be singing with Joey Albert, The Hotdog Band, and the Filharmonic Band at the Breslin Theater, Felician College on 21 September, to raise money for the Assumption School in Passi, Iloilo, Philippines, which was damaged badly by Typhoon Yolanda last year. Not only am I excited about performing with some legendary Filipino artists, it is a great cause that will directly help restore a community that badly needs help. I hope you can join us. Maraming Salamat! xxx
25 August 2014 HOW SWEDE IT IS... Arrivederci Italia!! What a wonderful way to get to know you. I will miss you so much!!! On my way back to NY via Stockholm. I'm a MiG. My life is a plane.
Florence has my name all over it!
22 August 2014 FREEDOM IN A FIAT 500 Travelling the Tuscany region from town to town, I just cannot believe how spectacular a country can be. I have found a new obsession: anything ITALIAN! I am so in love with this country, I feel like I'm high. All the time. I don't ever want to come down from this. Today I drove from Ansedonia, swam in the Mediterranean Sea, traveled to the magical fortress town of Pitigliano, ate bruschetta and had Nutella gelato...then made my way to Lago Belsano, where I swam in a fresh water lake. I just happened to drive past the majestic commune de Belsano, where I scaled the city walls to take photos atop the castle tower. I then made my way through winding roads, past many beautiful towns, until I stumbled upon Orvieto... OMG! This stunning cliff top town is beyond extraordinary. I feel like I am addicted to Italy. I cannot get enough! But I've had to stop as I've exhausted my camera batteries, and I write this in the shadow of the castle, just about to tuck into my arrabiata pasta and vino bianco, while being serenaded by this amazing singer on an acoustic guitar... I feel so blessed to experience this incredible day. I wish you were here… Xxx PS: I drove back to Ansedonia down their steepest, windiest, narrow, most treacherous dark roads…as if that was hard enough. And then it started to BUCKET down torrential rain, of the like I haven’t seen since Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines last year. I barely drove over 50km/h the whole way. After 3 hours of what should have been a 90 minutes drive, I made it back to base. FREEDOM IN A FIAT 500. BRILLIANT!
The spectacular walled fortress of Pitigliano at night
16 August 2014 WHEN IN ROME... I don't even know where to begin with this. Where do I start to describe this incredible day? This morning I wake up in Ibiza, Spain. I pack my bags, load the car and bid farewell to my charming British hosts at the Can Wadi 'Airbnb'. As I make my way to the airport, I decide to take the coastal scenic route, and can barely breathe as I turn every winding steep corner as the view of the white beaches and turquoise waters are literally breathtaking. So much so I almost drive over a cliff! Almost Thelma & Louised my way off the island! I finally make my way to the airport upon which I see David Guetta's F*** ME, I'M FAMOUS airport lounge. Sushi and wine before the flight? Amazing. I get on board my Vueling flight and to my surprise have 3 seats to myself, and the flight attendants are as spectacular as the view outside my window seat. Seriously. The airbus smoothly lands in Rome. Italy. O. M. G!!!!! I know I get a little carried away at times, but truly, the greatest thing you can do in this lifetime is see this incredible world, one amazing place at a time. Nothing could prepare me for Rome. I am in love. This city. The people. My amazing find on Airbnb... I am so jealous of myself right now, but I do this for YOU!!! Put Rome on your bucket list. Do it now. You will just explode. I have an itchy trigger finger with my camera at the most mundane of times, thanks to my DNA, but in Rome, I'm getting a cramp in the finger. Can't-stop-shooting!!!! Every step is another incredible moment. To all my Italian friends, I know now why I love you so much!! Marucci, Fiorentino, Zanotto, Cicchino, Farricielli, Calveri, Strigari, Arnone, Malavasi, Barberi, Calvi, De Marco, Di Girolamo, Dilello, Di Caprio, De Niro etc etc etc... You get the point. I was so Spanish this morning, but tonight...Hey Mambo, Mambo Italiano....!!!! Excuse me as my Pinot Grigio is getting warm. Ciao!!! Xxx
MiG and the Pantheon, complete with a Roman Centurian photo bomber
13 August 2014 I am surrounded by such sublime beauty at times when I feel I really need to see it. As I sit on a cliff face overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, as the sun sets over Ibiza Island, it strikes me how much one has to be suffering to deny oneself the opportunity to possibly one day see another sunset or experience all the wonderful things life can offer. I have known some dark times, and I have swam in vats of misery, but to really have felt such sadness that one would take one's own life, breaks me down to the core. Especially if that someone is one who was so loved, and such an inspiration to so many. If only he knew how much we all miss him, loved him, treasured his every word...I never met the man, but my heart is so heavy now that he is gone. He is immortal through all his movies, tv shows, and recordings and he will never be forgotten, always loved. My heart pours out for you and for your family. Oh captain, my captain, I will always endeavor to seize the day, until I too must sign off. Nanoo, nanoo... be at peace now. Thank you Robin Williams. The Earth was such a wonderful world with you on it. X
11 August 2014 Greetings from Ibiza! I've decided to take a bit of a holiday... This time traveling WITHOUT working, which I haven't done for a while, catching up with my good friends, soaking up the sun and culture that blesses this amazing island. Spoiling myself, but hey...Yolo. Xxx
Simon Sayer, Hannah Jane Fox and MiG, slumming it in Ibiza
31 July 2014 Last night I was again inspired to be doing what I'm doing. I experienced ONCE on Broadway. It was an emotional roller coaster, told through incredible performances, beautiful music, creative staging and unparalleled artistry. I again, am so proud to be a part of this wonderful community that brings such beautiful extraordinary elements to our world. I thoroughly recommend, ONCE. GO SEE IT! X
30 July 2014 Once is never enough... So I drove down to Atlantic City to experience the QUEEN phenomenon again. No matter how many times I see them, every time was as though it was my first. They were great at Madison Square Garden but at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, they were on FIRE!!! Thank you Brian May and Roger Taylor and all of the camp: Rufus, Neil and Spike and of course Sharon who organized our VIP passes to hang out backstage before the show. And on top of all that, Adam Lambert was just amazing... He makes me want to be a better singer. Yet again, inspired. X
20 July 2014 Mike Clifford is getting married to the beautiful Klaudia. I am so overwhelmingly thrilled for them and to be a part of this amazing day. It's actually really sunny in Philadelphia!
18 July 2014 Where do I begin to describe the last couple of days in NYC? There are many reasons why I love living in this city, and here are just a few:
I’ve been loving jogging this incredible city! Central Park, Riverside Park…two of my favourite jogging tracks in the world! The weather has been outstanding: not TOO hot (I say that with caution, because it’s been borderline-heatwave for a couple of days) with LOTS of sunshine, despite some flash rain storm that hit us a couple of days ago.
I saw BULLETS OVER BROADWAY the other night and was totally floored by the production from its staging, choreography, breathtaking sets, beautiful dancing girls (!), the costumes, design, lights…I can go on! But I haven’t been so thrilled by a show in a long time, and BULLETS definitely did it for me. But above all, what shines the brightest are the amazing performances by the talented cast. Truly, not a weak link in the entire show (even the dog!), and I was so proud to see my friend Nick Cordero blaze the stage with his Tony nominated portrayal of ‘Cheech’. Bravo!!
MADISON SQUARE GARDENS:
And just when I had my fill of such a fantastic day, I heard that QUEEN were about to start their show at MSG, so I ran to the box office and got a Primo Section A seat and saw my favourite band in full flight, destroy NYC with every power chord and ear-splitting crash! Adam Lambert did not disappoint as their frontman, but to see Brian May and Roger Taylor being accompanied on stage by my WWRY alumni Rufus Taylor, Neil Fairclough and Spike Edney was just too much for me to handle!! So inspired and filled with admiration and pride! It’s been quite a couple of days...
10 July 2014 So I find myself back in the USA! I am spending the next few days with my Legarda/Farricielli family in the historic beachside town of Cape May, New Jersey. Just a chance to disengage and debrief myself from the ANNIE - NEW ZEALAND adventure that was. I am truly spoiled with all my experiences and I try to never take any of my blessings for granted. I hope you are enjoying yourselves, wherever you are, my fine ANNIE family. I miss you already…
MiG, back in the USA in Cape May, New Jersey
7 July 2014 So I've landed in San Francisco after a long flight from Auckland. Don't mean to gripe, but Air New Zealand has some making up to do. They were 2 hours late in departing from Auckland, the entertainment system was not working for the whole flight despite attempts to reboot the system, I've missed my connecting flight to New York, so now I have to catch another flight which gets me into JFK at after 1am... Ahhhh the glamour of trans-continental life!! I wish I was still in New Zealand... Xxxx
My life is a plane. I'm a MiG.
5 July 2014 Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I leave here tomorrow…I can’t believe that this journey is at its end. Today we perform the last 2 shows of ANNIE in New Zealand, and it has been such an incredible journey. The warmth and awesomeness of the Kiwis have been overwhelming to say the least. I have loved every little bit of my stay in Wellington and Auckland. It is sad for me to leave this beautiful country, even sadder to say goodbye to the amazing Kiwi kids who have played the ‘Orphans' and ‘Annies’. I will also miss our superstar ‘Sandy’, Ramble…I think my next dog will be a labradoodle!! But I will also miss EVERYONE from my new UK family. To all those with whom I started this journey with way back in London, I thank you for welcoming me to the fold and for being such a warm and caring company. A band of brothers and sisters have we become. Onwards to new adventures and new beginnings, loaded with an arsenal of beautiful memories that will keep me company forever. However, I will not miss my MOUSTACHE! Tonight after our final curtain, I will bid farewell to my hairy upper lip, and welcome a new dawn of smoothness. You have served me well, oh little mo, but it’s time to go…xxx
One of these things is not like the other…MiG and some of the Kiwi Kids at the "Orphans’ Picnic”
4 July 2014 What is it about New Zealand that makes us do crazy things? JD Collins and I are asking the same thing!! We made a pact at the beginning of the Auckland season that we would both jump off Auckland Tower. True to our word, we donned our lightning bolt/superhero onesies and with the help of SKYJUMP, we hurled ourselves off the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere and landed safely on our target. Mission accomplished. Box ticked. Job well done!
John D. Collins and MiG make true their jump pact at SKYJUMP, at Auckland’s Sky Tower
2 July 2014 Today we got to be special visitors to the incredible Auckland Zoo! We got to feed the giraffes, and get special access to the wonderful exhibits that this awesome park has to offer. Many thanks to Elena, Dave and Jane at the zoo for being so kind. Despite the wet and cold weather, we had such an unforgettable day! Check out new pics at the Annie gallery!
MiG makes a new tall friend
30 June 2014 Final week of shows. 8 more Roosters. 8 more ANNIES. We are in the home stretch of this tour. I am counting down sadly to the time when this magical tour will come to an end. Hope you can see it before we have our final curtain...
ANNIE lights up the Civic for its final week...
26 June 2014 So it’s business as usual back at the ANNIE camp, so I took this opportunity to go back and finish Episode 17 of last year’s WE WILL ROCK YOU Arena Tour, (http://migayesa.com/mig-music/WE_WILL_ROCK_YOU_mini-diary_exclusive__Episode_17) where we visited Croatia. WWRY is never far from my consciousness, especially since we are again working at the Civic Theatre in Auckland where we opened our Tour in 2007. And there is always something there to remind me…
The WWRY poster sitting proudly side-stage amongst the shows that have graced the Civic Theatre
25 June 2014 So I made it back to Auckland, New Zealand after flying for 30 hours from New York, via Los Angeles and Sydney, landing at 3:30pm. Arrived back at the hotel at 4:15pm. Was at warm up in the theatre at 5pm. It was a task I set out for myself and was very proud I did it! There was no way I was going to miss my cousin Denise’s wedding to Joe. It was the most magical weekend with family and friends. So what’s the best way to celebrate that? By jumping off the Auckland Bridge, Kiwi style!! 3…2…1…BUNGY! Who said Roosters can’t fly??!
MiG jumps off another bridge…into Auckland Harbour
23 June 2014 60 hours flight time for 48 hours with family for a celebration of love and life. All worth it!! Must admit, I'm pretty shagged, but am on my last leg of my epic adventure...am waiting to board my flight to Auckland from Sydney. I land in Auckland this afternoon and will head almost straight to the theatre. I just need to heal this busted toe nail of mine. Too much info? Maybe, but it's ouch!
Life is an airplane. I am MiG.
19 June 2014 So I begin an EPIC journey to N.Y.C. 1st leg, AUCKLAND to BRISBANE. I'm taking Annie home to New York. And away we goooooooo...
Goodbye Auckland, let's go to NYC...via Brisbane!!
17 June 2014 I am so loving being in Auckland. This very hip, and groovy city has developed even leaps and bounds since I was last here in 2007. There is so much to explore, to see and do, I am trying to make the most of my stay here. However, I leave on Friday to head back to New York for just a few days for my cousins wedding. I will miss five shows from Friday through to Sunday, but the show will be in great hands of the very talented Michael Cortez who will play ‘Rooster’ while I am away. I will be back on Tuesday night. This was a pre-contractual agreement, as I could not possibly miss my cousin Denise’s wedding to the awesome Joe. Can’t believe that the whole family will all be in New York, while I am away in New Zealand! I am staying for only two nights but traveling for 4 days…! having said that, I can’t wait to see my family and all back in NY. It’s going to be a very happy joyous occasion. I was lucky to be allowed to watch and ‘shoot’ the dress rehearsal where they put Michael through his paces as ‘Rooster’ and I am very happy that I am now allowed to show you these shots here at mig-music.com. Unfortunately, I am in NONE of the shots, but as you can see, this is a lavish production, and one that I am very proud of being involved in. Enjoy!
Some of the Auckland ‘Orphans’ get ready to watch the dress rehearsal at the majestic Civic Theatre, watched over by a golden lion…
14 June 2014 The ANNIE company were on fire last night at the opening of the show in Auckland. So much so, that they had to call the fire brigade and we had to evacuate the building! Apparently, a fire alarm was set off in the theatre just as we finished the show. We all had to rush out of the building, some of us barely dressed as we were getting ready for the opening night party!! The audience got more show than they bargained for and we really showed them how dramatic we can be! Thank you to the Auckland Fire Department for responding SO quickly. Lucky it was a false alarm. This show is definitely smoking HOT!!
The scene outside the Civic Theatre last night as the Fire Department responded to our smoking hot show!
14 June 2014 Another city, another opening night…PRESS NIGHT! Tonight marks the official opening of ANNIE here in Auckland. We are performing at the amazingly spectacular Civic Theatre, where seven years ago, we were opening WE WILL ROCK YOU. We are all very excited. The Kiwi kids are AMAZING! We are in great shape after two successful preview performances. Loving Auckland, loving New Zealand, loving my job. Can’t complain about that much, can I??!! Sweet as!!!
A ‘ROOSTER’ selfie
12 June 2014 Press call! Opening night! Final dress rehearsal! It's all happening today!!!! Another day, another opening. It's all very exciting!! Auckland, on with the show this is it !!!
Meet Clyde: our newest SANDY
11 June 2014 I have truly loved the beautiful days in Auckland after such terrible weather driving here! Love to jog around this gorgeous harbor city… #ilovemyjob #iloveauckland #ilovenz #annienz
11 June 2014 Tomorrow, at 1pm in front of the Te Papa Museum in Wellington, people are gathering for #flashmob and #timetoact to join the world in uniting to end sexual violence in conflict. In the light of the horrific atrocities that are coming to the surface in Sri Lanka, and as delegates meet in London for the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, we the ANNIE company stand together to say that the time to act is NOW, that war crimes like these should not go unpunished and the sexual violence against women and men must be put to an end immediately. We stand united with the world in condemning these horrific acts of human atrocities. #timetoact #flashmob
11 June 2014 So today we met the Auckland orphans, and they thrilled us with their incredible talent and enthusiasm! Our consolation of losing our little Wellies is that we have new Awesome Auckies!!! We are in such good shape, I thought we could have opened tonight! We are into the magnificent Civic Theatre tomorrow, but we enjoyed having yet again the city town hall at our disposal. So excited to be back in Auckland, and with such a great show with such an amazing cast. The Kiwi kids are just insanely talented. Words fail me as to how impressed we all are by everything we have seen here in New Zealand. Choice as, bro!!! xxx
The Auckland Orphans show us what they got at rehearsals at Auckland’s City Hall
10 June 2014 Road Trip!! Rachel Stanley, Joe Connors, Chris Kayson and I decided to drive from Wellington to Auckland, while the rest of the ANNIE company flew. What an adventure! We decided to take 2 days, stopping at Taupo along the way. Despite the terrible weather, we saw such incredible landscapes, over mountains, forests, over rivers and lakes, taking in the breathtaking New Zealand countryside. But we made it to beautiful Auckland, and I had a jog this morning around this city, seeing how much it has developed since I was last here seven years ago. I am so excited to explore this place. Life is definitely a journey, not a destination, but what a wonderful destination this is!!
Joe Connors, Rachel Stanley, Chris Kayson and MiG enjoy jet boating the Huka Falls Rapids near Lake Taupo. Thank you Rapids Jet!! Awesome!!! (www.rapidsjet.com)
7 June 2014 So today, we are performing our last shows in Wellington. In fact, I’m writing this from my dressing room in the interval of the matinee. The audiences have been a delight here, and I will miss this beautiful city that I am still just starting to get to know in all its glory. But I will miss most those amazing little Wellies, who played the orphans here. They are getting quite emotional as they see this magical experience coming soon to an end. But for many, this will be just the beginning of many more wonderful theatrical experiences. Many stars were born on this St. James stage. I put it to the Auckland girls, that they have ‘big’ shoes to fill. But I look forward to the next chapter: AUCKLAND! How I love that city. I will miss you Wellington…I SHALL RETURN! xxx
Tania Rodger gives us ANNIE company the VIP treatment at the WETA WORKSHOP!!
6 June 2014 We had a wonderful day visiting Red Rocks Reserve, just a short drive out of Wellington, to see the colony of beautiful fur seals. There were so many of them just draped over the rocks, catching the last of the day’s sun. Our fantastic guide Garry just spoiled us with this incredible spot, south of Wellington. It was such a clear day, we could see the snow capped mountains of the South Island from there. I wish we could take one of the seals home!…maybe become a Sandy understudy, should Ramble feel a little off…?
MiG and seals (of the fur kind) at Red Rocks Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand
4 June 2014 To continue my photo essay on this New Zealand Tour of ANNIE, I’ve just added a heap of new photos to the gallery. I hope you enjoy them. New Zealand is a photographer’s paradise. I can’t stop shooting!! Off to see some seals today. Check out the pics tomorrow...
The fly-tower at the St. James Theatre. Looks like even the fly-men are getting into the ANNIE spirit!
3 June 2014 What an amazing weekend I had! My parents were here from Sydney, and we had such a wonderful time! They fell in love with Wellington as quickly as I did. Thank you to the wonderful Museum Hotel, The Library and Crumpet for spoiling them rotten and taking care of them. We even managed to fit in Yum Cha Dim Sum at Dragons on Sunday brunch…yummy! Then the fun just kept on rolling as we had a wonderful night at Hummingbird. I have to especially thank Hewitt and Jo Humphries, who invited the cast to their wonderful house overlooking Wellington Harbour, for a Queen’s Birthday party like no other! The hospitality and friendliness of the Kiwis is more than legendary, it’s fact! But, back to work for our final week here in Wellywood. It’s show time!
The 42nd Street Tram pulls out onto the stage for NYC…on with the show!
1 June 2014 Only one week left of the Wellington season of ANNIE! I can’t believe it is going so fast!! I am loving this beautiful city so much. I am struggling to find enough time to see and do all I can. Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth II. We will celebrate you in style today in New Zealand!
A ‘Rooster’ Selfie
30 May 2014 After a magnificent twelve year run, WE WILL ROCK YOU is playing for the last time at the Dominion Theatre in London, tonight. Performing that show at that theatre has been one of the highlights of my career, if not my life. I congratulate all of you performing tonight and to all those Bohemians and Yuppies, onstage, behind the scenes, to those millions of fans around the world, who have ever been a part of this phenomenon, I wish you a final ‘bow, and curtain call’ and may the show go on, and on, and on, and on…YOU ARE THE CHAMPIONS, MY FRIENDS!!
The company of ANNIE salute you, WE WILL ROCK YOU! To those about to rock for the last time…xxx
28 May 2014 We are well into the swing of things now. I am loving my new ANNIE family. Everyone in the company is so warm and wonderful and talented, from the youngest to the oldest, (and that is a HUGE age band, of about 80 years!!!). You have to check out this amazing documentary about the ANNIE auditions. I get so nervous when I audition, I can only imagine what these young girls were experiencing. To see what they go through, even before we hit the rehearsal space is inspiring enough. Then to see them shine and blow everyone away on the actual stage just makes me speechless. We are witnessing stars being born… Check out the video here: http://www.3news.co.nz/Hard-knock-life-for-some-Annie-hopefuls/tabid/1771/articleID/346138/Default.aspx I am also in love with our youngest star, the fuzzy-wuzzy angel that is Ramble, who plays ‘Sandy’. We are told to resist the urge to distract him, as when he is working he needs to focus on his tasks, but it is like torture to not be able to just hug the hell out of this incredibly cute and loving dog. He makes me melt. I want to EAT HIM!!!!! ….not literally.
Fiona with Ramble ‘SANDY’ backstage at the St. James Theatre, Wellington
26 May 2014 So we've finally opened the show in Wellington and it's been a great success. We're still ironing out a few bugs, but we have a great show and we are really in the swing of things! We get our days free now to do more exploring which is really exciting in this beautiful city of Wellington! Zoe and Amelia have both had their 'Annie' debuts, and the two groups of orphans have had their chance to shine. Just Ilena is left to have her moment of glory...every show seems to have its own special occasion.
MiG on stage as 'Rooster Hannigan'
Photo © Hagen Hopkins
23 May 2014 First performance last night was a huge success and great relief to get through, to standing ovations in the crowd. There is so much heart to this show, and everyone is just brilliant! Amelia Walshe was our Annie last night, and she was extraordinary. Her performance was flawless!! I can't say it enough, but I am totally floored at the level of talent in this show from the kids, to the adults, to the creative and production teams to Ramble, our 'Sandy'! Press night tonight. I hope they will feel the same...
One of these things is not like the other... Zoe Fifield, Amelia Walshe and Ilena Shadbolt pose with a Rooster
22 May 2014 Overture, dim the lights, this is it! The night of nights…. or something like that. We’ve arrived at opening night! First preview tonight for ANNIE - The Musical in New Zealand. It’s been quite a journey to get here, with so many pieces of the puzzle to connect. We had a wonderful time to get things going, and it looks like we’re in pretty good shape. I am so proud of our company of adults and kids and animals…(and I’m talking about Sandy, not the band)…And oh what heights we’ll hit…..ON WITH THE SHOW, THIS IS IT!!
The ANNIE company on stage at the St. James Theatre, Wellington at the Sitzprobe
21 May 2014 Tomorrow, tomorrow, We open tomorrow, It's only a day away...
Emily Trebicki (Lily St. Regis) & MiG (Rooster Hannigan) backstage at the St. James Theatre
20 May 2014 We are neck deep into tech rehearsals now and the crew are doing an amazing job reconstructing the set, setting the lights, tweaking the audio and we had the element of the orchestra coming to join us last night. It’s all shaping up very nicely, but long days and nights ahead yet!
The Orphans and Miss Hannigan rehearse on the set of ANNIE
19 May 2014 We had our first day off since arriving in Wellington. It has been a pretty hectic rehearsal schedule, so we were really looking forward to some well deserved R&R. We were so fortunate to be given a tour of the Weta Workshops (Peter Jackson’s legendary film production complex) organized by Maria and Ilena Shadbolt (one of our talented Kiwi ‘Annie’s). I was so breathless with excitement as this is the one place in Wellington I truly wanted to see, especially after being greeted so graciously by Gollum at the airport. I was so ready to take a billion shots, but the place is shrouded with secrecy, so was unable to take too many pics inside. However the insight into what goes on at Weta was truly amazing! A must see in Wellington. But today is our first day of technical rehearsals. This is our home stretch towards opening night...
MiG, Scott Royle, Ilena Shadbolt, Helen Rymer, Chris Krayson, Emily Trebicki, Alex McMillan, Joe Connors and a couple of trolls outside the Weta Cave
17 May 2014 Yesterday was a very exciting day at ANNIE NZ.., we got to meet ‘Sandy’!!! And wow, he is the most adorable dog…real name is ‘Ramble’, but nothing vicious about him at all. We are to be very respectful and kill the urge to just hug and touch him, as he needs to focus on the amazing acting job he does on stage, but I want to steal him and bring him home!!! And we finally had our first day at the majestic St. James Theatre. This historic building is the perfect canvas on which we will paint our story. And then on top of all that we got to run Act 1 twice, without too many hitches, the excitement for the show just keeps on building! The Kiwi kids just keep getting better and better, as we get closer and closer to opening night…
The majestic St. James Theatre gets invaded by ANNIE
14 May 2014 We are in full swing again with rehearsals. Long days, cold and windy outside, dark when we finish work, but we are filled with excitement of how the show is turning out. The Kiwi children are just delivering charisma and talent in buckets, and we are trying to keep up with their amazing energy and enthusiasm! But one day we will have a day off to truly explore this amazing country. Much work to be done until then! MUCH!!!
David McAlister (‘Oliver Warbucks’) hard at work at rehearsals
13 May 2014 Today, it all came together. Today I understood what ANNIE was all about. Today we met the Kiwi kids, the ‘Orphans’. And then it all made sense. Not only were the 3 ‘Annies’ brilliant, but every single girl that was cast for this show were outstanding. Beyond expectations, the girls from New Zealand have blown us away. The brilliant choreography of Helen Rymer was finally brought to life and there was not a dry eye in the rehearsal space as the girls showed us what they had been working on for the past two months. We have found not just one future star, but a whole chorus of future stars are born. The future of ‘girl-power’ in New Zealand is secure as these amazing performers hit the stage. Look out New Zealand! You will be blown away, by this production…and it’s the local content that will be the piece that is the dynamite! I am truly overwhelmed…
The Wellington Town Hall…ANNIE rehearsal HQ as the new and old generations collide!
12 May 2014 Had the most wonderful day exploring this gorgeous city of Wellington. From an early morning jog, to a late afternoon lazy lunch at the awesome Beach Babylon, it was smiles and awwww all day long!! I have started a gallery of shots I took during my time with ANNIE from my time in London, to my New Zealand trip. I will continue to add to this gallery, so I hope you can enjoy them and stay tuned with our adventures here. We get to meet the Kiwi kids tomorrow for the first time, the real stars of the show. I wonder when I get to meet Sandy the dog? So much to love about Wellington, but they are right…IT’S REALLY, REALLY WINDY!!
Some of the cast of ANNIE visit the ‘Office’…
11 May 2014 Kia Ora New Zealand! I’ve made it to Wellington!! I’m pretty used to long haul flights, but this was a LONG HAUL FLIGHT! But again QANTAS did not fail to impress. Our exhausted weary travelers were all in unison about how long it took us to get here. But our journey actually started 3 weeks ago when we first started rehearsals in Warren Street, London. Am just about to go for a jog to explore this beautiful city. Every day is a journey of discovery. Choice as, eh cuzzie?!!
You know you’re in Wellington when…MiG & a giant Gollum at Wellington Airport. We are in Peter Jackson territory for sure!!
10 May 2014 I'm home!!! ...kinda... Transit in Melbourne as it's Mother's Day in Australia. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, YOU AUSSIE MUMS!!! Another short trip to make to Wellington. Almost there, on the home stretch. GOOD ONYA MUM!! Xx
Cannot complain about the awesome QANTAS flight on the A380
10 May 2014 Just landed in Dubai, en route to Wellington. QANTAS and the A380 crew have been wonderful. Another airport, another duty free shop...
Landing in Dubai
9 May 2014 My last day in London. It’s been an amazing trip! From the workshop of Queen’s THE SHOW MUST GO ON, to rehearsals for ANNIE, to just seeing friends and hanging around this amazing city, my home away from home, my former home. My last night was one of the highlights of the whole trip, watching MISS SAIGON at the Prince Edward Theatre. The production was amazing and fresh and then cast were giving it 150%. The performances blew me away! Considering we saw the alternate ‘Kim’, Tanya Manalang only on her 2nd show, she was extraordinary! Incredible performances from the beautiful Rachelle Ann Go as ‘Gigi’ and Alistair Brammer as ‘Chris’, Tamsin Carroll as ‘Ellen’, Kwang-Ho Hong as ‘Thuy’…in fact the whole cast deserves a mention! It would be wrong of me to exclude anyone last night. It was only their 1st week of previews, yet it was pretty perfect from my seat (despite a really tall guy sitting right in front of me!). But I have to single out Jon Jon Briones as ‘The Engineer’. His performance was what legends are made from. Bravo to all! So anyway, enough gushing. Off to Wellington, New Zealand today via Dubai and Melbourne. It’s going to be an epic 24 hour flight, but just the beginning of a massive adventure. Goodbye London…and away we goooooooooo….!!!
Wellington, here we come!!!
8 May 2014 So we are done in London. Nothing left to do but pack and say our goodbyes, ready and eager to say "kia ora!” to our new friends in New Zealand as we fly out tomorrow! It’s been an adventure so far, but it is only just beginning. There is much last minute London things to do…
The UK contingent of the ANNIE company, on our last day of rehearsals in London
7 May 2014 It's our last day of rehearsals here in London. We are doing all we can to prepare ourselves for a very busy technical period in New Zealand. The better we know what WE need to do, the easier it will be when we add the magnificent chaos of kids, dogs, sets, costumes, props, lights, orchestra and microphones...yikes! This is a massive jigsaw puzzle and the biggest pieces are yet to be placed!
Alex McMillan, MiG and Emily Trebicki on the last day of ANNIE rehearsals in London
6 May 2014 Had an amazing weekend off. Three days of exploring this incredible city of London, with great friends and probably too much champagne (is that even possible?). Back at the office today refreshed and heading down the home stretch of ANNIE UK rehearsals...
Alfie and MiG under the shadow of the majestic Tower Bridge
5 May 2014 Yesterday, May 4, was World STAR WARS day. And my cousin Billy was just killing it with his array of costumes. So proud of the Geekiness that runs in our family!! May the 4th be with you….always.
Billy and the gang enjoy a coolant in Manila…
4 May 2014 Ok. 1930 makeover...one step there. Now to grow a moustache, and get depressed!
4 May 2014 May the 4th, be with you. Happy STAR WARS day...
3 May 2014 It's haircut time. Time to get fully immersed into the 1930s... Which means getting quite a makeover. Check out next time to see how it turned out...
MiG at ANDREW BROWN hairdressers, with Alfie photobombing...
2 May 2014 All the pieces seem to be coming together at ANNIE HQ. The numbers are looking sleeker, the songs are sounding stronger, we are in good shape on our side of the world. We just have to add an army of orphan girls, a mangey dog, costumes, lights, sound, an entire set of 1930's New York City, and I think we might have a show...
The adults in full swing at ANNIE rehearsals
30 April 2014 Train strikes, lost wallets and grey skies could not dampen the mood in the rehearsal room. All systems go for ANNIE, now in its second week of rehearsals. Things are coming into place, and we're really starting to feel a synergy within the company.
Sue Hodge (aka 'Mimi Labonq' in ALLO' ALLO'!) and MiG at rehearsals
27 April 2014 I was very privileged last night to be asked to join the line up at the INCOGNITO ARTISTS concert at St. James Theatre last night. Geoff Sewell, Tim Rogers and their team of talented performers delighted a capacity crowd which included New Zealand Consul-General and pop legend Kiki Dee. One of the true highlights of the night was when Geoff's daughter Sienna, once diagnosed with autism, joined her Dad and little sister Olivia to sing HEAL ME. There was not a dry eye in the house. What Simone and Geoff Sewell achieved with Sienna is nothing short of incredible. They are such an inspiration to us all...
Geoff and Simone Sewell and MiG
26 April 2014 April is Autism Awareness Month, and this holds special interest for me as I have two nephews who are struck with autism. Both are doing extremely well, despite their initial diagnosis. It proves that autism is a challenge, but not a barrier to living rich and fulfilled lives. A champion of the cause is my good friend Geoff Sewell, a star in New Zealand and founder of Incognito Artists. He has organized a concert tonight at the St. James Theatre in London, and as a last minute addition, it looks like I might be part of the line up. I cannot be more honored than to sing with my friends and support him and his wife Simone, as they prove to the world that their little Sienna is a prime example of what can be achieved with care and love. The concert is tonight, Saturday, which will also be filmed by TVNZ, and there are a few tickets left. Here is the link for tickets if you can make it: https://www.stjamestheatre.co.uk/events/incognito-artists
Geoff Sewell leads the Incognito Artists
24 April 2014 Another great day at ANNIE. Am marveling at the work of our director Alan Cohen. He has a vision that extends far beyond where I feel this show has gone before and brings a gravity to the scenes which in turn uplifts the comedy and the charm of this piece. But I was moved today by the plight of a true legend, Stephen Sutton, who at the age of 19 is facing his impending mortality through terminal cancer . However he continues to keep positive and raise money for cancer charities by trying to complete his bucket list... Please visit and donate to his plight at https://www.justgiving.com/stephen-sutton-TCT
MiG, Ben Elton & Hannah Jane Fox after THE SHOW MUST GO ON performance
23 April 2014 Another day at ANNIE rehearsals in London done. We have started staging the numbers and blocking the scenes...but have to leave spaces for our Kiwi stars until we get to NZ. All happy campers so far. So much to learn in so little time. I love a challenge!!
Brother & Sister Act: Su Pollard (Miss Hannigan) with MiG (Rooster)
22 April 2014 Rehearsals started in earnest today with a read through (without our Kiwi orphans!) and a meet and greet (without our Kiwi orphans!). This cast is amazing and I feel so lucky to be amongst them. Zany, eccentric and brilliant! Can't wait to add our Kiwi orphans into the mix...and Sandy the dog !
22 April 2014 So today I begin a new adventure, that starts in London with rehearsals for ANNIE! I am excited to be playing ‘Rooster’, as I would make an awful ‘Annie’. Am busting with anticipation to meet my new cast, my new family. I’ll keep you posted with as much info as I can…Stay tuned!
MiG with Steven Berkoff at THE SHOW MUST GO ON workshop in London
15 April 2014 I am still buzzing about what I experienced the last couple of weeks. I can say now that it was a workshop for a new QUEEN musical, written by Ben Elton, called THE SHOW MUST GO ON. It is the sequel to WE WILL ROCK YOU, and although I cannot say any more about it, I can say that it is a BRILLIANT show, that surprised everyone who came to see our presentation. I had the honour to work with legends such as Brian May and Ben Elton in such a creative and explosive exploration into making this new work leap off the page and onto the stage. I was so thrilled to be working again with the incredibly talented Hannah Jane Fox, and the awesome Rachel John and Brenda Edwards, as well as a company of brilliant young performers, some of whom I had worked with before, and new ones that I had just met. Under the baton of the genius of Stuart Morley, and with a kick -arse band, and with fresh choreography from the dynamite Giorgia Barberi, it was just joy from day one. I am hoping this show will see the light of day. It so deserves a chance to be seen, and heard and loved. Roger Taylor, Jennifer Saunders, Emma Thompson, Steven Berkoff and Arlene Phillips all agree with me.
MiG and Dr. Brian May. THE SHOW MUST GO ON!
12 April 2014 Ok, so I may not be able to say what I’m working on yet, but I could maybe show you who I’ve been working with for the past couple of weeks. Let’s just say I am in heaven working with such incredible and distinguished talent. I think for just 2 weeks work, we’ve achieved more than we even thought possible. This little workshop show in London might just have grown out of this little workshop…
6 April 2014 As I am working on a secret project here in London, let me divert you to another exciting project I was working on in New York City before I left. Lucie Jones and I feature quite heavily on the new upcoming video for Mike Clifford’s song ‘Ballerina’ off his album STAY IN MOTION. It’s such a beautiful song and Lucie and I were so thrilled to be a part of it. Shot in and around Brooklyn, New York, it is directed by John Pope and Leo Marino. Mike Clifford is one of my dearest friends, and one of my favorite artists. It was such an honour to be involved in it. Look out for it soon. Check him out at http://www.mikecliffordmusic.com
Mike Clifford, with Lucie Jones and MiG on the set of ‘Ballerina’
1 April 2014 You have to check out the new Lucie Jones video…but my apologies for Scott Alan for spelling his name wrong on the video! Lucie and Scott are sublime…my spelling skills were sloppy. But the video is GREAT! Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SY75iJQbvo
A still from Lucie Jones’ video of Scott Alan’s ‘AND THERE IT IS’
30 March 2014 So I'm off again! Just when I thought I'd stay put for a while...Nope! London for a little secret project first (wish I could tell you. I'm busting to say!!!) then start rehearsing for ANNIE. It's going to be a long trip. It's going to be an awesome trip....
This picture is not upside down. It's how I'm going to look in New Zealand
11 March 2014 I am saddened to hear that WE WILL ROCK YOU will rock the Dominion Theatre in London for the last time on 31 May, 2014. The show has broken box-office records and has won theatre-goer awards all over the place. The popularity of the show had it blasting the West End for 12 years with over 4,600 shows. It is the end of an era, but I’m sure it won’t be the end of the show. It’s still playing in so many places around the world including the US Tour. I feel so privileged to have been part of the history of the show. It has been a wonderful part of my life, and playing ‘Galileo’ at the Dominion has been a highlight of my career. Congratulations to all the current company, and to all those who played a part in making the show such an incredible phenomenon. But for now, THE SHOW MUST GO ON!
24 February 2014 A wintery jog this morning through Central Park this morning makes me appreciate how beautiful life can be sometimes. Even finding my bike wheel stolen after hanging out with good friends last night at ROCK OF AGES could not dampen my spirits. A busy day awaits…x
23 February 2014 Today I am saddened to hear of the passing of a long time fan and friend, Wanda Ward, who lost her battle against cancer. My thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family. May she be at peace and filled with joy in the Hereafter. You will always be loved, deeply missed and never forgotten…xxx
22 February 2014 I am so jet lagged, I get tired during the day, and then awake at night…My body clock has totally decided to screw me up, in revenge for the times I’ve screwed it up! But all is good, as the extra hours awake, I’ve put to good use. My new apt is looking more and more like home, and I’ve FINALLY unpacked and put away my suitcases…for now. Happy memories of Australia and spending time with family and friends…Here are four Ayesa boys rocking out in Perth! So blessed to spend time with my dudes!!
21 February 2014 So I’m SOOO back in New York, busy with unpacking, editing PHIL IT UP, and also making a home for myself. Even managed a jog this morning…but the terrain is somehow a little different to where I was jogging a couple of weeks ago…!!!
MiG in Central Park, New York City
MiG at Lady Macquarie’s Chair, Sydney
18 February 2014 I'm almost over this 31 hour journey. I'm in transit in LAX, about to board the flight to NEW YORK. I have to say how impressed I am with QANTAS...despite traveling economy, the staff and all the facilities and food and service has been superb! Top marks for the flying kangaroo!!
17 February 2014 As I sit in transit at Sydney Airport, awaiting my next outward bound leg of my 31 hour journey back to NY, I finally have the chance to reflect on the amazing past few weeks. I have fallen so deeply and totally back in love with Australia. Everything, every experience I've had from the Sydney Opera House, to the Mandurah PAC, with every beach in between has been nothing short of breathtaking. THE MUSIC OF QUEEN SYMPHONIC tour of Oz was a huge success and I only hope it means that we will come back and visit more of this incredible country. I will miss my family and friends and the technicolour sunshine, and it makes me wonder why I ever left this place, but also makes me definitely aware that I still call Australia home.
13 February 2014 HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! So we just did this little gig at Joondalup Resort last night to about 9,000 people under a beautiful moonlit night, for their Valentine’s Conceert. The Perth Symphony were spectacular and really got into the spirit of things!! I could not resist to take the opportunity to take the ULTIMATE SELFIE…with 9,000 photo-bombers!!:
What a brilliant night! The City of Joondalup put on such a spectacle, and treated us like royalty! They put these FREE concerts on every year…what a gift to the people of Joondalup, and the people of Joondalup were such a gift to US! Tonight we play the Perth Convention Centre. BRING IT ON PERTH!! THE SHOW MUST GO ON….xxxx
7 February 2014 Performed at the Sydney Opera House…? TICK!! And what a tick to have! My debut at the iconic Concert Hall, to a PACKED audience, playing the music of QUEEN with the SYDNEY SYMPHONY, standing ovations…I don’t think it could get better than that! But it WILL!! Two more shows today, completely sold out!! My family will be there, from Sydney, Hobart, Blue Mountains…STRATHFIELD! It is a hard task for my voice, and I demand a lot from it, but if there is a day I need to pray to the voice gods, today is it. THE SHOW MUST GO ON!!
MiG on stage at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall
5 February 2014 THROWBACK THURSDAY Here’s a taste of things to come this weekend at the Sydney Opera House… 'Fat Bottomed Girls’ at Arundel Castle in 2008.
This gig never gets old! I cannot wait to rock the Bennelong with the Sydney Symphony!! We are rehearsing with the orchestra for the first time today. It’s all a bit of a dream really! Living the dream...
4 February 2014 I am loving being back in Sydney rehearsing at the Opera House...pinch me, I must be dreaming! And reunited with old friends, and it feels so good...
26 January 2014 "I've been to cities that never close down, From New York, to Rio, to old London town, But no matter how far, Or how wide I roam, I still call Australia home..." - Peter Allen Happy Australia Day maaaaaates!! See you Down Under bloody soon!! Xxx
The view from my window today, in New York City
23 January 2014 Ok, I hope you can stay with me for this entry as it’s going to be a doozy. This one will span a couple of weeks as I have been all over the Philippines yet again…and should be in New York right now if it wasn’t for the fact that all flights to NYC have been cancelled due to the Arctic Vortex that has again hit the city, so I am still in Manila for a few more nights. This year of 2014 has already been an incredible one with all the traveling I have done.
First of all I flew to Bohol. A place that was devastated by earthquakes and then ravaged by typhoons. It was a jewel in the crown for the Philippines, but now it is in much need of love and attention to help rebuild itself to its formal glory. There is still so much to see and do there, and I hope we can bring much needed focus to its journey to redemption. Spending the last hours of 2013 on a raft off the coast of Bohol was absolutely breathtaking. Many thanks to all at the magnificent ANANYANA Resort for their wonderful hospitality!
Weather delayed us from getting to our next destination which was Cagayan De Oro, so we went straight to the beautiful island of Camiguin. This place was awesome in so many ways, and even the little islands around the main one was so worth exploring. From the White Island (literally a white sand bank sticking out of a very blue ocean!) to the idyllic paradise of Montigue Island, there was never a dull moment. From gasping at the utter beauty and serenity to scuba diving with giant sea turtles, and jamming with the governor of the island, I will never forget my time there.
Then we went to Cagayan De Oro, where I do believe I had the most unexpected yet uplifting musical inspiration of the trip so far, hanging out with a band consisting of 6 tribes, I brought my rock influence to their party, yet found myself totally enthralled and immersed in what they were playing. Their voices haunted me, their rhythms moved me and their spirituality captivated me. I wanted to become the 7th tribe, but ended up just being a fan!
And then we find ourselves in the legendary Boracay Island! There is so much expectation about this place, it being heralded around the world as one of the most beautiful beaches on Earth…and it did not disappoint! From the powdery white sand and bright blue crystal clear waters, an endless array of restaurants and nightlife as well as pristine havens, Boracay earns its reputation every single visit! I have visited this place before, but it never gets old! I manned up on the first day there and found myself jumping off 60 foot cliffs at Ariel’s Point, sailing across the Pacific at sunset, and even jamming on the beach with new found friends from Poland to Moscow to San Francisco. It’s such a feel-good vibe as soon as you land. No wonder some people decide to NEVER leave! I also was so blessed to have my brother and his two sons their too! Much family time!!
And then we went to Cebu…to Oslob. Just when I thought I had seen it all, done it all, I get to do this:
Yes, that’s me, MiG swimming with giant whale sharks! So much for my chronic fear of sharks. This totally blew my mind!! Such gentle, peaceful giants that made me jump when I saw their size but they were so playful, my fear turned into pure joy and awe. Oslob is one of the few places in the world that you can interact so freely with these amazing creatures. Words fail me…It was life-changing.
So as I’m waiting for the snow to stop and JFK to re-open, I recover from my adventures with PHIL IT UP. My filming here is over. It’s time to piece together this incredible adventure and present the world what we have witnessed. I’m sure you will agree with me how spectacular the Philippines is. It is where I was born, where I started, where I come from and the more I discovered my homeland, the more I discovered me.
2013 Diary For 2013 Diary click here...
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