Even as he travels the globe on tour again this summer with Russell Hitchcock, the other half of his famed 80s hitmaking duo Air Supply, singer/songwriter Graham Russell is looking forward to the fall debut of “Petalbump.”
His exciting new children’s musical that features six new songs, 30 cast members (all but two of whom are children), an incredible light show, a full orchestra and performers from the children’s dance company Vibe.
The world premiere of “Petalbump” is scheduled to run for five shows October 27-31 at The Rose Wagner Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah. The 500-seat opera house is located at 138 W. Broadway. Russell envisions these performances as the first of many different productions of his show that will take place in various cities throughout the U.S.
Originally conceived as a ballet, Petalbump has been refashioned to also include elements of hip-hop, ballroom and other styles of dancing. Two of the participating dancers from Vibe recently won the national title for Under-14 Ballroom Dancing on ABC-TV’s “Dancing With The Stars.” Russell co-wrote some of the classically oriented music for the show with Jed Moss, longtime keyboardist with Air Supply who is also a concert pianist with the Utah Symphony and Ballet West.
In conjunction with the live stage show, Russell is also currently working on two versions of an accompanying storybook for “Petalbump.” The first will be a picture book for young children, with the story told in installments; it will feature beautiful artwork by up and coming San Francisco based illustrator David Habben. The second will be a version for older children up to 12 years of age. He is currently shopping for the right publisher and expects these to be published in late 2008 or early 2009.
“Petalbump’s” narrative revolves around a woman in her 30s returning to her childhood home and entering a fantasy world as a ten year old with the help of a lead fairy named Petalbump. Her childhood was cut short by the death of her parents, and as she packs up her house while preparing to sell it, she uncovers artifacts from her youth that lead her through a magic door into an idyllic world that has been waiting many years for her return. Ultimately, she decides not to sell her house.
“I really love everything about this show, from the marriage of the music and the dance element to the uplifting theme,” says Russell. “It’s a project that’s unique from any other I have worked on in my career. The story is essentially about believing in yourself. If you stop, the whole world falls apart.”
Air Supply, which just released their new album Free Love, is touring extensively this summer in Asia, Israel, South America and North America. The duo’s six week Asian tour, which began in early June, hits China, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Bangkok. After several shows in Israel, they head to Buenos Aires and Chile before returning later in the summer to do a series of shows in the U.S.