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PODCAST: A lap of Caulfield Park – Ashley speaks with Pip Mushin

Dashiel Lawrence
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Published: 12 September 2020

Last updated: 4 March 2024

Ashley talks to actor and director Pip Mushin, whose roles include Wayne in Strictly Ballroom and Stew from Frontline

 

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EVERY PERFORMER – PROFESSIONAL or amateur, Jewish or not - should appear in a production of Fiddler on the Roof at some stage of their career.

That’s the view of Pip Mushin, a longtime producer, director and performer across stage and screen in Australia.

He was slated to be the Resident Director of the Yiddish-language Australian Opera production of Fiddler, which would have taken place in Melbourne and Sydney later this year, if not for COVID-19, which brought live production in Australia to a grinding halt, like it has pretty much everything else.

In a wonderful conversation on the latest Lap of Caulfield Park podcast with Ashley Browne, Mushin discussed Fiddler, and how it has never been more important and relevant.

“It’s a refugee story, not just the Jews leaving Anatevka,” he said. “Look on the news every night and you’ll see pictures of refugees leaving. And that’s the great attraction of Fiddler.”

The original Yiddish Theatre Company production ran in the United States for several years and the Australian version, which was booked for the Comedy Theatre in Melbourne and the Opera House in Sydney, would have been among the first to appear outside the US.

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Australia, with its strong attachment to Yiddish language, especially in Melbourne, was seen as an ideal location for the production.

And while the production was officially ‘cancelled’ by the Australian Opera, Mushin was optimistic that it will eventually make its way here, if not next year then a few years down the track. “Hopefully when this is all over and live performance starts back up, I’d be very surprised if Fiddler doesn't come into the conversation again and was rescheduled.

“That’s my gut feel,” he said.

Mushin walked away from his law studies in Melbourne to move to Western Australia to study acting, having been bitten by the performing bug while directing and appearing in productions of Saltpillar Theatre, Melbourne’s Jewish community theatre production group.

Since then he has forged an outstanding and diverse career as an actor, writer, producer and director and on the podcast he tells a bunch of stories about working with the likes of:

  • Baz Luhrmann while playing Wayne Burns on Strictly Ballroom

  • The Working Dog team (Rob Sitch, Jane Kennedy, Santo Cilauro and Tom Gleisner) while playing Stu the cameraman on Frontline

  • Playing Josh Finkelstein opposite Paul Hogan on The Excellent Mr Dundee


And also working with Trey Parker on the Australian stage production of Book of Mormon.

He also wrote, produced and directed his own feature film, Josh Jarman and he continues to remain involved in Jewish theatre in Melbourne to this day.

You can listen to the Lap of Caulfield Park podcast through Spotify, Apple Podcasts and your other favourite providers.

 

 

About the author

Dashiel Lawrence

Dr Dashiel Lawrence is the Executive Director of TJI. A graduate of the Jewish Studies program at the University of Melbourne, he has been writing about Australia's Jewish diaspora for 15 years. His books include Australia and Israel: A Diasporic, Political and Cultural Relationship (2015) and People of the Boot: The Triumphs and Tragedy of Australian Jews in Sport (2018).

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