John Waters will always be grateful that somebody pulled out of their four week slot at the Tilbury Hotel.
The actor and musician debuted Lennon: Through a Glass Onion at the Sydney cabaret bar in 1992.
Twenty-five years later the show is still on tour and has been reproduced for New York’s off-Broadway Union Square Theatre.
Lennon: Through a Glass Onion is at Ballarat’s Wendouree Performing Arts Centre next Saturday.
“It was a great start to have and I’ll always be grateful that somebody pulled out of their four weeks at Tilbury to allow me to step in with my show,” Waters said.
“Starting in a place like that, it had quite a lot of attention on it in those days because it was a successful cabaret space which wasn’t used to rock music.
“But it proved to be a hit with the Tilbury audience and people have related to it ever since, we had such a reaction that we had to go on and expand it to a bigger tour.”
The show began as “an experimental thing”.
Waters said he channeled – not impersonated – the late Beatles frontman.
The show has been seen by Beatles’ road manager Mal Evans and Lennon’s former girlfriend May Tang, whose 18-month-long relationship he referred to as his “Lost Weekend”.
The son of the immigration lawyer who fought for the star to stay in America has also attended.
“It was daunting to say, ‘I’m going to do John Lennon here’ and everybody has their own ideas and everybody has their own ideas of what they want to see on the stage.
“What I want to get across are the thoughts of John Lennon. I’ve drawn on those and my own memory to give people an image of John Lennon in a dream-like way before he gets shot dead.
“If those bullets took an hour and a half, then the thoughts of his life knowing he was about to die may be like what I’m doing on stage.”
Lennon: Through a Glass Onion is performed by co-creators John Waters and singer and pianist Stewart D’Arrietta.
The long-running tribute to Lennon in its New York incarnation will play at Wendouree Performing Arts Centre on Saturday, June 17 at 8pm. The “part-concert, part-biography” will feature 31 songs from Lennon’s solo career. To book visit wcpa.com.au.
I’ll always be grateful that somebody pulled out of their four weeks at Tilbury to allow me to step in with my show.Actor John Waters