from “Down Under” rises
on Canyon Moon stage
by Ben Gorman
What can the man who’s done everything do for an encore?
Gerard Maguire, a man who has certainly done quite a lot during
his career in the performing arts, will begin to answer that
question this month when he takes the stage in Canyon Moon
Theatre Company’s (CMTC) production of Side By Side By Sondheim
in its new theatre at the Old Marketplace in West Sedona.
Maguire brings to bear for CMTC the benefit of an extensive
career, principally in his native Australia, but also spanning
the globe. He received his bachelor of arts from Australia’s
National Institute of Dramatic Art, which boasts such distinguished
alumni as Mel Gibson, Judi Davis and Kate Blanchett. The Institute
is perhaps the most exclusive in the world. When he attended,
Gerard says there were 3,000 applicants but only 15 students
actually graduated from the program.
“Acting’s been very good to me. It’s taken me all over
the world,” said Maguire. Back in Australia, he acted in the
long-running Aussie TV series, “Prisoner Cellblock H,” which
has enjoyed a good deal of international success. He has also
appeared in productions internationally, including workshops
in Los Angeles with Jon Voight, a film in Japan and a five-month
run of an Australian production of David Williamson’s play,
Sons of Cain, that ran in London’s West End in 1986.
“Voice has been the mainstay of my career,” Maguire
said. He is one of the leading voice artists in Australia,
averaging three commercials or narrations per day. He continues
his voice work from Sedona via the Internet. He has taken
many and varied voice-over jobs over the years, from announcing
the diving events at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney (a
very busy two weeks that involved, among other things, learning
the pronunciation of all the foreign athletes’ names), to
giving voice to cartoon character Titanium Man for the cartoon
TV series “Iron Man.” The Russian character spoke “frequently
and longingly of mother Russia,” he said, slipping easily
into a Russian accent. Maguire’s vocal talents certainly benefit
CMTC, as he plays the role of the narrator in Side By Side
By Sondheim, which runs through April 7th.
talents and interests don’t stop at the lip of a stage or
the door of a sound booth. He has been working for many years
as a writer and producer for both film and television. Since
1988, Maguire has concentrated mostly on his writing, producing
and voice work. In Australia, he developed three television
series and wrote three screenplays, including Gross Misconduct,
starring Jimmy Smits and this year’s Best Actress Academy
Award nominee Naomi Watts.
through his writing that he met his film producer wife, American
Jane Alsobrook. In the mid-80s, while Maguire was producing
a film adaptation of a novel, he decided the screenwriter
on the project wasn’t cutting the mustard so Maguire wrote
the screenplay himself. Though as yet unproduced, the work
caught the interest of Columbia Pictures. Maguire flew to
California to discuss the project where he met Alsobrook,
who was then a senior VP at Columbia. Eventually their relationship
developed and Maguire moved to Los Angeles for a number of
years. When Alsobrook was offered a job as president of Australia’s
largest independent film production and distribution company,
he persuaded her to take it and they moved to Australia in
In the spirit of fair play and marital compromise, and
respecting a desire on Alsobrook’s part to be closer to her
family after September 11, they decided on a move back to
the U.S., arriving last December. Los Angeles was an option
- both had lived and worked there - but though they maintain
a house there, the couple decided on Sedona, long-time home
to Jane’s parents, hence familiar ground.
“I wanted environmental conditions similar to what we
had in Australia,” he said. Alsobrook continues her involvement
in film as a producer and consultant and is working with Maguire
on a film project due to go into production by the end of
the year. In fact, he’s been so busy that, until recently,
he hasn’t been able to clear the blocks of time needed for
theatre work. But he has never forgotten his roots as an actor:
“It’s my first love, my greatest love. It’s a real thrill
be working in the theatre again,” he said.
Serendipity seems to occur more often in Sedona than
the rest of the world. Recently, he happened to stroll through
the Old Marketplace plaza, saw the signs for Canyon Moon Theatre,
and stopped to chat with Mary Guaraldi, the founder and producing
artist director. Their mutual interests spawned both a friendship
and a working relationship. Of CMTC he said, “I’m really excited
by it. You have a very sophisticated audience here with high
expectations. It’s up to us to meet those expectations. If
the community can get behind Mary, she’s just the person to
do it.” And his goal is exactly in line with Guaraldi’s when
he says, “What we’re aiming for is a professional standard
What does Maguire like about life in America? Service
with a smile is one thing that comes to mind. Customer service
is a whole different ball game in the States, he reports.
As an example, he said, “I love shopping at Bashas’. They
make you feel good about spending your money there.” Doubtless,
Gerard Maguire is one more reason we can feel good about spending
our money with Canyon Moon Theatre.
Side By Side By Sondheim is a journey through the genius
of America’s foremost musical theatre treasure, Stephen Sondheim.
Featuring songs from Gypsy, West Side Story, A Funny Thing
Happened on the Way to the Forum and A Little Night Music,
Side By Side promises something delightful for everyone.
The production boasts a cast of very talented singer-actors,
including Carl Bara, accompanist Rebecca Cauthen, Nathaniel
Hackmann, Antoinette Tucker and Lynne Wieneke. Side By Side
plays Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm, and Sundays
at 2 pm, through April 7.
All performances are held at the new Canyon Moon Theatre
in the Old Marketplace, West Hwy. 89A in Sedona. General admission
tickets: $17 adults, $12 Wednesday performances, $10 full-time
students. Call for reservations: (928) 282-6212.