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In full voice: Australia’s adopted diva Marcia Hines celebrates 60 years on stage

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The thrill of performing has never left Marcia Hines, not since she started singing in her church choir as a child in Boston more than 60 years ago.

And as she tells InQueensland, her urge to perform on stage is rebuilding anew as she prepares for the national tour of Velvet Rewired, kicking off its run at a Brisbane’s Wynnum Fringe in November.

Hines’ belief that music is indeed her life, and her need to connect with live audiences, has only grown stronger after the limitations of the pandemic.

“To be honest, it’s just good for the business to be getting back on its feet, my business, my industry,” the music veteran said.

“It feels like we’re coming home. That’s how it feels. Because if you’re a performer, no matter what it is you do, I think people make the experience the wonderful experience it is,” she added.

“And after what we’ve all gone through in the last few years, I’ll have to say now, we need some joy, and that’s what performers really like bringing to the table, joy.”

Hines said she can’t wait to connect with audiences face to face in the live arena of the Spiegeltent at Wynnum Fringe, starring as The Diva in the retro-inspired Velvet Rewired.

She’s joined by a cast of internationally acclaimed circus, dance performers and vocalists in a fusion of boogie wonderland disco, glamour, glitz and jaw-dropping circus skills.

“There was a time when disco music was, oh gee, not that stuff again, right? And then all of a sudden, in most of the movies we watch, the soundtrack for most movies, it’s got some sort of a song from that era in it,” Hines said.

“And so consequently, a lot of young people know that music because of the movies they watch,” she explained. “And then either your parents drove you crazy at barbecues playing that music, and you had no choice but to listen to it. And then eventually you think, ‘That’s not too bad, even though my parents play it, it’s not too bad.’

Hines says disco’s return echoes the same need when it first emerged in the ’70s.

“The disco era came out of such a sad time, which was the Vietnam War, and it was time to once again try and find some happiness in life,” Hines said.

“It just gave us some place to go to dress really strangely with the worst clothes. But I look at the clothes now and go, ‘I really didn’t wear that, did I? Did I?’”

“Like the great saying, ‘everything old is new again’, and that’s what fashion is, once again – the bell bottoms and the flared pants and the big hair. It’s fantastic,” she said.

Velvet Rewired starts its national tour in Brisbane. Photo: Rix Management

“Because of all that we’ve gone through, and that some of the people that people have lost, we need a little bit of joy. We need somewhere to kick off our heels and have a bit of a laugh.”

Hines says Velvet Rewired is a show that “once it starts – you’ve got no choice but to go”.

“It builds and builds and builds, and then it’s got circus acts in it, it’s got the great music, some fantastic singing and dancing, and it’s a spectacle to watch,” she said.

Hines says that after all these years performing in Australia, starting with her debut in Hair at the age of 16, she still loves touring with a great show.

And the key to that, she said, is taking something you treasure with you on the road.

“It’s exciting. I’ve learned how to tour, so after all these years I have learned to tour, and I try and take as many things that are close to me with me, so I feel like I’m at home wherever I go,” she said.

“I try and take my cat. I mean, it’s an interesting thing, walking into an apartment that is not yours or your hotel room that’s not yours, and somebody greeting you at the door. It’s a very nice thing.”

Hines first wowed Australian Audiences in hippie-rock musical Hair. Photo: Marciahines.com

Hines is also looking forward to releasing a new album following on from the success of her show The Gospel According to Marcia, which received rave reviews at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. She hopes that album will come out in October.

“We started Velvet, and then we took Velvet Rewired to Adelaide, and you can be in rehearsals and everything’s great, and we all encourage each other as performers in rehearsals, and then you get in front of an audience, you think, ‘I wonder how they’re going to receive this?’,” she said.

“And Adelaide just exploded. And consequently, now we’ve got Velvet Rewired. And we took the Gospel According to Marcia down to Adelaide and it was received so well, like wow. Once again, you have an idea, but you don’t know how it’s going to go, and it went so well.”

The third annual Wynnum Fringe will welcome an expected 35,000 local and interstate visitors to enjoy Queensland artists and entertainers from November 16 to December 4 2022.

It’s Brisbane’s only annual fringe festival, celebrating the best in contemporary, independent and alternative arts and entertainment for 19 days, with Velvet Rewired the major drawcard.

This article originally appeared in InQueensland. Read the original here.

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