Simon Gallaher is not only one of Australia’s leading musical theatre performers, he is loved by Australian audiences as a television star, concert performer, singer, musician, pianist, songwriter and successful theatrical producer.
At the age of 15 Simon hosted a children’s television show, Simon’s Scene, for the Seven Network. He studied for a Bachelor of Music at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and staged and starred in his first professional concert before he was 19. He became a regular guest on Australian television’s immensely popular The Mike Walsh Show and his career took off as audiences flocked to his concerts and quickly sent five albums gold. Simon won a TV Logie Award for his work on The Mike Walsh Show, and became the youngest entertainer ever to be given his own night-time television variety show which ran for two successful seasons on ABC-TV.
In 1984 Simon made the transition to the stage in the Australian production of the Broadway smash hit The Pirates of Penzance, playing over 1,000 performances. He has also performed starring roles in Hello Dolly, The Student Prince, My Fair Lady, The Mikado, HMS Pinafore and The Merry Widow.
By 1992 Simon’s company, Essgee Entertainment, was a major concert presenter and in 1994 he created a new stage production of The Pirates of Penzance. The musical was an overwhelming success, playing to over 500,000 people and a television broadcast was viewed by an audience of over two million people. It was a triple-platinum video and won an Aria Award for Best Musical Soundtrack. New productions of The Mikado and HMS Pinafore followed, winning more critical acclaim and a loyal audience. The musicals toured internationally and Essgee’s television productions screened internationally.
Essgee produced a new and lavish production of The Merry Widow which toured nationally in 1998-9 starring Simon and Marina Prior. The acclaimed Tony Award-winning play Master Class starring Amanda Muggleton followed and was an outstanding triumph, and a new production of Stephen Sondheim’s A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum toured throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Simon marked 25 years in show business by returning to the concert platform in 2000. The following year saw Pirates return for a national tour which lasted two years. In 2004, Simon produced the new Australian musical Eureka which opened in Melbourne to much critical acclaim. A new album with Julie Anthony, Together At Last, was released in 2006 and Essgee launched Showstoppers an immensely successful initiative for young up-coming performers offering a series of music-theatre workshops featuring the cream of Australian show business talent as tutors and mentors.
Simon created a new version of The Mikado which premiered in Brisbane in 2008 and played Adelaide’s Festival Theatre to great acclaim in 2009. He then toured nationally again in concert with Julie Anthony during 2010, culminating in a series of farewell concerts marking Julie Anthony’s retirement.
2012 marked a return to both the concert stage with a series of tours across each state, and also a return to the musical theatre stage when he starred in the role made famous by Harvey Fierstein and John Travolta in the musical Hairspray for Harvest Rain. 2014 has seen another national concert tour, and a role in the musical comedy Spamalot for a sold-out Brisbane season.
Since 2007 Simon has been a trustee of the Queensland Performing Arts Trust (QPAC) and sits on its board of directors. In 2012 he was also appointed to board of the Queensland Theatre Company and the Chair of Brisbane’s Harvest Rain Theatre Company. He is patron to many arts organisations and sits on the Musicals Nominating Panel for the Helpmann Awards.
Simon is thrilled to return to the world of musical theatre as the Wonderful Wizard of Oz in the Broadway blockbuster WICKED.