While completing his Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts, the Mount Martha artist wrote a successful one-man comedy about the struggles of a young man coming out in modern Australia. Maverick even became a key figure in the AFL’s Pride Game in 2017. He performs original songs about his own experience of being gay and growing up in a family of footballers — his brother is Carlton player Nic Newman. He was excited to make a difference by performing his progressive theatre piece to an audience that wasn’t necessarily exposed to it ordinarily in the hopes that they’d walk away a little more accepting of the LGBTQI community.
“I performed to a community that bullied me. Now it was my turn to bully them,” laughs Maverick. “I’m joking, but I did get my message across in a very self-deprecating way.”
Recently, he’s decided to move away from crude yet hilarious, curse word-filled, outrageous and inappropriate shows just for a little bit so he can invite his grandma to his shows without them both feeling rather awkward. Grandson of the Year Award, anyone? Since following his passion for theatre from a young age and first writing a play in Year 12, it made sense that he would then dabble in producing, writing, marketing and singing in his own grandma-friendly production. Maverick says: “The more strings to your bow, the better.”
So enter The Golden Age of Broadway. Staged at the Frankston Arts Centre last March, his production had the audience laughing, crying and humming along to the most memorable songs of the 20th century. It was a celebration of the show-stopping song and dance numbers of the golden age, from Gershwin to Kander and Ebb, Judy Garland to Gene Kelly. The cast performed hits from such musicals as Guys and Dolls, The Sound of Music, Cabaret, An American in Paris and many more.
“You’ve got to invest in yourself in this industry, so I just hired myself,” says Maverick. “Growing up, a lot of my friends would say that I was so funny. To me, comedy came about because of necessity. It was my way to deal with my parents’ divorce.”
Not one to wait for something to just happen, he’s now hard at work on a play that’s more dramatic and macabre than comical. He believes that a good writer should be able to include both. After all, Maverick says, there is comedy in darkness, and vice-versa.