bushranger captain moonlite jye bryant
Entertainment

Gay bushranger’s musical story coming to Sydney stage

The largely untold story of Australia’s gay bushranger, Captain Moonlite (Andrew George Scott), will become a brand new Australian musical this July.

Written by Sydney-based musical theatre composer and lyricist Jye Bryant, Captain Moonlite – A New Australian Musical is based on Scott’s unsent and previously suppressed death cell letters that describe the events that led up to his execution.

The exciting and beautiful story includes the birth of the Captain Moonlite legend, his alleged bank robbery, and the siege and shootout that led to the death of his lover and fellow outlaw, James Nesbitt.

Bryant, creator of The Things I Could Never Tell Steven, which was performed as part of last year’s Mardi Gras Festival, said that he had felt “immediately connected” to the Captain Moonlite story.

“The story of Captain Moonlite speaks to me as one of Australia’s greatest, and largely unknown, miscarriages of justice,” said Bryant.

“I thought it would make a captivating piece of theatre but was really unsure how I’d approach it.

“It was only when I discovered the death cell letters that I decided to use Captain Moonlite’s own words as a basis for the show.

“While he was on death row, the highly educated Andrew George Scott wrote dozens of letters to people in his life, but most of them were never sent and were only discovered about a hundred years on.”

Bryant said that Scott’s “beautiful words” described the robbery and court proceedings, as well as the depth of love that the bushranger shared with Nesbitt before he tragically died in his arms.

“Captain Moonlite is one of Australia’s earliest LGBTIQ figures,” he said.

“Despite living a time in Australian history where harsh penalties existed for sodomy, his letters openly declare his romantic love for James – outlining his wish to share his grave in Gundagai, a request that would not be granted until 1995.”

Captain Moonlite – A New Australian Musical will be directed by Tamer Morris, with musical direction by Matt Herne.

Auditions will be held in late February.

The show will premiere at Flight Path Theatre, Marrickville, from July 22–25, commemorating 140 years since Captain Moonlite was executed at Darlinghurst Gaol wearing a ring made of his lover’s hair.

More information is available on Facebook.

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