BACK TO THE FUTURE: John Waters with Stewart D'Arrietta.
BACK TO THE FUTURE: John Waters with Stewart D'Arrietta.

John Waters' long life and the big career

STELLAR actor John Waters is 67 and has a complete disregard for his years.

"Some people might say, 'Now I am this age I'm going to do less' but I see it as an opportunity to say, 'I'm going to do more'.”

And he means what he says. This year he has appeared in ABC-TV's "Rake” and "Dr Blake” and Channel 10's "Offspring”. He's just finished shooting the Ben Elton movie "Three Summers” with Michael Caton, and next month he is taking his tribute to Beatle John Lennon on a two-month tour.

Oh, and in April he stars in Sydney in "Talk,” the new Johnathon Biggins' play about a shock jock who locks himself in his broadcast studio and goes feral.

John was at his home in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales when Seniors called to talk about his part biography, part music show, "Lennon: Looking Through a Glass Onion”. which he will perform with collaborator, Stewart D'Arrietta, in Caloundra on January 12 as part of a 13-regional city tour.

He's calling it "The 25th Anniversary Tour” as it was in in January 1992 that he first presented his tribute to the late Beatle at the Tilbury Hotel in Sydney. Since then he has taken it to all our major cities, London's West End, New York and the Brian Epstein Theatre in Lennon's birthplace, Liverpool.

Asked why he selected the charismatic Lennon who was fatally shot outside the Dakota Building in New York on December 8, 1980, he said, "I couldn't think of anyone else in the rock'n'roll era who measured up to him. His image is of someone who is always worth listening to and it has endured.

"I didn't want some historical treatise. I wanted something personal, something visual. I show his life in a series of vignettes like a drowning person seeing his life in bits and pieces but not in a chronological way.”

Two years ago in December he was in New York with the show and held a press conference about a block away from the Dakota building.

"It was kind of creepy walking past the gateway where he was shot dead. It's a piece of New York history now. Yoko Ono still lives in the building. She was extremely gracious, approving the show and the way we dealt with the subject matter. She gave us all the copyright we needed.

"I've always had a lot of regard for Yoko. She was much maligned in a racist kind of way when she first got with Lennon. As if they were the only two people who had ever had an adulterous affair. Shock, horror.

"And then there was a condemnation of her as a person who controlled Lennon. She never did as far as I can make out. In fact, Lennon borrowed from her artistic pursuits. He loved what she did as an artist. She became his muse.”

When John isn't touring, he's at home with wife Zoe (47) and children Archie who is 14 and 10-year-old twins Gloria and Rusty. "I find it very rejuvenating to have small children all over again.”

It's his third marriage and he also has two grandchildren from his first marriage. "My son Archie is about a year younger than granddaughter Lily. When they were very young, we'd go to the shopping centre and onlookers would hear one of them calling me 'Daddy' and the other one saying 'Grandpa.'

"I'm sure they were thinking, 'Do these kids know who the hell this guy is?”

John Waters
John Waters

WHERE TO SEE JOHN WATERS:

Caloundra Events Centre Playhouse: Thursday, January 12; theeventscentre.com.au; (07) 5491 4240.

Redcliffe Cultural Centre: Friday, January 13; www.redcliffeculturalcentre.com.au; (07) 3283 0407.

Redland Performing Arts Centre: Saturday, January 14; www.rpac.com.au; (07) 3829 8131.

Armitage Centre, Toowoomba: Sunday, January 15; www.empiretheatre.com.au; 1300 655 299.

Cessnock Performing Arts Centre: Friday, January 20; www.cessnockperformingartscentre.com.au; (02) 4990 7134 

The Art House, Wyong: Saturday, January 21; www.thearthousewyong.com.au; (02) 4335 1485.

Byron Bay Community Centre: Friday and Saturday, January 27 and 28; www.byroncentre.com.au; (02) 6685 6807.

Canberra Theatre: Friday, February 17; www.canberratheatrecentre.com.au; (02) 6275 2700.

Griffith Regional Arts Centre: Friday, February 24; www.griffith.nsw.gov.au/cp_themes/theatre/box-office.asp; (02) 6962 8444.

Mildura Arts Centre: Saturday, February 25; www.milduraartscentre.com.au; (03) 5018 8330.

JOHN WATERS' MAJOR ROLES:

Theatre: 1988 Henry Higgins (My Fair Lady); 2000 Captain von Trapp (The Sound of Music); 2003 Fagin (Oliver Twist); 2013 Gomez Addams (The Addams Family).

TV: 1974 Sgt Robert McKellar (Rush); 1983 Brenton Edwards (All the Rivers Run); 2006 Dr Miklos Vlasek (All Saints); 2010 John Hatton (Underbelly); 2014 D.Arcy Proudman (Offspring); 2016 Edgar Thompson (Rake).

Film: 1980 Captain Alfred Taylor (Breaker Morant); 1987 Henri Fiocca (True Colours-the Story of Nancy Wake).


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