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Librettist, screenwriter, television director/producer.
Alan Burke (who wrote the book for Lola Montez, one of Australia's best-known musicals of the 1950s) was a graduate of the University of Melbourne. He started his theatrical career with the Melbourne Little Theatre in South Yarra, and later also worked in theatre in Canberra and Sydney. In the early 1950s, he travelled to the United States and England on a scholarship and, while in London, trained in television production with the BBC.
After returning to Australia in 1956, Burke collaborated with composer Peter Stannard and lyricist Peter Benjamin on Lola Montez. The musical's acclaimed debut by the Union Theatre Repertory Company (now the Melbourne Theatre Company) in early 1958 saw it given a large-scale production by the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust in Brisbane and Sydney. In response to the success of Lola Montez, Stannard, Burke, and Benjamin were commissioned by ATN7 and Shell to write a family-orientated musical for television. That production, Pardon Miss Westcott, was broadcast on Christmas Eve 1959. Starring Wendy Blacklock, it was orchestrated by ATN-7's musical director, Tommy Tycho, along with Julian Lee. A third musical by the trio, based on Ruth Park's The Harp in the South, has never been performed.
In the early 1960s, Burke began working for ABC Television, and within a short time was overseeing numerous drama productions as director and later as executive producer. Among the productions he both directed and wrote were adaptations of Lola Montez (1962) and another Australian musical, The Sentimental Bloke (1976).
As a television producer, Burke has overseen numerous ABC television dramas (also sometimes as writer and/or director), including The Slaughter of St Theresa's Day (1960), Macbeth (1965), The Cousin from Fiji (1972), Rusty Bugles (1965), A Curate in Bohemia (1972), Essington (1974), A Toast to Melba (1979), Coralie Lansdowne Says No (1979), Ride on Stranger (1980), A Hard God (1980), Going Home (1980), Departmental (1980), The Department (1980), Rusty Bugles (1980), The Amorous Dentist (1982), The Dean Case (1983), The Shippen Mystery (1984), After Marcuse (1984), Who Killed Hanna Jane? (1984), Kindred Spirits (1984), Rooted (1985), and A Halo for Athuan (1985).
Burke also produced (and directed one episode) for two ABC Television series: Dynasty (1970-1971) and The Seven Ages of Man (1975).
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The Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) produced the critically acclaimed, award-winning series Dynasty between 1970 and 1971. Dynasty--which bears no relation to the 1980s' American series of the same name--was developed from Tony Morphett's novel and later television play.
The series explores the intrigues and conflicts of powerful media family the Masons who, through the Mason Corporation Board, publish The Standard newspaper and own the television station MSN Channel 6. Head of the family and chairman of the board Jack Mason is a newspaperman like his father. And, again like his father, he is an old-style autocratic owner-publisher, determined to retain control of all aspects of his empire.
yLola Montez19581958(Manuscript version)x402075Z11727781958single work musical theatre
Set in Ballarat during the gold rush year of 1856, the story concerns the visit to the town Lola Montez (aka Dolores Eliza Gilbert), the famous Irish-born courtesan and mistress of a king. Her notoriety was also in part due to her sensational strip-tease 'The Spider Dance.'