John-Michael Howson


John-Michael Howson OAM, born in Melbourne, Australia in 1936, is an Australian writer, reporter and entertainer and 3AW commentator. His involvement in the Australian entertainment scene as a writer, producer and performer spans more than 40 years.

Theatrical productions

In the late 1960s, Howson also turned his talents as a scriptwriter and lyricist to the creation of original Australian stage musicals, working in collaboration with local composers. Early examples included Razza-ma-tazz (and all that Jazz), which was set in Melbourne's pre-war Red-light district, Little Lonsdale Street. With a cast that included veteran stage actress Madeleine Orr, the show was produced at the Southland Theatre in 1968. That same year, Howson collaborated with Peter Pinne and Don Battye on the musical It happened in Tanjablanca, which was a spoof of Hollwood in the 1940s. In 1972, Howson wrote What's in a name, a straight play on the subject of prejudice and intolenance in modern society, which was performed at St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne.[2] The following year, he adapted the play Norman, Is That You? for Australian audiences, which had successful seasons in Melbourne and Sydney. The adaptation included a new title song, co-written by Howson with composer Peter Best, which was recorded and released as a single by the show's star, Bobby Limb.[3]

The late 1990s saw Howson return to the creation of stage musicals, albeit this time in the form of jukebox musicals rather than entirely original shows with original music. Shout! The Legend of The Wild Onel, a stage musical about the life of singer Johnny O'Keefe, was co-written by Howson with Melvyn Morrow and David Mitchell, and made its premiere in Melbourne in the early 2000s. With the same team, Howson also co-wrote a musical about Dusty Springfield called Dusty - The Original Pop Diva, which opened in Melbourne in 2006.

In 2007, it was reported that Howson was collaborating on a new musical, Hotel Havana, with composer Jason Sprague.[4] He is currently working on another original musical Pyjamas in Paradise, about teenage parties at Surfers Paradise, Queensland and a jukebox musical about Bobby Darin which is soon to be workshopped in Melbourne.