Gallaher is a theatrical star, a singer, a musician, pianist, a hit
songwriter, and more recently a respected theatrical producer and entrepreneur.
He started his entrepreneurial exploits by endeavouring to promote his own
career as a performer as early as 1977 when he staged his first concert season
in his home town of Brisbane. As no promoter was interested in Gallaher's
potential, he decided to risk all in an attempt to showcase his talent to a
local public who had some knowledge of the young singer from his earlier
television show which he hosted for 2 years from the age of 15.
Only months after his successful concert debut (he covered his costs),
Gallaher's career was launched nationally through a song contest on television's highly successful The
Mike Walsh Show which won him his first recording contract with Polgram Records. This was followed quickly by a tour across Australia with Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds. Suddenly thousands of viewers around Australia discovered the
talent of this young Queenslander and he quickly won the hearts of Australians
eager to see his concerts and buy his recordings. Recordings were to be his
next entrepreneurial venture. Five Gold albums later his career and entrepreneurial skill were
starting to show results.
In 1982 Gallaher became the youngest entertainer to be given his own
night-time television variety show The Simon Gallaher Show running for 2 successful seasons on ABC-TV.
At 23 years of age Gallaher had cut a swathe through the Australian
entertainment scene winning enough awards to be the envy of any seasoned
performer....... a TV-Logie Award; 3 Mo Variety Awards, A Queenslander of the
Year; twice voted Queensland's Entertainer of Year, and an Advance Australia
Award for his contribution to entertainment.
In 1984 Gallaher made the transition to the stage in the Australian
production of the Broadway smash hit The Pirates of Penzance playing the role of Frederic. Together with
Jon English he played for almost 3 years
and over 700 performances in one of the most successful musical productions in
Australian history. As an actor he has also performed as Cornelius in
Hello Dolly; the title role of Karl Franz in the Lyric Opera's
revival of The Student Prince; Freddie Eynsford-Hill in the hit
revival of My Fair Lady and more recently in creating the roles of
Nanki-Poo in his company's production of The Mikado, Ralph Rackstraw in
his company's production of HMS Pinafore and romantic tenor Camille in
Essgee's two productions of The Merry Widow.
In 1992 Gallaher's company again took on the entrepreneurial task of a
national capital city tour entitled An Unforgettable Evening combining his
talents with Australian singer Julie Anthony, conductor Tommy Tycho and the
symphony orchestra in each city's major concert hall. After this success he was
determined to make his ultimate dream a reality by recreating
The Pirates of Penzance. with himself
and Jon English in a new 1990's version.
Unable to raise any investment money this make or break venture was an
overwhelming success grossing millions of dollars,
A TV audience of over 2,000,000 people, a triple-platinum video as well as an
ARIA Award. In 1995 Essgee Entertainment and the Pirates creative team
brought a new version of The Mikado to the stage to more critical
acclaim and a loyal audience hungry for this fresh approach to musical theatre.
In 1996 Gallaher formed Essgee Entertainment New Zealand Limited to stage
the first international production of his Mikado. This took New Zealand by
storm and within six months staged a new production of The Pirates
especially for New Zealand. The formula again proved to be a winner. Simon
did not perform in the New Zealand versions of his productions which gave him
more opportunity to spend with his young family. In November of that year
Essgee Entertainment commenced rehearsals for the final in what is now referred
to as Essgee's Musical Trilogy. HMS Pinafore opened at the Victorian
Arts Centre in January 1997 with Gallaher returning to play the romantic
lead Ralph Rackstraw. His next entrepreneurial venture was video production
with his New Zealand company embarking on full scale television productions of
both The Mikado and HMS Pinafore to follow the success of The
Pirates of Penzance produced by ABC-TV. The video of The Mikado was
released in 1997 and by Christmas of that year it too had gone Platinum in
Australia. HMS Pinafore (the final video in the series) has recently gone
Platinum and the series has now been released as a special Trilogy Set. In
1999 Gallaher sang the role of Camille in his new production of The Merry
Widow at the same time as his company was also producing the highly
acclaimed play Master Class with Amanda Muggleton as well as A Funny
Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum starring Jon English and the
Pirates team. The year 2000 celebrated Gallaher's 25th anniversary in
showbusiness and he toured nationally in concert for the first time in many
years to mark this occasion as well as releasing a commemorative CD with ABC
Music. * Collection of pics marking Simon's 25 years in Showbiz.
Simon returned to the musical stage in 2001 to recreate his role of Frederic
in his new anniversary production of The
Pirates of Penzance which played through until 2003 marking a 20 year
period since first performing the show with Jon English. He and his organisation along with composer Michael Harvey produced a new $6 Million Australian musical entitled
EUREKA which opened in
Melbourne in October 2004 to rave reviews. 2005
saw Simon return to the concert stage once more but this time joining forces with Julie Anthony in a special show written for them entitled Together At Last. They continued to tour extensively together in 2006/07 with touring engagements in every Australian state and territory and released a successful CD under the same title.
Gallaher announced a new initiative for his company, producing a series of music-theatre workshops for kids and students entitled Showstoppers which commenced in Brisbane in January 2007. 2008 commenced with some special concerts featuring himself, Julie Anthony and the Queensland Pops Orchestra attracting standing ovations from capacity audiences. Simon and his production company also embarked on a revised version of his highly acclaimed version of The Mikado. This played in Australia through 2008 and 2009. Simon concluded touring in concert with Julie Anthony as Julie announced her retirement. He then accepted the role of Edna Turnblad to follow in the footsteps of John Travolta in the musical Hairspray for the Harvest Rain Theatre Company and played to rave reviews in Brisbane at QPAC in June 2012. A one-man concert tour followed across Queensland and Victoria. In 2014 Simon returned to the stage to be reunited with Jon English for the first time in many years as they performed in SPAMALOT at QPAC. This sell-out season was a triumph for The Harvest Rain Theatre Company. A new concert tour of Victoria commenced in May and Queensland in August.
2015 was a busy year as Simon took over the role of The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz in the Australian production of WICKED which in 2016 won him a coveted Helpmann Award nomination for Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical. 2015 also saw Simon in the director's chair for the first time as he created a new version of his ever-popular version of The Pirates of Penzance for Harvest Rain which played QPAC in March to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the arts centre and of the show's original opening. The show received rave reviews and capacity crowds.
Simon now says he has now retired from performing - but always watch this space!
For the past ten years Simon has served on the Board of Trustees to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) including as Deputy Chair of the organisation. He has also served on the board of the Queensland Theatre Company (QTC) 2013-2016 and as Chair of The Harvest Rain Theatre Company 2012-2015. He recently retired from his duties at QPAC and has been reappointed to the board of Queensland Theatre. His most recent appointment has been to the Board of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra commencing May 2018. He is patron to many arts organisations including The Queensland Show Choir, Qld Youth Symphony Orchestra, Spotlight Theatre Company and the Gold Coast Theatre Alliance. He is a member of Live Performance Australia (LPA) and sits on the Helpmann Awards nominating panel for Musical Theatre. Simon has been a member of the Media & Entertainment Arts Alliance (MEAA -Actors' Equity) since 1976.
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