Wendell Parnell has been a drummer, an agent and 1980s band promoter to an enviable list of acts from INXS and John Farnham to Tina Turner.
From looking after their riders to ensuring their dressing rooms were in order, he recalls those days as being more fun than hard work and has many stories he could tell, not that he would.
Now East Perth-based Parnell is turning to his first love — musical theatre — with his company Sing Out Loud hosting its inaugural event West End Vs Broadway at The Camfield on October 27.
“I’m a romantic,” 72-year-old Parnell said.
“That’s why I’ve seen The Phantom of the Opera 52 times. Theatre is where you go and lose yourself for two hours and not worry about anybody else.
“It’s a wonderful world. It’s not like being at the football where everybody’s screaming around you and you can actually feel the love on stage. And everything’s live, so there’s no second take.”
West End Vs Broadway is the first cab off the rank for Parnell’s company — others in the pipeline include Madonna Vs Kylie Minogue — inspired by the international popularity of similar all-ages singalong events such as the UK’s Massaoke.
“It’s all about getting people together to have a good time,” Parnell said.
“We’re doing it in the beer garden with a big screen, so we’ll put all the words up if you want to sing along to some of the most popular Broadway and West End musicals from the last 20 years.”
DJ Al Black will spin the set list including music from Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Mamma Mia, The Lion King and more. Former Mod Squad frontman Ian Falk will MC the evening featuring giveaways and a people’s choice award for the best costume.
“I’ll be doing my best singing too and I’m looking forward to seeing people having a good evening,” Parnell said.
“I’m not in the stage of my life where I need a financial reward. This venture is more the heart and not the pocket talking.”
Sing Out Loud presents West End Vs Broadway at The Camfield, Burswood, October 27. Tickets at eventbrite.com.