Jon English performing at the Gympie Music Muster.
Jon English performing at the Gympie Music Muster. Craig Warhurst

‘Titan of the stage’ remembered in tribute

FEW would disagree that the Capitol Theatre was the perfect place to do it.

It would have felt wrong to farewell Jon English in any other way than on the stage where his star first shone so brightly.

Monday evening’s memorial of English’s full life was a return to the theatre where English first became a star playing Judas Iscariot in Jesus Christ Superstar more than 40 years ago.

More than 1300 people packed into the Capitol Theatre to watch stars including John Paul Young, John Waters and Peter Cupples perform in tribute to the screen and stage icon, who died last month aged 66.

English’s daughter Josephine recalled a different side of the performer, describing him as “a private person with a very public job” who was most at home on his Coffs Coast farm.

She said his final weeks were filled with love and laughter.

“He was larger than life, both at home and on the stage,” she said.

Later would come the women who played opposite him, from Marcia Hines and Julie Anthony to Amanda Muggleton and Marina Prior. All of them enamoured of his graciousness and care as much as his talent and performance.

Muggleton recalled for the audience her former co-star’s stage presence and “remarkable” dedication to his job.

“The energy would burst out of him every single show,” she said.

“I don’t think that man ever went off stage. I don’t think he ever missed a show because of sickness.”

His manager for almost two decades, Peter Rix, paid tribute to the “extraordinary” talents and career of a man he described as “a titan of the stage”.

“He found a way to connect with you,” Rix said.

“With Jon you always knew he was going to go just that little bit further.”

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