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Friday 23 May 2014

'Carlotta' - ABC1: Screen date + PHOTOS

The much-talked about Australian production of 'Carlotta' on ABC1 is set to screen on Thursday June 19 at 8.30pm.

Carlotta might be the most famous of Balmain boys - who then became the most famous of Sydney showgirls, and Australia’s most famous transsexual performer. Carlotta was the legend of 'Les Girls', the Kings Cross show which she starred in and ruled for three decades.

Not many know the story of Carlotta, and this dramatisation of her life (played by the immensely talented Jessica Marais) tells of her incredible life: starting life as Richard, and later fleeing an abusive stepfather as a 16 year old; the sexually confused young man arrived in 'the Cross' in 1959 and the nation and became close to a group of like-minded friends, testing the boundaries of gender and sexuality, with a view to remake himself.

Through cross-dressing and performing, Richard experimented with becoming a woman, and despite persecution and exploitation, found the courage to live as Carol Lee. Later, when illegal hormone treatment showed results, “Carlotta” was born.
In the 1980s, Carol met and fell in love with a “great Aussie bloke” - and this changed everything. The infamous “Carlotta” was pushed aside and it was Carol who fell in love, married, and gave up her still burgeoning career for a life in the 'burbs.

She loved her new life as a homemaker and doting wife, but was surrounded by reminders of the children she ached for but could never have.

Carol/Carlotta was stranded between two worlds, belonging in neither.

Her new life tested all she believed in, and hers is the story of an exceptional woman’s desire to be ordinary.

The one-night-only program also stars: Alex Dimitriades, Anita Heigh, Eamon Farren, Caroline O'Connor, Ryan Johnson, Socratis Otto, Andrew Lees, Damian De Montemas, Genevieve Lemon, Gigi Edgley, Paul Capsis and Kai Lewins.

On a personal note, I recall meeting Carlotta when I worked at Balmain Tigers Football Club. I was in charge of organising a big event for staff, management, members, players - a fundraiser. I needed a 'kick arse' MC, someone who would run the show and command the audience. Having worked at an avant garde magazine, I always loved thinking outside the square… and I thought Carlotta would be perfect. And, she was Balmain 'royalty'.

I got in touch with her mum, who would regularly visit the club downstairs. She gave me Carlotta's home number and I called, nervously. Carlotta was legendary, and I was anxious to impress, as well as sell the whole idea to her. She loved it, and when we met for the first time I was truly awe-struck - she was larger than life and as glamorous as I'd imagined, with a fantastic presence. And she owned that event. It was something I'll never forgot; I recall walking with her from the office to the event and having her tower over me. It was memorable and incredible. She is Kings Cross and Sydney, and it's fab to see her life immortalised on screen.

'Carlotta' will screen on Thursday June 19 at 8.30pm, on ABC1.

Here are some spectacular photos from TV special event:

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