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At 20, John made his first appearance as an actor in the pantomime, 'Dick Whittington'.

The show played across Australia beginning in Sydney on boxing day in 1969 and moved to Brisbane, Melbourne and finished in Adelaide on January 24th 1970.

John played the lead role of Dick Whittington, a boy who ran off to London with his cat because he heard the streets were paved with gold and eventually became Lord Mayor.

The holiday pantomime had all the traditional ingredients

- songs, dances, wicked barons, slapstick comedy and a happy-ever-after ending.

John performed One, Raindrops and Sadie in the show.

as Dick Whittington



In 1969 Kenn Brodziack met with Darryl Sambell about the idea of putting John in a theatre musical.

They were considering doing 'Charlie Girl'
John went to London to audition for the part of Joe, a young romantic lead. At 22 he had his first starring role in a major musical when it opened at Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne, on 25th Sept. 1971.

There were six shows a week and two matinees. Darryl still had John making appearances at record stores and shopping centres.

Often they would board an early flight from Melbourne arriving at their destination for a performance and then board a flight back to Melbourne in time for the show.

Charlie Girl photo



Based on a familiar Bible story, 'The Prodigal Son', the second in a series of three rock operas presented by St. Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne, played for one week from 6th to 9th September 1972.

Johnny played the lead role of John. Starring alongside him were Marcie Jones, Keith Reid and Kerry Lee.

The music was performed by 'Chain' and members of both the Melbourne Conservatorium Orchestra and the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir.



In 1974 Kenn Brodziack involved John in another musical, 'Pippin'.
John had the title role as Pippin, one of the Emperor Charlemagne's sons.

Unlike 'Charlie Girl', 'Pippin' lost money in Adelaide and did only a couple of shows in Sydney, although it did do good business in Melbourne. Older concert goers didn't really want to see a rock star and the younger ones expected to see one. Although the show wasn't a roaring success it did give John and Jill some time for an ordinary domestic lifestyle.

During 'Pippin' Darryl found something to fill in John's spare time, and approached a TV station with an idea for a variety show called 'It's Magic' to star John and Colleen Hewett.

For thirteen weeks they taped 'It's Magic' during the day and played in 'Pippin' at night.

John and Colleen Hewett



(Article The Australian Women's Weekly, 30 June 1976)

Farnham & Farnham JOHNNY FARNHAM and his pretty wife Jillian are appearing on stage together again for the first time since they met four years ago in the musical "Charlie Girl.".

They both have parts in the new Australian production of the 1930s stage and film hit 'Roberta." which will run for eight weeks at the St George Leagues Club in Sydney. It may tour other capital cities later.

Johnny, who now prefers to be called simply John, stars in the role of Huck. Jillian plays the part of a model. "Roberta" will give Australians a rare opportunity to see Farnham and his wife together. Johnny has sheltered her from publicity since their marriage in 1973. 'We both believe that the less publicity we get about our private life, the better," he said.

Their romance began during the production of "Charlie Girl." It was Johnny's First musical. Jillian, a talented dancer, was in the chorus. They managed to keep their relationship a secret until their marriage.



JCS opened in Sydney on August 4th, 1992 and continued on to Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. The day the box office opened tickets sold at a rate of 400 per minute. Extra shows were released around the country.

John starred as Jesus, a role he was initially reluctant to undertake when first approached by Harry M. Miller at the 1989 Grand Prix in Adelaide.

John thought Harry was kidding around and planning three years ahead wasn't something John did. Harry then approached Glenn with the idea and after good market research and some convincing talks from Harry John signed.

John's co-stars were Kate Ceberano as Mary, Jon Stevens as Judas, Jon Waters as Pontius Pilate and Angry Anderson as Herod.

John as Jesus



Arguably one of the most successful and popular musicals of all time. Grease tells the story of clean cut Sandy and leather-jacketed greaser Danny Zuko, who experience summer love, and then nearly lose it all in this fun-filled teen-dream extravaganza.

Grease - The Arena Spectacular starred John Farnham (Teen Angel), Magda Szubanski (Miss Lynch), Craig McLachlan (Danny), Natalie Bassingthwaighte (Sandy), Richard Wilkins (Vince Fontaine), Toby Allen (Kenickie), Tamsin Carroll (Rizzo), and Rob Mills (Johnny Casino) and Courtney Murphy (Roger).

Dates 2005:
Sydney - May 6, May 7 (2 shows), May 27 & 28
Brisbane - 11, 12 & 14 May
Melbourne - 17, 18 & 20 May
Adelaide - 1, 2 & 3 June
Perth - 9 & 10 June

John as Teen Angel