In the biggest musical foursome news since the break up of the Beatles, the last three original members of the colorful Australian childrens music group The Wiggles are being replaced! Jeff Fatt, Murray Cook and Greg Page are retiring leaving only blue skivvied Anthony Field (not an original member) to join new Wiggles Emma Watkins (Yes, she is the first female Wiggle!) in yellow, Lachlan Gillespie in purple, and Simon Pryce in red.
The group posted an announcement on Wiggletime.com along with a video. Here’s the clip followed by an excerpt of the announcement:
Jeff, Murray, and Greg have decided it’s time to step off the stage and hand over the Purple, Red and Yellow skivvies to a new generation of Wiggles.
We’ve been entertaining children around the world for 21 years now and it has been a fantastic ride in our Big Red Car. Singing, dancing and making music with you all has been great fun but it has also meant spending a long time away from our own families and friends. We tour eight months of the year and have performed more than 6000 shows since The Wiggles began, and Murray, Jeff and Greg have decided it’s time to spend more time at home.
We will commence a Celebration Tour in Singapore at the end of May, with shows planned for the UK, USA, Canada and New Zealand in the coming months. We will then return to Australia for more shows in November and December so that Murray, Jeff and Greg can say farewell to you all.
Greg Page only recently returned to the group after recovering from a mystery illness, later diagnosed as the debilitating disease dysautonomia.
The Wiggles website has already been updated with the new Wiggles lineup, including the following biographies:
Emma Watkins will be pulling on the Yellow skivvy as the first female member of The Wiggles aside from Kylie Minogue, who was made an honorary Pink Wiggle in 2009. Emma has been an important part of The Wiggles team since 2010, starting out as Fairy Larissa and then spending her time performing as Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, and as a Wiggly Dancer.
Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Emma is already an extremely accomplished performer and artist at the age of 22. She enjoyed singing and dancing from a young age, having started ballet at the age of four. After seeing Irish dancing on The Wiggles, Emma decided to take up Irish and other styles of dance including jazz, hip hop, tap, contemporary and Bollywood. Emma loves to dance and has taught children to dance since she was at high school.
Emma attended The McDonald College of Performing Arts, where she started making films alongside her academic and dance studies. She was offered a full scholarship to attend Sydney Film School, and then went on to study her Masters in Media Arts and Communication at The University of Technology Sydney (UTS). During her film studies Emma also completed a dance qualification specialising in musical theater at ED5 International. She has even used her film skills behind the camera with The Wiggles, supporting them with video and editing while they are on tour.
Among other things, Emma has danced in Bollywood productions in India, was crowned Miss Granny Smith Apples 2009, plays drums and percussion instruments, is learning Australian sign language (Auslan), and has raced rally cars with her father.
Emma is a ball of energy with a big personality and says she can’t wait to ‘act like a silly goat’ on stage as the Yellow Wiggle.
Lachlan Gillespie will become the Purple Wiggle in 2013, having already spent a lot of time on the road performing as part of The Wiggles’ team. Lachy has been Captain Feathersword on the Dorothy the Dinosaur Traveling Show touring extensively throughout Australia since 2009, then joining The Wiggles tour as both a Wiggly Dancer and Wags the Dog.
Lachy, 26, from the western suburbs of Brisbane, has been singing, dancing and playing the piano since he was a child. He learnt piano from the age of four and started formal singing training at a local theatre company when he was 12. He remained involved with the company until he was accepted into the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theatre.
Lachy has performed in musical theatre in New York and Melbourne, but his real passion is working with children. He was a vocal and drama coach for children between the ages of four and thirteen, and he has loved his time performing for the many thousands of Wiggles fans he sees at the shows each year.
The piano still plays a big part in Lachy’s life. He enjoys song writing and loves sitting at the piano composing and singing his own music. When not on tour or singing at the piano, he enjoys playing golf, cricket and kicking the footy. Lachy lives a healthy lifestyle keeping fit and cooking organic food. He also loves to tinker in the garden with his Mum when he gets the chance.
Lachy says joining The Wiggles is a dream come true and he is honoured to be taking on the purple skivvy. He says he knows that every moment is special and he is ‘ready to wiggle’!
Simon Pryce will be wearing the Red skivvy in 2013 after a decade-long involvement with The Wiggles. He started as one of their main voice artists on much-loved CDs such as ‘The Wiggles go Bananas’, ‘Top of the Tots’, ‘Wiggle Bay’ and ‘Cold Spaghetti’ just to name a few.
Over the past two years Simon has been performing with The Wiggles, playing the role of Ringo the Ringmaster. He also stars as King John in the Wiggles production ‘The Kingdom of Paramithi’.
Simon, 40, has had a long career in musical theatre, recently performing in the Australian production of The Phantom of the Opera, where he understudied and played the title role of the Phantom in more than one hundred performances.
Other theatre credits include the role of Old Deuteronomy in ‘Cats’, ‘Masterpiece – The music of Andrew Lloyd Webber’, ‘Witches of Eastwick’, ‘Villain of Flowers’, ‘South Pacific’, ‘Fidelio’ with Opera Australia and ‘The Sunshine Club’ with the Sydney Theatre Company. Simon is an actor as well as a singer, having appeared in TV and film productions including ‘Water Rats’, ‘All Saints’, ‘Home and Away’, ‘South Pacific’ and ‘Hunt Angels’.
Simon’s grandparents were opera singers, and singing has always been a big part of his life. He loved performing from an early age, taking part in his school musicals, and he then went on to attend drama school at the University of Western Sydney Nepean. Simon lives by the beach in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and spends a lot of his spare time in or near the water.
Simon has a great voice and a huge presence on stage. He says that working with The Wiggles is ‘beyond performing’ and it’s a huge privilege to be able to be part of a team that has so much impact on children and their families.