- About Me
In 1947 Kerry Jewel was literally born in a trunk. He was christened on stage at the London Palladium and among the guests were the great Laurel & Hardy. Kerry's father was the legendary British comedian, Jimmy Jewel, and his mother was Belle, of the famous Australian Bluette family. Kerry’s theatre pedigree goes beyond his immediate parents. His lineage in the entertainment industry makes him 4th generation on his father’s side and 5th generation on his mother’s.
He commenced his professional careers as a performer and writer. Just a few highlights in a diverse and successful English career for Kerry were as a writer and presenter for BBC Television's "Playschool" and thereafter for “The Dave Allen Show” and “The Two Ronnies”, 3 seasons at the London Palladium and concert appearances with Sasha Distel, Dame Vera Lyn, Sir Harry Secombe and Tommy Cooper.
In 1971 Kerry married Elyse Clare and in 1978 they relocated to Australia with their young sons. Kerry continued a performance and writing career.
1985 heralded the beginning of Kerry’s successful, and at times controversial, entrepreneurial and production career. He created the "Comedian's Co-Op" which started as a two months 'fill' at Sydney's Golden Garter, but in fact ran for eleven months and toured for two years.
In 1987, in association with the Hyatt Hotel in Sydney, the Jewels developed Australia’s first dinner theatre. The premiere was “Rattle Of A Simple Man” starring Australia’s sex symbol Abigail and Derek Fowlds from the smash hit series “Yes, Minister” and “Yes, Prime Minister”. Dinner theatres were then established with the Hyatt’s in Auckland and Canberra. The dinner theatre productions saw the start of the Jewels’ developing a touring circuit right down the eastern seaboard of Australia that encompassed over 50 towns from Cairns to Whyalla. They pioneered a circuit that still exists today. Of course, audiences in the capital cities of Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide were also entertained by the Jewel shows. In 1990, the Glen Street Theatre presented an opportunity for the Jewels to have a new Sydney resident base. Kerry and Elyse’s company took a lease on the theatre in Sydney’s northern beaches region. Each year saw 4 new productions. Naturally, the productions also toured to all of the regional theatres established in the late 1980s. Kerry’s next challenge was the tyranny of distance. He added Western Australia’s regional towns and capital city, Perth, to the touring circuit. Again, he was the first major producer of theatre to take shows from the East to the West.
Between 1990 and 1995 Elyse and Kerry were amongst the largest employers of Actors Equity members in live commercial theatre performing some 150 weeks of theatre annually.
They presented concerts all over Australia with piano virtuoso Roger Woodward. The incredibly successful “Night of a Thousand Stars” at Sydney’s Her Majesty’s Theatre was devised and produced by Kerry & Elyse. Cleo Laine flew to Australia to exclusively appear in the event which saw the six figure proceeds assisting the victims of Sydney’s devastating bushfires.
A new era of theatre dawned when their adaptation of “Peter Pan” was staged in Perth. This was massive commercial exercise employing almost 100 crew and actors and a symphonic sized orchestra, it achieved sell out business in its limited try out season. They subsequently devised and produced “Pan”. At a cost of $12 million it was one of the largest and most lavish productions ever staged in Australia. It was filmic in quality and feel with the music underscoring the performance and played by the 98 piece Victorian Philharmonic Orchestra. Because of the ground breaking and cutting edge technologies it is a production of which he is particularly proud. Under Kerry’s marketing strategy, the production broke the Capitol Theatre’s box office record for advance sales with over a million dollars taken in the first week of sales.
Tragically their 23 year old son died as the result of the injuries he sustained in an accident while stage managing “The Rocky Horror Show” at Star City. This saw the Jewels taking almost 4 years off work.
Kerry returned to the industry by purchasing a 15% interest in International Concert Attractions. Under the ICA banner Kerry was responsible for “Saturday Night Fever”, “The Soweto Gospel Choir”, the children’s favourite “High 5”, “Sleeping Beauty on Ice” and many more. Regrettably ICA was not as financially sound as he was advised by the major shareholder who sold Kerry his shares for $800,000!!!! In fact the company’s $2 subsidiary was over $12 million in debt.
So not surprisingly, Kerry departed ICA and the Jewels produced the Sydney season of “Fiddler on the Roof” with the legendary Topol which grossed $5 million in its 8 week season.
“The 2006 Anzac Tattoo” was their creation and the next step on their creative journey was the “2007 Tattoo Spectacular which Kerry also directed. They are seen here with H.R.H. George Tupou V, the King of Tonga, who attended a performance.