Kylie, Jimmy Somerville, The Sound of Music and the Topp Twins will all play a part in next year’s Mardi Gras festival.

Sydney Star Observer has been given a preview of the 2006 season, which will feature a number of international acts and most of the major arts venues in Sydney.

Highlights will include a performance by gay Scottish singer Somerville at the State Theatre, a special event at the Powerhouse Museum’s Kylie: The Exhibition, and New York cabaret duo Kiki and Herb at the Sydney Opera House.

There are also the Topp Twins from New Zealand, Magnificent Mozart by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra at the City Recital Hall, and Singalong Sound of Music at the State Theatre to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the film’s release.

Star City is hosting annual showbiz charity event Hats Off, which ACON is producing, there will be a short story competition in conjunction with the Sydney Writers Centre, and Gleebooks is bringing out some as-yet-unnamed famous authors.

Festival director Diane Minnis said she was thrilled with the line-up so far.

I’m very excited about next year’s festival. I think it’s the best yet since I’ve been involved at the board level, which is three years, she said.

We’ve got some excellent community acts and events and we’ve had fabulous support from all the major arts venues in Sydney.

The four-week festival is seen by many as a make or break for its organisers New Mardi Gras, who are hoping to overhaul their image and financial situation following poor ticket sales at Sleaze this year and a mounting debt from previous festivals.

The festival will kick off on Saturday 4 February 2006, Fair Day will take place on Sunday 12 February, and the festival will finish with the parade and party on Saturday 4 March.

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