Chris Beckey (Interview 44)

Image: Morgan Roberts

I met with Chris Beckey in July for coffee and a chat at The Three Monkeys in West End. Chris was then appearing in CALIGULA for The Danger Ensemble. As I edit this long-overdue post, he is preparing for the Brisbane Festival’s production of Ibsen’s A DOLL’S HOUSE in an adaptation by Lally Katz. Once again, he is working under the direction of long-time creative collaborator Steven Mitchell Wright.

That afternoon I asked Chris, as I do all artists I interview, what had brought them to where they are now. We end up talking about process as the afternoon ticked away. Continue reading Chris Beckey (Interview 44)

When a dream becomes a reality – Zachary Denman (Interview 43)

Ed: Zach Denman is a young man just beginning his career in one of the most challenging of all for a performing artist – the musical theatre.  Like many of those ‘triple threats’ – singer, actor, dancers – he has his eye firmly set on Broadway. Recently, he had the opportunity to get a brief taste of what that life could be like. I asked Zach if he would write a piece for Greenroom. He graciously agreed. Here he is, in his own words.

“Many say that life is all about going after what you want most in this world.  However, the problem most have is that, when they finally discover what it is they really want, they think it’s far too extraordinary thus unachievable and so it remains an illusion, a dream. Well my dream was to sing, act and dance on Broadway and over the last month that dream has become a reality. Continue reading When a dream becomes a reality – Zachary Denman (Interview 43)

Seven Years On: Melanie Zanetti (Interview 42)

Image: cinemagia

A few months ago, on a misty, cool morning here on the hill, thoughts turned to a time when the (then) third and final year acting majors at USQ were preparing for a big outdoor production of Macbeth as part of the (then) Shakespeare in Queen’s Park Festival in Toowoomba. Seven years on I was thinking that way probably because the (then) Producer in me would be anxiously scanning the skies for signs of rain during the lead up to and performance season.

I’m sure it’s a scientific furphy, but ‘they’ say that in seven years all the cells in our body have reconstituted themselves, so that means we are all different – but the same! Seven like three, is a special number … but I digress. That was (then); this is (now). Continue reading Seven Years On: Melanie Zanetti (Interview 42)

Getting Started: Vivien Emsworth (Interview 41)

I was able to catch up with Vivien Emsworth who is appearing in The Australian Opera’s production of THE KING AND I which has just finished its Brisbane season at QPAC on the first leg of a national tour. As a first-year-out-of-drama school graduate from the Queensland Conservatorium’s Musical Theatre Program, Vivien is still coming to terms with being cast in such a big production – she is covering for the role of Tuptim and appearing in the ensemble. We did a little stocktake of her background before covering some of the questions I like to use to spark conversation with artists. We got started. Continue reading Getting Started: Vivien Emsworth (Interview 41)

Just Out: Chris Fung (Interview 40)

Chris Fung is one of those rare actors who gets cast in a professional production before completing his training at drama school. During his second year he auditioned successfully for a place in the ensemble of Opera Australia’s production of THE KING AND I which has just finished its season at QPAC in Brisbane before heading to Melbourne. He is also understudying Teddy Tahu Rhodes in the role of the King of Siam. I was keen to speak with the charming, intelligent and wonderfully quick-witted Chris about that experience, but also about how he came to the musical theatre as a career.
Continue reading Just Out: Chris Fung (Interview 40)

Review: End of the Rainbow – Queensland Theatre Company and QPAC at the Playhouse

Image (supplied QTC): Christen O’Leary

At the time Judy Garland was destroying herself behind closed doors and on stage at Talk of the Town nightclub during her last concert season I also happened to be in London.

It was the winter of 1968-69 and I remembered seeing snow then for the first time. I didn’t, however, see any of Ms Garland’s shows during that 5 week season not only because I couldn’t afford it, but also because I wasn’t interested. Judy Garland was somewhat passé, known less for her artistry and more for the sad scandals that continued to plague her life – a bit of an embarrassment, really and old, after all.

I remembered hearing about her death in 1969 and, although finding it sad, was not surprised. At the time of her death aged 47 – what I had thought of as old – she was already iconic but the legend that was ‘Garland’ – the tragic, self-destructive artist – continued to grow after death. It was via the legend that I got to know about Judy Garland and heard her songs and saw her movies and watched black and white documentaries of her performing solo and with daughters Liza and Lorna and then Liza talking about ‘Mumma.’

Then, along comes Peter Quilter‘s semi biographical play with music End of the Rainbow in a co-production by Queensland Theatre Company and QPAC. First produced in Sydney in 2005 and subsequently world-wide, this big, new production directed by David Bell focusses on the last seven months of Judy Garland’s private life – that time we ‘shared’ London – she in a suite at the Ritz Hotel, me in a basement bedsit in Shepherd’s Bush. Continue reading Review: End of the Rainbow – Queensland Theatre Company and QPAC at the Playhouse