Opera Australia and John Frost’s production of The King and I opened in Brisbane last month, marking the professional music theatre debut of many up-and-coming performers. AussieTheatre is thrilled to be featuring a new interview series entitled Getting To Know You to introduce these new artists to their music theatre audience!
Today we chat with the youngest member of the male ensemble, Alex Pedraza-Sampang who has studied dance and performing arts at Patrick Studios Australia, working his way up from the junior program into full-time performing arts training. He has danced with Cosentino Grand Illusionist in both his live shows and TV specials, and has also appeared on 100% Kylie.
Today also happens to be his birthday!
Getting to know the birthday boy…
What is your role in the production?
I am a part of the ensemble where I play the roles of a pickpocket, a courtier, a monk, a dancer, and a guard.
When did you know you wanted to become a performer?
I officially decided that I wanted a future as a performer when I was 16 in 2009.
Where did you train?
I first started dancing in a small school in Melbourne called Kstar, which actually took place in a garage. I then went on to do an elite course at Patrick Studios Australia which lead me to doing a year of full-time performing arts training.
What was your reaction when you discovered you had been cast in this show?
I was actually at school when I had seen the email saying I had been cast but only got a glimpse of it before we had to start so at first I was unsure of whether I had actually gotten the job! But, moments after the director of the school got me to stand up amongst all the other sitting students and confirmed it to me in front of everyone! I was absolutely in awe and I just couldn’t grasp the idea of where it was going to take me.
Your first musical theatre job has you performing with award winning veterans of the stage and screen – Lisa McCune, Marty Rhone, Teddy Tahu Rhodes and John Adam – what have you learnt from working with such an experienced cast?
I have learnt that we all are, truly, always still learning, and you’ve got to make the best with what you have to offer. Never be afraid to experiment a bit with your approach to scenes to create a natural and honest performance.
The King and I features an incredible 15 minute Jerome Robbins ballet in Act 2 – how do you keep yourself fit and ready for performance every night?
I am a big believer in going to the gym to improve your fitness, whether it’s weightlifting, cardio at a steady pace or at high intensity intervals. You also have to make sure you warm up every night and optimise your recovery throughout the whole day.
Describe the production for us in three words.
“Incredible and spectacular”
What has been the most exciting/memorable moment so far (rehearsals or at the theatre)?
Every moment in this show is honestly a moment worth remembering, but our first preview show definitely has to be one of the most exciting, especially with a standing ovation to finish.
Is there anything you have learned during this contract about the music theatre (or theatre) industry which surprised you?
Not really – I would have to say, I came into this with such an open mind ready for whatever was going to be thrown at us.
For more information about The King and I and to book tickets for Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, visit thekingandimusical.com.au