Opera Australia and John Frost’s production of The King and I is set to open at the Sydney Opera House this week after successful seasons in Brisbane and Melbourne. The national tour of this Helpmann Award Winning musical marks the professional music theatre debut of many up-and-coming performers. AussieTheatre is thrilled to be featuring an interview series entitled Getting To Know You to introduce these new artists to their music theatre audience!
Today we chat with Matthew Ngyuen, an incredibly talented musician and performer who was drawn to the stage after working in the orchestra for touring musicals at QPAC, Brisbane. Completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Dance Performance in 2013, Matthew has worked extensively with renowned contemporary dance choreographers and has appeared in Darren Hayes’ music video Black Out The Sun as well as with independent choreographer Claire Marshall in the work Video Set, the dance film Vault and for television he has appeared in SLiDE (Fox 8) and Terra Nova (Channel 10).
Getting To Know You
What is your role in the production?
In this production, I am part of the male ensemble as a dancer.
When did you know you wanted to become a performer?
I’ve wanted to be a performer since I was 7 years old, but back then and until I was about 16, I wanted to be a concert violinist. It was when I was performing as a pit orchestra musician for musicals in QPAC that I really became envious of the dancers always being in the spotlight. This is when I fell in love with dance and decided to pursue musical theatre.
Where did you train?
I began my training at local studios Southern Academy of Dance and Mad Dance House before completing my Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance Performance) at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
What was your reaction when you discovered you had been cast in this show?
I jumped around the house yelling at the top of my lungs and told all of my close friends and family. They bought me an expensive dinner.
Your first musical theatre job has you performing with award winning veterans of the stage and screen – Lisa McCune, Marty Rhone, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Lou Diamond Phillips – what have you learnt from working with such an experienced cast?
I am absolutely humbled to be working with such seasoned artists who are so grounded and down to earth. In an interview we did together, Lisa explained that once the entire cast start rehearsals in the studio, everyone embarks on the journey and the growth of the show together as one collective. I think this is pretty magical.
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 try to keep myself in shape by going to the gym 4 or 5 times a week. My pre-show routine consists of yoga and ballet barre and centre exercises.
Describe the production for us in three words.
Lavish. Elaborate. Fabulous.
What has been the most exciting/memorable moment so far (rehearsals or at the theatre)?
A standing ovation from a full house on our first preview was very overwhelming and forever memorable!
Is there anything you have learned during this contract about the music theatre (or theatre) industry which surprised you?
Just how incredible it is to work collaboratively with such an amazingly talented and passionate cast.
What is your go-to ‘belt it out in the shower’ song?
‘Under The Sea’ or ‘Part of Your World’ – The Little Mermaid
For more information about The King and I and to book tickets for performances at the Sydney Opera House, visit thekingandimusical.com.au