Opera Australia and John Frost’s production of The King and I recently finished its opening season in Brisbane, marking the professional music theatre debut of many up-and-coming performers. AussieTheatre is thrilled to be continuing our interview series entitled Getting To Know You to introduce these new artists to their music theatre audience as the production transfers to Melbourne’s Princess Theatre.
Today we speak with Victor Siharath, a national and state champion in ballroom, contemporary and hip hop. After graduating from Brent Street with a Certificate IV in Performing Arts, Victor has worked as a commercial dancer on live television, appearing in television commercials, corporate events and modelling assignments.
Getting to know you…
What is your role in The King and I?
My role in the production is as part of the male ensemble. I play various characters such as courtier, monk and blood hound in Uncle Tom’s Ballet.
When did you know you wanted to become a performer?
Ever since I was little! I would find myself singing and dancing around in the living room and I would demand my parents come watch me put on a elaborate production of various routines and songs I learnt from Play School and Hi5.
Where did you train?
I began my training as a ballroom dancer when I was 8 years old at a studio in Canberra called Danceway. When I was 16, I moved to Sydney to further my ballroom career at the Schembri Dance Centre, I then received a scholarship to The McDonald College of Performing Arts. After graduating year 12 I decided to pursue commercial dancing and give ballroom a bit of a break, so I enrolled into Brent Street’s Full time Certificate IV course. During the program I was exposed to all genres of dance, worked with leading Australian choreographers and had the privilege to dance at “The Pulse Tour” Convention in New York.
What was your reaction when you discovered you had been cast in this show?
I cried. I was so overwhelmed, I never expected to be cast in a professional musical. As a child I grew up watching The King and I and to have the privilege of performing in a Rogers and Hammerstein classic is an absolute dream come true.
Your first musical theatre job has you performing with award winning veterans of the stage and screen – Lisa McCune, Marty Rhone, John Adam – what have you learnt from working with such an experienced cast?
I remember the first time i walked into the rehearsal studio and I saw Lisa, John and Marty standing next to the creative team, I couldn’t stop smiling I was so star struck. Throughout the rehearsal and tech period they would always join the ensemble for physical and vocal warm ups, they were always open to us and insisted we ask any questions we had about the industry. To be working alongside someone like Lisa McCune is such a privilege and an honour and I can’t wait to learn more from everyone as the tour progresses.
[pull_left]To be working alongside someone like Lisa McCune is such a privilege and an honour and I can’t wait to learn more from everyone as the tour progresses[/pull_left]
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 remember watching The King and I with my parents when I was younger and every time I would tell them I was going to be in “Uncle Tom’s Ballet” when I was older. To have my childhood dream come true and learn the original Jerome Robbins choreography from the incredible Susan Kikuchi, empowers me to deliver the ballet at the highest standard every show. Physically the ballet is very tiring and with the costumes and masks it gets pretty hot and sweaty, so in order for me to do 8 shows a week I would go running in the morning, maintain as much as I can a healthy diet and go to the gym regularly to build a bit of muscle.
Describe the production for us in three words.
SPECTACULAR, ENCHANTING, BREATHTAKING
What has been the most exciting/memorable moment so far?
The most memorable moment so far has been watching Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Lisa McCune perform “Shall we dance” for the first time in the rehearsal period. I started crying because it reminded me so much of my childhood and how my parents and I would sing along to this song. My mum and dad moved back to Thailand at the beginning of last year and I haven’t seen them for a few months and I know how proud my parents are that I am a part of such a beautiful musical.
Is there anything you have learned during this contract about the music theatre (or theatre) industry which surprised you?
Coming from a commercial dance background, I have learnt so much about the music theatre industry thus far. I have absolutely loved learning about the development of a musical from the rehearsal room to the stage, so much hard work and planning goes into making a musical production seamless. The hardest learning curve for me has been trying to become various characters within the show, it has been such a fun and challenging experience.
10. What is your go-to ‘belt it out in the shower’ song?
Would definitely have to be ‘The Wizard and I’ from Wicked.
For more information about The King and I and to book tickets for Melbourne and Sydney, visit thekingandimusical.com.au
The King and I plays at The Princess Theatre Melbourne from June 10 (gala opening night on June 12) starring Lisa McCune and Jason Scott Lee.