The Rob Guest Endowment annual gala concert is a week away and it’s going to be a night to remember in the Aussie Musical Theatre calendar. The big event is all set for Monday November 14, where six finalists — emerging stars of Australian musical theatre — will take the stage at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre to compete for a a prize package of over $50,000.
Previous winners of the top prize include Daniel Assetta, Joshua Robson, Samantha Leigh Dodemaide, Glenn Hill, Blake Bowden, Francine Cain and Danielle Matthews.
Now let’s get to know one of our future stars: Matthew Predny! A recent graduate of NIDA, and recently appeared in the national tour of Fiddler on the Roof. Catch him now in Kinky Boots, which has just opened in Melbourne.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m originally from a small town in Lake Macquarie, NSW. After finishing school and realizing I didn’t know what to do with my life, I began a Law degree. That didn’t last because I got accepted into acting school in Sydney. So I packed up my life at 19 and moved south. It was a very easy decision. I finished my degree at NIDA in 2014 and have been writing “Actor” on my tax forms ever since!
When did you know you wanted to be a performer?
It was probably when I got selected to sing a solo in school choir as a 9 year old. That was a pretty big deal for this pathologically shy kid.
What does Rob Guest’s legacy mean to you?
I think the Rob Guest Endowment sums up what it means to me – the generosity to help others in this very tough industry. To be giving, and to share success.
Who is your hero?
Probably a mixture of Tina Fey and Stephen Sondheim.
What is your all-time favourite memory of being onstage?
The first time I went on as Motel in Fiddler on the Roof, I remember singing “Miracle of Miracles” and that alone was a huge rush. But when the song was over, I ran offstage to see members of the cast clapping and cheering in the wings. The wave of support was pretty special.
This can be a tough industry. What keeps you going?
It can be tough, but I think that makes the rewards even greater. It’s an industry of extreme lows and extreme highs and I find satisfaction in that. For some reason.
What are you currently singing in the shower?
The soundtrack of Kinky Boots. The show is a vocal workout so you need to keep exercising for it! Not to mention, it’s very catchy.
What’s your dream role?
That changes, monthly. At the moment it’s George(s) Seurat in Sunday in the Park with George.
You’re in the cast of Kinky Boots. What’s the best thing about being in that show?
The joy it brings! It’s a lot of fun for us and for the audience and it leaves you feeling great.
What do you love about musical theatre?
The way music has the ability to reach people profoundly. It goes a little bit deeper, a little bit quicker than words alone can.