Amanda Harrison is well established as one of Australia’s leading musical theatre performers. She has starred in some of our biggest musical productions in her extensive career and today she shares shares some secrets and advice in the lead up to the Perth premiere of her cabaret show Up Close and Reasonably Personal.
AussieTheatre’s Craig Dalglish caught up with Amanda to ask her these quick questions!
What can people expect from your cabaret show Up Close and Reasonably Personal?
An evening a songs chosen by me because of their personal significance, usually from the pop genre and an interesting and humorous look at my life since I’ve had children and how that has affected me and my career as a performer here in Australia.
What do you hope audiences take away from the performance?
An understanding of what it’s like to be me! And hopefully a few belly laughs!
You have played leading roles others dream of. Elphaba in the Australian production of Wicked and Paula in the world premiere of An Officer and a Gentleman. What other roles do you dream of one day playing?
I suppose I have my eye on the roles in Matilda, Miss Honey or the crazy mother! I also think I’m approaching the right age now to play Donna in Mamma Mia! if that ever returns!
What is one thing people may not know about you?
I am a serial Reality TV fan! I love Masterchef, The Bachelor and all those other ridiculous programs designed for mind-numbing entertainment!
As one of Australia’s leading ladies of theatre what advice do you have for others trying to enter the industry?
Get a thick skin! Perseverance is key. Always be prepared for auditions and keep up your skills in the down time.
What is one of the most powerful lessons you have learnt in your time in the industry?
I think I learnt all about personal limits during Wicked. Knowing when is too much and when rest is necessary. I also learnt what I am prepared to sacrifice for the sake of work. Putting family before career has been a big shift for me since I have had children.
What excites you about Australian theatre?
The people in it. There is so much amazing talent here in this country. I just wish the industry had more opportunities for everyone in it.
How and when did you start your career in the theatre?
I auditioned straight out of Yr12 for Aspects of Love – the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical – back in the 90s and landed the role of Jenny. It was there that my training began under the wings of people like Gale Edwards, Peter Cousens and Jodie Gillies.
Do you remember a performance or event that sparked your interest in performing?
I saw the original Australian production of Les Miserables back in 1989. I fell in love with the show and everyone in it. I think that was a turning point for me.
Who or what inspires you?
I think performers who are naturally talented as well as giving inspire me. People who have easy-going attitudes and helpful natures. I am an impatient person at heart and I always find people who have patience in spades inspiring.
What other dreams do you have that you would like to fulfill?
I would love to settle down somewhere. I feel like the last 20 years of my life has been one long tour! I would love to buy a house and have somewhere to call my own.
Do you have any pre show rituals or routines?
Not really. Just a vocal warm up and make-up session!
What is next for Amanda Harrison?
Up Close And Reasonably Personal in Perth and then a return season to Melbourne at The Butterfly Club in October! Be there or be square!!!
Up Close and Reasonably Personal
Thursday 21 August – Saturday 23 August.
Downstairs at the Maj